Respect. Action. Results.

"My passion is helping my clients plan, prepare and succeed in an ever-changing dynamic labor market."
- Michelle L. Neal


  • Michelle L. Neal, MPA

    Michelle has been helping people and corporations and individuals make advancements in the workplace for more then 15 years!

    Take a moment to understand her services that can help you advance!

    michelle L. Neal, MPA

Strategic Workforce Planning

  • Define desired business outcomes
  • Identify and link workforce strategies
  • Identify and prioritize organizational capabilities
  • Categorize talent
  • Determine function supply and demand
  • Gap analysis and recommendation

Talent Acquisition and Management

  • Staffing strategies for anticipated vacancies

Staffing Plans

  • Recruitment strategies
  • Retention strategies
  • Developing Employees
  • Managing employees

Career Consulting & Coaching

    Individual Career Consulting

  • Assess your existing interests, abilities, skills, values and motives
  • Confidence building
  • Recommends change
  • Typically 1-3 Meetings
  • Resume Building

    • Coaching

    • Career transition coaching
    • Analyze and update job-search techniques
    • Design a plan and provide support to reach milestones and achieve goals
    • Typically 3-7 Meetings
    • Interview Coaching

Frequently Asked Questions

Career Coach

What is Career Coaching?

A career coach is a discipline comprised of two similar but distinct tracks: coaching and counseling. The goal is to support people in making informed decisions about their career development and trajectory, as well as offer various tools that they can use—résumés, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles—to meet those goals. Although not all career coaches have clinical training, as I do, definitions of the field—and the work—may still vary among more conventionally trained coaches. In general, “coaching" tends to be a solution-oriented approach, which involves working with clients to see what concrete steps they can take to achieve career objectives. “Counseling,” however, is more process driven—you look at whether there are any behavioral, emotional or psychological issues that could be impeding a person's desired career ambitions. But the core virtue of career coaching is to help people assess their professional situations with a greater degree of honesty, curiosity, empathy and compassion.

Most Common Misconceptions About Career Coaching

The top three? That a well-done résumé is all you need to conduct an effective job search—and that career coaches will actually find you a job. There's also the popular notion that you only have to attend a single career-coaching session ... and your job challenges will be resolved. It actually takes about eight to ten hours of counseling for the typical client to begin internalizing the key benefits of coaching.

What To Expect When Working With A Career Coach

You should expect these simple things:

  • Honesty
  • Realism
  • Genuineness
  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Professional and Personal Connection

Should You Hire a Career Coach?

Sometimes, there are only so many self-help books to buy, career inquires to Google and U.S. News articles to read – as helpful as they are – before you need reinforcements. You know you need outside help from a career coach when you're stuck in any phase of the pipeline of bettering your career or changing it. Career coach can help you find a job or, more broadly, a career. They can support you while transitioning industries, starting a business, honing specific skills or performing better at work. But here's the thing: Some coaches are great at helping you, and others are totally winging it by Googling exactly what you're Googling. That's why you need to know how to find a quality coach, what to pay and what to expect from sessions – before you invest your time and money.

What to Look For When Choosing A Career Coach

Literally anyone can call themselves a coach and that's why the most important thing is to do your research ahead of time to find the right coach. Start with recommendations from friends and colleagues, and do some Google searching to find the career coach who's right for you. From there, consider these factors:

  • Online Presence: Look for coaches who've built their online brand. If they're not on social media and LinkedIn, they're not very relevant as a coach. Coaches should also have a slick website that shows client testimonials, rates and credentials from professional organizations. Another must on the career coach's website: information about his or her experience and specialization.
  • Experience and Specialization: Several years of experience as a coach are a major plus. Think of it as any professional service – a doctor, a lawyer, a financial consultant – do you want to start with someone who's two months into it? Also consider the coach's experience in successfully helping people with your specific need. (To continue the comparison, would you rather get bypass surgery from a doctor who's done the procedure hundreds of times or a resident who's giving it his first try?) You should be able to tell a coach's specialization from her website, whether it's job searching, advancing to the C-suite, starting a business and so on.
  • Red Flags: Beware of coaches who promise you a dream job, make you pay a substantial fee upfront or have you sign long contracts.

