Our Team

Ocean Exchange Team

Michele Arquette-Palermo

Water Policy Manager

Michele is the Water Policy Manager at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

Michelle was born and raised in Michigan. She grew up in farm country where her love of all things nature began. Michele studied Biology/ Ecology at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and additionally holds a M.S in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Michele’s career has focused on collaboratively working with stakeholders to advance scientific knowledge, education and stewardship of natural communities and water resources.  Michele has over 20 years of nonprofit experience specializing in forging relationships with the community, all levels of government, higher learning institutions as well as corporations and foundations. She possesses an innate ability for developing relationships and building consensus around complex issues, key skills that are essential for accomplishing meaningful work.

As the Head of the Freshwater Forum at the Cranbrook Institute of Science she created a variety of Great Lakes education and advocacy tools including exhibitions, regional water resource awareness campaigns, environmental education festivals and most recently a mini documentary on why protecting the Great Lakes is vital to Michigan’s economy and future.

In 2022 Michele moved to Southwest Florida to join the policy team at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. As water policy manager she provides primary leadership and technical expertise for the Conservancy on natural resources issues, including water resources policy and Everglades restoration. She advocates, lobbies, and acts as primary spokesperson and technical expert on water resources, and Western Everglades Restoration issues.

Michele has 2 sons Austin (29) and Dominic (20), and 2 cats Rusty and Lola. In her spare time, you can find Michele taking photos of nature, in a kayak, or on the beach with a book in her hand.

Contact Us

Ocean Exchange invites you to learn more about Awards Program, our ecosystem and success of our award winners and participants. Together, we can chart a powerful course to help ensure the future of our oceans and the Blue Economy.

“Ocean Exchange has a platform to enable people with information that they need to know about the ocean and then to showcase new technologies that are on the forefront of really helping the ocean and the planet.”

“The quality of the content and the people who are involved with Ocean Exchange is all high end.”

“Besides funding, Ocean Exchange provides access to a wide area network of incredibly talented people in organizations that really do just want to help people.”

“Ocean Exchange is really about helping the little guys grow and in so doing, helping the big guys be better ocean citizens.”

“Ocean Exchange seems to be much more focused on bringing to light under-capitalized, wonderful new technology ideas. And it’s all about two-way access to this new technology and to the people who can help with the experience to grow that technology.”

“Ocean Exchange is a force multiplier to enable sustainable innovation.”

“Ocean Exchange is a global, novel innovation forum that has a greater ability to attract a broader range of impactful stakeholders than any other event that’s out there.”

“Unquestionably, one of Ocean Exchange’s primary strengths is how it brings together people from different paths. That makes its event a delegator experience as well as experience for an innovator or awards nominee.”

“Ocean Exchange is entirely different from any of the other organizations that I’m involved in. It is about sustainable innovation. I think it’s also very different in the extremely broad range of stakeholders that it involves.”

“There’s nothing better than going to an event or engaging with people so you walk away and say, ‘Wow!’”