Michelle De La Isla
Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation
Michelle De La Isla has devoted her life to service in the non-profit, private, and public sectors during her career. As a single mother, she overcame poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, and cancer. These experiences made her a stronger community advocate.
After graduating from Wichita State University, Michelle taught financial literacy to Latina women across the country with MANA National, built homes with Habitat for Humanity, started a Latina teen empowerment Conference in Topeka and participated in the Capital District Group that revitalized downtown Topeka. She served as chief financial officer and executive director of two non-profit organizations, and successfully ran a state-wide supplier diversity and diversity and inclusion programs for a Fortune 500 public utility.
Michelle was elected to the Topeka City Council in 2013, and Mayor of Topeka in 2017. As mayor, she focused on economic development, equity, and infrastructure improvements. She was elected by her peers to the US Conference of Mayors Advisory Council in 2018. In 2020, she ran for U.S. Congress in KS-02 while serving on Shawnee County’s Covid-19 emergency management team managing crisis communications and facilitating community collaborations to mitigate the effect of the pandemic in the community to safeguard citizens, medical resources and the economy.
Michelle retired as Mayor in January 2022, and now works as a Managing Director at the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation where she supports seven social entrepreneurs in six organizations as their Operating Partner and Board member. These organizations include The American Journalism Project, Education Superhighway 2.0, FreeWorld, The Well, Partners for Justice, and Brilliant Detroit. Michelle will attend Harvard University to obtain her MC-MPA in the 2022-2023 academic year.
The title she holds dearest to her heart is Mom to Erick, Cristina, and Lorraine.