Michelle A. Avan
Senior Vice President, Head of Global Women’s and Under-represented Talent Strategy
Global Human Resources

Michelle A. Avan is a trailblazer and one of the most highly respected business women across multiple local and national groups serving the larger community.

Michelle’s career in the financial services industry spans over 25 years.  In her current role, Michelle is part of the Global Diversity & Inclusion Organization leadership team as Head of Global Women’s and Under-represented Talent Strategy.  In this role, Michelle will be responsible for the comprehensive strategy and enterprise efforts to attract, hire, retain, develop and advance female and under-represented talent across the company.

In her previous role at Merrill, Michelle was a Managing Director, Division Supervision Executive overseeing regulatory, financial and reputational risk to ensure that 2,500 Financial Advisors in 98 offices across nine states and Guam adhered to regulatory and company policy compliance for Merrill in the west.

Michelle began her financial services career in 1994 with Morgan Stanley in Delaware, quickly rising in the ranks to an account executive at their New Orleans office.  She joined Merrill Lynch in 1998 at New Orleans as a registered client associate, becoming a vice president when she arrived in Los Angeles in 2000.  She has been the West Division Supervision Executive since 2011.

In addition to her community contributions and board involvement, Michelle also contributes in multiple ways to her employer and colleagues, starting with being a member of the company’s Black Executive Leadership Council to provide insights and recommendations to better serve Black employees, customers, and business owners.  Among her accomplishments, Michelle was a recipient of Bank of America’s Global Diversity & Inclusion award as well as a co-chair of the company’s Black Executive Leadership Council business initiative.

In 2019, Michelle was selected as one of Los Angeles’ Powerful & Influential Black Woman Leaders by the Los Angeles Sentinel, and has been recognized as one of Black Enterprise Most Powerful Women in Business – an exclusive listing of the highest-ranking and most influential African American female executives.  She was also featured in ESSENCE magazine as well as a speaker at ESSENCE Festival Path 2 Power.

She has received numerous distinct acknowledgements to include the Regalettes, Inc., President’s award, Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award, as well as being a ‘We See You’Awards honoree from the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute in addition to selection in the Los Angeles Business Journal 40 In Their 40s List.

Michelle earned a bachelor’s of Arts in Business, with a concentration in management, from the University of Phoenix. She also is studying at the Securities Industry Institute at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Michelle is committed not only to helping clients grow their wealth and giving back to the community, but also to empower young people, particularly Black women and girls.  Her passion is working with youth to help them realize their full potential through financial acumen, higher education, determination and drive.