AU’s New Executive Director: Michaela Fissel!

We are pleased to announce that Michaela Fissel will be AU’s new Executive Director!

Michaela brings an abundance of experience and dedication to the position. Her ongoing work focuses on improving the lives of people affected by issues surrounding mental health, addiction and trauma.

Michaela has built a foundation on her own lived experiences. She has been a consumer of mental health services, and is a survivor who has navigated devastating personal circumstances to find a way of living that works for her. She has spent her professional career becoming fluent in the language of mental health care policy, programs, and research. With this knowledge, she has promoted the needs of individuals over the needs of systems, and worked to create platforms for authentic voices to be heard.

In addition to her work in mental health, she is actively engaged in local government and public education. Her work as Minority Leader on the Windsor School Board gives her a unique insight into the way that public systems work together to empower or disempower individuals in need of support.

Ms. Fissel has worked for AU since 2014. She sat on numerous state boards, providing critical feedback on key issues facing consumers and the rights of vulnerable populations. She also worked with AU to expand the Join Rise Be initiative, which she founded in 2012 to support emerging young adults.

For the last four months she has acted as Acting Executive Director of AU, filling the gap left by the unexpected death of Advocacy Unlimited’s beloved founder, Deron Drumm. She has been a steady and guiding force, supporting growth as AU has found its footing and rallied after the sudden loss.

Michaela brings experience, enthusiasm and openness to her new role as Executive Director. She embodies daily the ethos and values of Advocacy Unlimited. Her newly earned M.A. in Community Psychology connects her many interests under an academic framework, grounding her perspective in ways that have been invaluable. The Advocacy Unlimited team and Board of Directors are proud to have her at the helm! Together, we all look forward to many more years of advocating for individual growth, human rights and systems transformation.