Christopher Michel

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Christopher Michel

Christopher P. Michel (born August 26, 1967) is an American investor, entrepreneur and photographer. He is the founder of Affinity Labs and and runs Nautilus Ventures,[1] a seed venture fund. In 1999, he founded, an online portal for servicemembers, veterans and their families.[2] In 2006, Michel founded Affinity Labs, which runs a portfolio of online professional communities. The first, launched in March 2007, was Both and Affinity Labs were purchased by Monster Worldwide.


Michel serves as a Director of Dale Carnegie, Catchlight, Kixeye,[3] and 3D Robotics.[4] He previously served on the boards of Castlight Health (NYSE: CSLT),[5] International Data Group (IDG), the United Service Organizations (USO), United States Naval Institute (USNI), Tugboat Yards, the USS Arizona Memorial Fund, the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation, Alliance Health & EZ Board. He was also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School during the 2010–2011 school year.[6]

Michel also serves on the Presidents’ Circle of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In addition, he's an advisor to the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), American Public Media's Marketplace,[7] Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, The Union of Concerned Scientists, and a variety of other for and non-profit organizations.

Prior to his business career, Michel served as a Naval Flight Officer in the United States Navy. While on active duty, Michel flew as a Navigator, Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander aboard the P-3C Orion aircraft. Following his operational tour, he worked in The Pentagon as Aide to the Chief of the Naval Reserve.

In 2005, Michel's The Military Advantage: A Comprehensive Guide to Your Military & Veterans Benefits was published by Simon & Schuster. He is also one of three protagonists in Bill Murphy's book, The Intelligent Entrepreneur: How Three Harvard Business School Graduates Learned the 10 Rules of Successful Entrepreneurship, published by Henry Holt in 2010.[8] In addition, he was a longtime columnist in Proceedings magazine.

Michel is also a photographer. His collection includes photographs from extreme locations like the North & South Poles, Everest, The Korean DMZ, Papua New Guinea, and at the edge of space (aboard a U-2 Spy Plane). He's also had the opportunity to photograph a variety of global leaders, including the 14th Dalai Lama. His photographs can be found online at his gallery.[9] His photographs have been used by National Geographic, the Smithsonian, the New York Times, the BBC, Outside Magazine, and others. His "Flying Emperor" photograph was the 2nd place finisher in the Picture of the Year 2014.

Michel is the Editor at Explorers,[10] a site dedicated to adventure travel and a member of the Explorers Club.[11] He has also published a number of fine art books, including 90 Degrees South, Monochromatic, Roof of the World, Stranger in a Strange Land, etc. Michel also serves as the Photo Editor-at-Large for The Bold Italic.

Michel earned his commission from the NROTC program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was selected as the distinguished naval graduate.[12] He also holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an honorary doctorate from Tiffin University. Michel was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and serves as a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.