Michele Neff Hernandez
Michele Neff Hernandez is the founding President, and Executive Director of Soaring Spirits International, a non-profit organization committed to providing relevant resources and peer support programming for widowed people worldwide. Michele is the creator, and Director, of the Camp Widow® Program; a first of its kind event designed to assist widowed people in rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of the death of a spouse or life partner. This program is available on both coasts in the United States, as well as Internationally in Toronto, Canada, and has touched the lives of hundreds of widowed people since its inception in 2009. Michele is the host of Resilience Defined, a weekly interview based podcast series which explores the many ways humans bounce back and rise above life’s challenges.
Ms. Hernandez’s work has been featured on broadcast media outlets, and various print media publications. Ms. Hernandez represented US widows in a three hour BBC World broadcast for their coverage of 2011 International Widows day. Michele joined Governor Mike Huckabee on the The Huckabee Show in August of 2010, and was featured with the News Director of KCLU News. Ms. Hernandez has been a radio guest of The World/BBC on the NRP network, Today’s Widow with the Houston Chronicle, Kelly McKay on KKZZ 1400AM, Coach Ron Tunick at KVTA 1520AM, The Grief Blog with Dr. Gloria Horsley, The Hay Foundation Radio Program with Marilyn Kagan, and Maria Vasquez on KVTA 1520AM. Her various projects have been featured in USA Today, multiple features by the Associated Press, the Houston Chronicle, the Courier Post Online, the Ventura County Star, the Simi Valley Acorn, the Press Enterprise, and the Riverside County Record.
In addition to her work with the foundation, Michele inspires people as a motivational speaker and freelance writer. Through speaking to professional associations, leadership conferences, service groups, faith communities, Universities and hosting community seminars she has shared her thoughts on loss and hope with a variety of audiences. She also works as a member of the Bereavement Training Team for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and is a regular contributor to various websites, blogs, magazines, and collaborative book projects. Michele has contributed to over 30 different websites, blogs, and publications for single project work.
Michele has been recognized by Congressman Elton Gallegly with a Special Congressional Recognition for her work in founding the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation. She was awarded the 2011 Woman Today Award by the Ventura County Star, and was honored with the Simi Valley Community Foundation’s Humanitarian Award for 2010. Michele represented the Southern California region as their 2009 State Farm Insurance Embrace Life Award Honoree. She was a finalist for the Simi Valley Hospital Foundation 2009 Woman of the Year Award, and recognized by the Inspiration Room as one of their Women of the Month 2009. Michele is a member of the Board of Directors of the Liz Logelin Foundation, and sits on the National Advisory Council for the Open to Hope Foundation. Michele is a proud member of Rotary International, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of Simi Valley as the International Chair and the Grants Coordinator.
Ms. Hernandez is a resident of Simi Valley, California where she lives and laughs with her three amazing children, and is newly married to an amazing Aussie who supports and encourages her work with the widowed community. An avid runner and outdoor enthusiast, she actively encourages others to embrace the life they are given.