A portrait headshot of Vanessa Michel

Vanessa Michel joined the ACLU of Colorado in April 2017. As Director of Communications, she develops and carries out communications strategies that support the organization’s mission and strategic goals. In this role, Michel managed the production of the investigative report Cashing in on Cruelty, a report cited by the United Nations Counsel on Human Rights, and consulted on the short documentary film The Facility.

In 2021, Michel was part of a six-person working group comprised of national immigrants’ rights communications leaders which published the book The Ultimate Messaging Guide to Winning the Immigration Narrative. Subsequently, Michel has been invited to several speaking engagements, including as a speaker at Netroots Nation 2022, a panelist at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a presenter at The Opportunity Agenda's Narrative Research Lab. 

Michel is a Denver Metro Leadership Foundation Impact Denver 2022 cohort member. She additionally completed the inaugural ACLU national Executive Leadership Program, the New American Leaders program, and the Rockwood Leadership Foundation’s Art of Leadership for Women of Color. 

Michel holds a Bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in Fine Art and Literature from the University of North Texas and was a 2003 Yale University resident fellow. Prior to joining the ACLU, Michel served as the special projects manager at Artforum International Magazine in New York. Michel formerly served on the Womxn’s March Denver Board of Directors with additional volunteer experience at the San Diego Council on Adult Literacy. Michel grew up in El Paso, Texas, and is the daughter and granddaughter of immigrant farmworkers.