How Much Do Career Coaches Cost?

"Good coaches aren't cheap." Coaching rates – – whether by hour, session or comprehensive program – vary dramatically and depend on the coach. Rates can vary from $90 to $200 (in person) per hour long session. Think of career coaching as an investment in yourself and your career. If the price tag for the investment concerns you, consider it all the more reason to research various coaches and choose the one who is right for you.

Corporate Workforce Planning

What Is Workforce Planning in Theory?

Workforce planning is grounded in its contribution to organizational performance. It provides management with a way to align the workforce with the business plan, and address current and future workforce issues. Workforce planning helps employers better:

  • Project and respond to organization-wide staffing needs.
  • Influence development of job classes, rules, and collective bargaining agreements.
  • Deploy staff and organize work.
  • Manage organizational culture.
  • Anticipate and manage risk.

What Is Workforce Planning by Definition?

The terms workforce planning and succession planning are often used interchangeably. Many books and articles also use the terms human capital plan and talent management.

  • Workforce Planning: The overall process of linking workforce strategies to desired business outcomes.
  • Staffing Plans: The specific workforce strategies for recruiting, retaining, developing, and managing employees.
  • Succession Programs: The specific staffing strategies designed to develop an internal pool for anticipated vacancies.

Importance Of A Workforce Planning

Workforce planning requires cooperation and commitment from leadership.  A workforce planning consultant can help all stakeholders within the organization work together to ensure overall success.

What is Strategic Workforce Planning?

Strategic workforce planning looks at system-wide issues and strategies to:

  • Support the organization’s strategic plan (e.g., reorganization and redeployment).
  • Address external workforce factors that affect the entire business (e.g., succession planning for retirement bubbles, or staff reduction planning for budget cuts).
  • Maintain organizational capacity (e.g., in-service training).
  • Mitigate risk exposure (e.g., safety planning and Equal Employment Opportunity training).

The right management level at which to conduct strategic workforce planning depends on the size of the organization, how it is structured, and how programs are managed and budgeted. Most strategic planning occurs at the senior-leadership level. However, employers may also plan at the division, region, or program level. Employers should plan in a way that makes sense for their business.

What is Diversity Strategic Workforce Planning

Diversity means accepting, understanding and valuing differences among individuals. Having a diverse workplace gives your business ideas and innovations from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.  Developing a diversity strategic plan for the workplace helps your company operate in a global marketplace. Setting diversity goals for your organization is the first step toward developing a strategic plan. The primary goal is your diversity mission statement, which should clearly communicate your commitment to diversity.

How To Identify Workforce Objectives

Objectives describe the measurable or observable results an organization expects to achieve related to a goal. They should also tell the organization how well its strategies and action plans are working.

For example, if the goal is to prepare the workforce for implementation of a centralized claims management model, the objectives may include:

  • Maintain a 97% staffing level during the transition.
  • Design and implement a new training program for claims managers by (date).
  • Decrease the average claims processing time to 21 days by (date).

Employers should test each objective against the following SMART criteria:

  • Specific – Does it address a clear and precise element of success?
  • Measurable – Is it either quantifiable or clearly observable?
  • Action-oriented – Does it address the results of a specific action?
  • Realistic – Can the organization realistically influence the desired result?
  • Time-oriented – Is there a time limit within which the objective must be achieved?


More than 15 years guiding global Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profit organizations in their strategic diversity workforce planning. Also specializes in facilitation, employee engagement, people development, career development and management, relationship building, and leadership development.

