Michelle Long is the executive director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). Founded in 2001, BALLE is amplifying and accelerating the enormous awakening energy directed toward local economies. Seeing local, independently owned businesses as the key to solving our communities’ toughest challenges and to creating real prosperity, BALLE connects visionary local leaders so they can find inspiration and support, and promotes the most innovative business models for creating healthier, sustainable, and prosperous communities. With a growing network of 30,000 local entrepreneurs spanning 80 communities, BALLE is leveraging the collective voice of this movement to drive new investment, scale the best solutions, and harness the power of local, independently owned business to transform the communities where we work and live. Before BALLE, Michelle co-founded and was executive director of Sustainable Connections in Bellingham, Washington—one of BALLE's first member business networks. Its membership, now comprised of 700 locally owned businesses, has made Bellingham into what NPR Marketplace called the “epicenter of a new economic model.” Michelle was named one of the West Coast's "top five leading ladies of sustainability" by the Sustainable Industries Journal. A regular keynote speaker, she is also the co-author of Local First: A How-to Guide and the author of the new Building a Community of Businesses: A BALLE Business Network How-to Kit.

http://bealocalist.org