Leading the Merkel Wealth Management team is more than Michelle’s career; this profession is something she was born to do. Michelle finds deep purpose and fulfillment in helping clients every day, and it only takes one conversation with her to experience her tangible enthusiasm for what she does. Her passion for financial planning has spilled over to her team, her clients, and infuses every aspect of Merkel Wealth Management.
Michelle not only loves what she does, she possesses great talent. Her experience continues to be recognized beyond a satisfied and growing client base. Michelle has qualified for the prestigious Forum 400 for the top 2% of financial advisors and for many years the Top of the Table and Court of the Table, distinctions of the Million Dollar Round Table organization. During her 26 years with Principal Financial Group, Michelle was recognized as the #1 regional producer and continuously qualified in the top 2% of producers across the country. Other awards include the Top Flight Award, the President’s Club, and Executive Cabinet. She previously served on an Advisory Board for the Principal Financial Group®, a Fortune 500 company, and on the advisory board of the Financial Planning Association, Columbus chapter, where she has chaired the Financial Planning Association Membership Committee.
After she had 20 years of Top Club qualifications, Michelle qualified as the youngest and one of few females inducted into the Principal's Hall of Fame. She has been recognized in articles by the WSJ, Financial Planning Magazine, and U.S. World & News Report. Michelle is a yearly qualifier in the List of Fee-Based Financial Advisors in Columbus Business First. Recently, she has become a qualifier of Kestra Financial’s Gold Club, and is frequently recognized in Columbus Monthly magazine as a Five-Star Wealth Manager.
As recognition of her achievements and contributions, Columbus Business First named Michelle to its “Forty Under 40” Class of 2010. The distinction recognizes Michelle as one of the business, community, government, and non-profit leaders who have achieved impressive milestones in their careers, and have made significant contributions to central Ohio’s overall quality of life. Michelle has also received the Childhood League Center Honorary Chair award. She remains an active supporter of the league, now a member of a sustainers board while also serving on their financial advisory board. Ever invested in the development of entrepreneurs, Michelle is a member of the global Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO). She also serves on Kestra's Advisory Council and Kestra's Women Advisor Council.
Michelle grew up in Bexley, Ohio and graduated from DePauw University. She currently lives in Upper Arlington, Ohio. She is a mother of three children – Brooke, Zac, and Blake – and is married to Greg Yoakam, who is also an entrepreneur. When she isn’t working with clients, you’ll find Michelle enjoying summers in Michigan, playing tennis, and watching her kids play sports. She fosters the same spirit of entrepreneurship that was passed down to her, supporting her daughter’s vision by starting GiftPocket, LLC.