Michele Y. Smith

Fabulous People: Michele Y. Smith

Michele Y. Smith is the recently appointed CEO of the Museum of Pop Culture. MoPOP is a nonprofit museum in Seattle dedicated to the ideas of risk-taking that fuel contemporary pop culture. Learn about Michele Y. Smith…

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

First job: Cashier at Toy “R” Us

Favorite ways to spend my free time in Washington: I love Suncadia Resort, a great place to relax away from the city and enjoy mountains. You can also find me on Orcas Island in the summer and when I am home in downtown, I love just walking around the streets and enjoying the local coffee shops, restaurants or attending live concerts.

The biggest accomplishment: Navigating my career as a BIPOC woman to the C-suite.

The biggest obstacles you overcame: Managing a cultural organization that shut down for five months during COVID.

Someone who inspires you and why: Issa Rae. Her unapologetic and authentic way she gives life to creation that makes other creatives feel seen and heard and for her ability to celebrate Black culture and creativity.

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Always learn, take every experience you enjoy, and find a mentor and coach who will continue to help you and guide you along the way.

Favorite quote: “If they think your dreams are crazy, show them what crazy dreams can do!” –Serena Williams

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I am a proud Milton Hershey School “Spartan” and alumni.

What makes someone fabulous: Being their authentic, individual self.

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