Our Miami Leader Invested in our Future series is honored to spotlight Michelle Boggs, President of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation and Senior Vice President of Nicklaus Children’s Health System!
Who is Michelle Boggs?
Michelle is a fundraising powerhouse with a strong work ethic and a deep commitment to her community, particularly family health. Before she took on a leadership role with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation in late 2018, she served the American Heart Association, one of the nation’s largest nonprofits, in South Florida and as a national representative.
She is a Powerhouse!
You would think with her philanthropic achievements, she works non-stop with no relief, but she is the ultimate multitasker who believes in a balanced, joyful life surrounded by her beautiful family. Michelle is a wife and mother to four children who recently completed an executive master’s in business administration with Florida International University.
Let’s just say she is a busy woman on a mission to create a greater, more healthful Miami.
Without further ado, here is Michelle Boggs:
Hometown: Banning, CA.
Five words that best describe you: Genuine, funny, empathetic, driven, and focused.
Do you have a life motto or simply words to live by? “The words you speak become the house you live in.” -Hafiz
The way you speak to yourself every day is so important. Self-talk really sets the tone when it comes to your self-confidence, your performance, the ability to encourage yourself, and bring your best self to the table. Your internal dialogue, when it’s positive, can be so effective when it comes to stress management and other health benefits.
I can be really cheesy with this stuff, making sure to give myself talks before a big meeting or presentation, before a long run, and even in the morning when I’m getting ready: I say positive affirmations to myself, and it really sets the tone for a great day. I try to instill this in my kids as well!
How did you meet your spouse? Online! My husband is really the sweetest, most caring, and funny person I have ever met. I knew very quickly after meeting him that he was someone very special. It took him some time to get there with me! But once we fell in love, we got married fast, had a fun wedding, and have been enjoying ourselves and laughing ever since. He and I really enjoy being with one another, even if it is just food shopping. We appreciate the small moments together and know that what we have is pretty awesome. We don’t take it for granted.
Tell us about a mentor who changed your life. My mom has had the biggest influence on my life. She is a very strong, independent, and outspoken person. She has taught me everything I know about being a great mom. She is tough but in the best kind of way.
She taught me hard work, sacrifice, empathy, and gratitude. Her entire career has been in social work, from serving as a prison guard to working with individuals suffering from mental illness, she is fulfilled by helping others and I admire this about her so much.
Three things that make you smile: My kids, my dogs, and my husband (in that order!). My kids, like all kids, are always saying the funniest things. The way their minds work, they are always keeping me on my toes. They are also so sweet with me and each other. I love to see them take care of one another and nurture others, especially animals… we are all BIG animal lovers.
My dogs are characters: My big English bulldog, Nola, has so much personality and is as stubborn as they come. Winne, our mini golden doodle is like a real-live teddy bear. I tease my husband that the kids and dogs come first, then him, and he knows his place!
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part of my job is building a strong team who care about each other’s success and the success of the hospital. Also, it is important to me to help my teammates grow, overcome challenges, develop new skills, and rise to new heights. Sometimes that means believing in them when they don’t always see it in themselves. Part of this is being clear and honest… clear about what you need and honest when things aren’t going well.
People need to know how they are performing, where they are shining, and where they need support or growth. Great leaders are empathetic. They put people first and view people as their greatest resource. I hope my team knows that I care about them, first and foremost, as people, and I am committed to their happiness, fulfillment, and success at work.
How do you maintain a work-life balance? I turn off email alerts after a certain time of day, things with my family always come first and I encourage my teams to practice the same, laughing is key, exercise as a stress reliever, and being grateful every day. I don’t reach out to my team during “non-work” hours, and if I happen to they know I don’t expect a response, it’s important to me that they have time to recharge and be with their loved ones or do things that allow them to bring their best selves to work.
Achieving balance is always a struggle but if you make it a priority, lead by example and remember that it’s important to have fun you can get there. We start every meeting with a mission moment and also shout-outs/gratitude for each other, this really keeps us centered as a team and reminds us of our why.
How do you stay motivated? It is always about the mission for me, the hospital, and the patients. As President of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation, I truly have the best job in the world! My team raises money to support the hospital, our patients, and families. We inspire hope and lifelong health by providing the best care to every child. These kids and their families are going through so much, being with them and fighting alongside them really keeps my team motivated and puts everything into perspective. It also teaches you to be truly grateful for all you have in life.
Tell us about an accomplishment that makes you proud. Raising my four children to be loving, caring and passionate people who love life and are grateful for all they have, and want to help others whenever possible makes me proud. I have made a ton of mistakes, but I have also gotten a few things right. First and foremost, in our family, we always put each other first. We always have each other’s backs. I also try to parent with positive reinforcement to improve behavior.
It is important, in my opinion, to amplify what is good in our kids and in ourselves as their parents. It is easy to criticize and nitpick all of the things they are doing wrong, but I’ve never found this to get the results and outcomes I’d like. My kids respond so much better to hearing what they are doing right, and I see this carry forward in how they treat and support one another.
What does Miami look like five years from now if it were up to you? Better, sustainable solutions for our mental health issues, less people suffering from homelessness, more efficient transportation systems, stronger healthcare, an even stronger tech hub, and more diverse leaders… more women leaders!
What is your number one priority to create a stronger Miami community? My number one priority is a large-scale plan to address and treat the mental health issues our children, adults, and community face. We are truly facing the most severe mental health crisis in our history, being made worse by the pandemic and the isolation, burnout, stress, and desperation so many are facing every day. We are by no means capable of handling the sheer volume of people who need tools, care, and services. We are barely scratching the surface, and we see this every day in the hospital setting.
Can you paint us a picture of your childhood? How has it shaped your life as an adult and parent? I grew up a military kid and had the chance to live all over the United States. This helped me in being able to connect easily with others, have a genuine interest in what makes them who they are, and appreciate our differences. Plus, I certainly gained a level of toughness and resiliency. I lived in South Dakota, Miami, California, New Jersey, and then back to Florida in Lake Worth. We were exposed to all different ways of living in California: We were there during the L.A. riots, and then to move to an affluent beach town on the Jersey Shore afterward, was a total culture shock.
Both of my parents were in the Air Force. That is how they met. At first, the moves were always tough, worrying about making new friends, being accepted, etc., but in the end, all of the moves were worthwhile.
We met so many great people along the way. The hardest was definitely moving from California to New Jersey and having to start middle school in a new place. That was a rough time for me and for my siblings. Growing up that way has really shaped my entire family into being open, friendly, accepting, and certainly empathetic.
What do you think is one of the most important lessons we can teach our children? That they are enough… Kids are faced with so many challenges and these unrealistic expectations especially around beauty and physical appearance. There is a constant need to compare ourselves with everything we see on social media, and it’s exhausting and the biggest cause of feeling unhappy and unworthy.
We talk about taking care of ourselves: exercising, eating healthy foods, getting tons of sleep, and accepting yourself for how you are. I want my kids to love themselves and love others and love themselves enough that they can be in healthy relationships with others. I hope they know that, in life, all that really matters is that you are happy and that your life is filled with love, laughter, family, and friends.
Finish this sentence: On the weekend, you can usually find me… At one of my kid’s sporting events, on the boat or at the beach.
Small Business: Juliana Krys Jewelry—She is so talented, and I LOVE everything she makes.
Sports Team: The Miami Dolphins
Favorite Outdoor Destination: Big Cypress National Preserve
…And A Favorite Book or Recent Read? Adam Grant’s Think Again