Meet the Experts: Michelle Tafel

Great work comes from great people. And we could not do the work we do at DRG without the many experts that contribute to our team.
Meet Michelle Tafel, one of our Organizational Consulting experts.

What is your role within DRG?

As Principal in our Organizational Consulting practice, I consult with organizations on their strategic opportunities related to talent and leadership including organizational assessments and design, compensation analysis and strategy, transition planning, team effectiveness, and executive coaching. I also play a leadership role on the Organizational Consulting Team internally and support our talented team.

What would you want organizations to know about DRG?

I have worked with many smart, mission-driven, teams in my 18 years in the social sector. DRG stands out because the team is a collection of smart but humble experts who have the experience and capability to tackle any challenge a client brings our way. We are both nimble and knowledgeable. Most of our projects are with returning clients and we have grown significantly in the past few years, so clearly the approach is working.

And, most importantly, we walk the talk; while we are coaching our clients on best practices related to people-centered environments, incorporating DEI into the fabric of an organization, building a strong culture, and supporting people at all levels to be successful, we are holding up a mirror and constantly evolving our own practices and structures.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

To ask myself and others, “Am I committed or attached?” to any given idea, approach, outcome. Early in my career, Derek Canty, Co-Founder of College Summit, taught me to ask this question and it has guided my work in big and small ways for 18 years. It is an important interrogation when you are leading through change and experiencing change yourself whether you apply the question to an idea, program, relationship, or approach. When I want to rally my team and make progress, I’ll ask, “How can we all build commitment to the goal and let go of our attachment of how things have always been done?”

What brings you joy in your free time?

Finding joy is a balance between family time and traveling! There is nothing like watching two small humans explore the world to ignite your own curiosity. Our favorite way to wind down and make each other laugh is to hold daily dance parties in our living room. And, whenever we can, my husband and I love to travel with or without our daughters – preferably somewhere hot. Some of my favorite spots are Barcelona, Nigeria, Vieques (PR), the Andes in Peru, the Amazon and Galapagos in Ecuador, Florence and Rome, Ireland, and London.

Which book/movie/tv show/podcast etc. is at the top of your list right now?

Nonfiction: I am finally listening to the audiobook for Adam Grant’s Think Again and recently re-read Hunt, Gather, Parent by Michaeleen Doucleff – both of which I highly recommend.
Fiction: Most fiction I read right now is for the early elementary school set. Both the Anna Hibiscus Series by Atinuke and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White are on heavy rotation in the house. A longtime favorite of mine is Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Podcasts:  Code Switch and Hidden Brain

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