Staff Spotlight: Michele Barksdale

by | Feb 24, 2023 | EA Staff News, Schools & Education, Volunteering

We at EA have always considered our employees our #1 most valuable asset. Over the course of the next year, we will share their stories, to showcase how their combined knowledge, skills, backgrounds, and personalities make our company hum and sing!

In alpha order, we begin with an introduction to Michele Barksdale. She joined EA in early 2022, spent the year in-training, and successfully earned her role as a Project Manager and Guide. Michele is involved with interviewing, planning, and working with candidates/new hires to create their Discover Cleveland Day(s). She is skilled at working with candidates in the pre-decision stage, as well as after they have said “Yes!” to the job. Her expertise (oh, and her warm personality and an ever-ready laugh which de-stresses any situation) helps recruits and newcomers narrow down neighborhood choices to a handful, make connections with locals who share common interests and find resources to replace all they are leaving behind.

After all the moves she has undertaken with her own family before arriving in Cleveland, is it any wonder that Michele is a natural in her role? So, in Michele’s own words enjoy a bit of her story.

Not one to sit on the sidelines, in 2022 Michele was elected to a Solon School Board seat.

“I am an East Coast girl, born and raised in Cambridge Massachusetts, grew up in a close-knit community of immigrants from the island of Barbados. I attended and graduated from Northeastern University and began my career working for Fidelity Investments as a stockbroker and next as a retirement advisor and account manager for the retirement portfolio for Bridgestone-Firestone Tire Company (1991-94). I never would have imagined after my first visit to Cleveland for business in 1992 that it would end up being my home base.

My husband of 31 years and I met during his training to be a pediatric surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Some would say it was an arranged marriage orchestrated by my mother. Mom knows best! After marrying in 1992, we moved to Cincinnati for 2yrs (1992-94) and next moved to Pittsburgh for 13yrs (1994-2007) where we grew our family and built community.

We have four children of whom we are very proud. They were our priority when moving to “The Land “impacting all our decisions as my husband was assuming a major leadership role in one of the major medical institutions. We had 8th, 7th, 4th, and 3rd graders when we moved! So for us the priority was school, community and neighborhood. It took some time to find our perfect place which matched our children’s interests, academic needs, and social adjustments. Unfortunately, EA was not engaged to work with our family in our relocation, but I am sure if they had been our transition would have been smoother.

After years of being a full time stay-at-home mom, now an empty nester, I found an abundance of time on my hands. This newfound freedom has allowed me to focus on my passions in helping, supporting and empowering women and children. I serve on the board of WomenSafe, a shelter for victims of domestic violence and the Solon Benevolent Fund, a local board that assists those in my community. Both board service experiences are very rewarding. I am an elected member of the Solon School Board, now serving in my first term.  These varied roles allow me to remain involved and stay connected in my “new hometown” of 15 years.

My role as Project Manager and Guide has enhanced my feeling of connection to the wider Northeast Ohio region and city of Cleveland. Although I still bleed the Steelers “black and gold.”  I have enjoyed my work with EA which keeps me engaged in current events in the city, keenly aware of great restaurants, and has piqued my interest in discovering new neighborhoods. However, the most rewarding part of the work is the people I get to meet from all over the States and world as they are looking at Cleveland as their next step, in the same position I was in years ago. My husband and I pride ourselves on being relationship people and this experience plays into my personal strengths and passions.”

If providing a highly personalized guided day or two of exploration in Cleveland/Akron for your canddiate or new hire with someone like Michele seems like the peer experience that will help your organization attract and retain the best possible talent, talk to us…216.231.9311