Micaela co-founded The Kelsey with her cousin Kelsey, who continues to inspire and inform the mission and work today. Micaela has been working on inclusion in communities her entire life. She has seen firsthand the housing crisis facing adults with developmental disabilities and their families. As a research fellow at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, she spent a year studying the issue in detail. The Kelsey exists to turn the challenge of disability housing into the opportunity of inclusive community.
Micaela completed her MPP at Harvard Kennedy School focusing on housing, disability inclusion, and community development. She was a Cheng Fellow at the Harvard Social Innovation and Change Initiative where she worked on designing The Kelsey. In 2017, she received her MBA as a Mitchell Scholar in the Smurfit School at University College Dublin. She’s a proud University of Virginia Wahoo.
Prior to The Kelsey, Micaela was the founder and CEO of Unified Theater.
What does it mean to you to be Disability-Forward? Why does it matter? Why does inclusion matter?
Growing up with Kelsey, my family was defined by inclusivity and access. When we centered family vacations on Kelsey’s access needs or let Kelsey influence our lives with her on the example of inclusivity, we not only made Kelsey’s life richer but we all benefited. This is what disability-forward means to me. Disability-forward reminds us that centering on access and inclusion of people with disabilities isn’t something you do out of charity or obligation, it simply makes all spaces better, all experiences richer, and ultimately a better world that includes opportunities for all people.
Favorite building feature?
I love cities and have lived my whole adult life in small spaces in big cities. So I love how all our projects are well-located in diverse, vibrant cities and neighborhoods. Yet, while I’m an urbanist, I also value nature and being outside. So, I love how our very urban projects also include outdoor amenities, green spaces, and accessible ways for our residents to enjoy nature.