Michelle Gates is a financial executive with deep leadership experience in higher education and a proven track record of strategic leadership in financial management and planning, organizational development and operational roles.
Most recently Michelle served as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Business Affairs with Columbia College Chicago, where she led the college financial, operating and business functions. She demonstrated her leadership and ability to make difficult decisions through contributions that strengthened and realigned the College’s framework for financial management, operations and organizational development. As the college realigned spending with declining revenues, Michelle ensured that strategic priorities continued on plan. This included funding to support student success, curriculum improvements and diversity-equity-inclusion. The strength of her commitment to excellence remains visible in the high performing leadership teams she recruited and appointed.
Prior to Columbia, she held the position of Senior Associate Vice President for Financial Affairs with Emerson College in Boston. She demonstrated her leadership through contributions that strengthened the College’s financial management and operations. Her commitment to service excellence was demonstrated in the restructuring of the financial affairs office, establishing Emerson’s first budget and planning office, leading efforts to redesign the chart of accounts, developing management information reporting functions and implementing multiyear budget and planning processes.
Before Emerson, Michelle held the position as Director of Budget and Planning with New York University in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She was a member of the NYU campus start-up team where she successfully established a budget and planning office and functions by building an international and diverse team, launching collaborative planning processes and cultivating strong communication and working relationships with colleagues at NYU New York and Abu Dhabi government representatives.
Michelle’s other experience includes positions as Director of University Budget Operations with Northern Arizona University, Director of Finance for the City Roseburg, Oregon, and progressively responsible positions with the University of Oregon.
Throughout her career. Michelle repeatedly demonstrated her strength in strategic resource and long term planning, knowledge of operations, an ability to work collaboratively to spearhead change, and to visualize and implement innovative solutions. She has been recognized for leading organizational transformation in international and USA environments delivered through team building, leadership development, cultural integration, change management and business operations and process improvement.