Michelle Somerday
Leadership Coach


“I have an innate belief in the inherent and diverse capabilities of each individual and a passion for helping people realize their strengths.”

Michelle is educated as an engineer and scientist and began her career in academia, where she started her journey of supporting others in their development. She transitioned to the corporate world and quickly learned that success hinged on excellent individual contributions as well as effective teamwork. She led a multi-organizational team to develop the technical and business case for $200M in new federal government IT systems, proposed solutions to operational issues of the 2008 Olympics and presented them in Beijing to Chinese government officials, ultimately securing new contracts worth over $1.5B. 

Michelle is an experienced speaker and lecturer who has taught at the graduate level and given invited talks at international conferences. Her former life as a researcher is demonstrated in her preference for evidence-based approaches to leadership, and this is a hallmark of her work. She writes, presents, and creates and facilitates classes on all things related to leadership and is particularly interested in Women Leaders in STEM Fields and The Mindful Leader.  

Michelle’s clients are experienced professionals who are motivated to strengthen the leadership and team-building skills needed to excel in a business setting. She credits her analytical background for her ability to partner with clients to bring structure to nebulous issues, clarify the factors underlying individual behavior and organizational dynamics, and co-design goal-oriented development plans that bring about tangible results. She is known for creating a trusted environment where clients feel safe to explore existing patterns and challenges while creating new awareness that empowers them to achieve their leadership vision.


  • Over 20 years of broad business experience including serving in senior leadership positions and with responsibility for a wide range of organizational needs such as program management, strategic planning, business development and marketing, and research and analysis
  • Adjunct Faculty and Mentor Coach for the Duke University Master of Engineering Management program
  • Executive coach for the University of Virginia Darden School of Business; former executive coach for the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business

Education, Training and Certifications

  • Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, University of Virginia
  • M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida
  • B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Duke University
  • Executive Certificate in Leadership Coaching, Georgetown University
  • International Coaching Federation Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
  • Assessment Certifications: Leadership Circle Profile 360 Assessment (for individuals); Leadership Culture Survey Assessment (for teams and groups); EQ-i 2.0 and EQ 360 Emotional Intelligence Assessments; Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Step I and Step II Assessments


  • Travel enthusiast; favorite experiences include visiting the Great Barrier Reef, exploring the southern parts of New Zealand, off-road motorcycling across Iceland, and hiking in Zion National Park
  • Lifetime sports fan, especially of Philadelphia professional teams, Duke basketball, Manchester City, and fantasy football
  • Decades-long practitioner of yoga and mindfulness meditation

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