Workforce Planning and Diversity Expert

Corporate Professional Services:

Over 15 years of strategic workforce planning for Fortune 500 companies including:

  • Chevron
  • Google
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Nike


  • Strategic Workforce Planning
  • Talent Acquisition Consultant
  • Management Consultant
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Workforce Planning Consultant

Professional Experience

  • Lee Hecht Harrison - Consultant and Career Coach
  • Taylor Consulting - Diversity Talent And Workforce Planning Consultant
  • Inroads, Inc., Pacific Northwest Region – Regional Director and Managing Director
  • National Conference For Community And Justice - Program Director
  • Marylhurst University - Adjunct Professor Communication
  • Portland State University - Adjunct Professor - Strategic Planning & Communication
Professional Coaching and Consulting

Individual Professional Services:

  • Straight Shooter!
  • In-person Coaching
  • Individual Career Development Action Plan
  • Audit and Assessment of Personal Talent
  • Career Path Mapping
  • Outplacement Solutions
  • Career Transition Support

Why Choose Michelle As Your Career Coach?

Over 10 years of career coaching clients and assisting them in their employment success, from college students to professionals. Michelle is an authentic, relationship-focused coach.  She builds trust and provides support through honesty, transparency and humor.  Her goal is to assist her clients in finding their professional best.

Your Success is Her Priority

Coach Michelle can be that person in your life whose main concern is your success. Her goal is to objectively guide you through a custom process tailored to help you successfully transition to the next phase of your career.

She Is Action-Oriented

Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now, you’ll be more disappointed about the things you didn’t do than the ones you did.” Coach Michelle will listen, understand and support you, but the real work unfolds when she begins to ask you the right questions to ignite your process of change.

She Is On Your Team

Michelle is a trustworthy, credible and supportive ally - and the best partner your career will ever have. She will help you see your true potential and guide you to explore new opportunities or she may hold a mirror to derailing behaviors that will get in your way.

She Will Hold You Accountable

Not everyone is able to bring the best out in themselves. Coach Michelle is a personal trainer for your career. Knowing what to do is not enough. She can help open your mind, and provide a sound process to get you where you want to go, even if you don’t know where that is yet.

Education and Community Service


Blog - "Turning the Tables: Interviewing is a Two Way Street", January 2017

Michelle L. Neal, MPA is a proud graduate of:

  • Portland State University - Master Degree, Public Administration - Organizational Development and Strategic
  • University of Pittsburgh - Bacheler of Arts, Political Science and History

Organizations & Community Involvement

  • Nonprofit Association of Oregon, Board Member
  • National Association of Professional Women, Member
  • American Leadership Forum of Oregon, Senior Fellow
  • BodyVox, Gala Chair
  • BodyVox Individual Giving Committee, Member
  • Portland Business Journal’s, 40 Under 40
  • Oregon Business Magazine, 50 Great Leaders of Oregon
  • Principal for the Day, Volunteer
  • National Black Public Administrators, Member
  • Institute of Nonprofit Management, Leadership Fellow
  • St. Michael the Archangel, Parish Council Member
  • St. Michael the Archangel, Lead Lector

Special Projects

VBI-Dialogues between the Portland Police and Faith Base Groups

Success Stories

"My ambition is to help my clients become successful through strategic coaching. To achieve this I use my talents of honesty, openness and empathy to assist and guide individuals and organizations to their desired outcome."

Melody Christensen
Customer Support Professional

Michelle is invested in really listening to your story to help get to a true solution that is best for you. She is very knowledgeable of her business, inspires confidence, and requires accountability for the goals set, which is very helpful in getting results.

John Swigart, PhD
Innovation Management Consultant

Michelle, Thank you for being my Career Transition Consultant as I moved from corporate America to starting my own company. Your unique experiences and juxtaposing attributes was key to moving me forward to my next venture.

Tion Thomas
Software Engineer

Michelle played an integral role in my success during my job transition and I am grateful to have had her as a coach, mentor, and friend during the process. I landed a new job in my target field that advanced my career in new and exciting ways.

Richard Wallace
Configuration Engineer

Michelle is a great person to work with for job transitioning. It wasn’t always about finding a new job. Michelle also provided strategies to help me not feel discouraged.