Michele Cato

Executive Director & Ex Officio Board Member

After a rewarding and challenging 25-year career in nonprofit management, international development, and global health, Michele recently returned home to the Northwest with a strong desire to live and work in a community she can call her own. She grew up in Snoqualmie and graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Political Science. Michele then joined Peace Corps Costa Rica, where she developed a lifelong passion for serving others and building healthy communities. After earning an MBA in Marketing from the U.W., she continued her public service with Bellevue’s Department of Public Works and then with Peace Corps Guinea as Associate Peace Corps Director in West Africa. In Guinea, she moved on to Population Services International and, over the next 11 years, became a leading technical expert in Social Marketing and Behavior Change Communications, using commercial marketing approaches for the public good by improving access to services that promote health and well-being for vulnerable and low-income populations. Michele served as Executive Director in Haiti, Guatemala, and China and led programs in AIDS prevention, family planning, harm reduction, and maternal/infant health. She has since been the Director of Health at Cardno Emerging Markets, Chief of Program Development at International Relief and Development, and Director of New Business Development at Project Hope, all in the Metro-Washington DC area. She has also run her own consulting business and a retail nutrition store.

Michele has been searching for the right opportunity here in Island County since she first visited friends on Whidbey 10 years ago and fell in love with this area. Michele knew that she had found that opportunity after getting to know the board, staff, and work of ISR (and finding a beach house available for rent the same day the offer came through). Michele is excited to be living closer to her adult daughter, Yanglei, in Seattle and extended family and friends throughout the Puget Sound. Along with her two-year-old Cockapoo, Cooper, she looks forward to getting to know her new community, enjoying beach walks, puttering in the garden, and exploring the islands.