A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty

As director of library services at Methodist College, a UnityPoint Health affiliate, Michelle Nielsen Ott supports the research and information needs of students and staff by ensuring effective library operations, overseeing the staff and budget, developing programs and events, and serving on a range of college committees. She is an adjunct faculty member at Methodist College and Illinois Central College, and a member of various professional organizations, including the Illinois Library Association and Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries.

As dedicated as she is to her profession, Nielsen Ott is equally committed to her community. She recently stepped up to chair the Women’s Fund Advisory Board of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois, helping to build its grantmaking capacity in support of organizations that empower women and girls. She serves as vice president of relations for Women in Leadership of Central Illinois and is active with ArtsPartners of Central Illinois, serving on its advisory board and chairing the Sculpture Walk Peoria committee.

Seeking to make the Peoria area a better place for children, Nielsen Ott serves on parent-teacher organizations at Charter Oak and Washington Gifted Middle School and recently began volunteering with the Peoria Public Schools Foundation. She is a member of the Hopscotch Committee for the Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum, a volunteer with Junior Achievement of Central Illinois, and a team manager with the Peoria Youth Hockey Association. She also is a cofounder of the local chapter of Moms Demand Action, which hosts vigils for victims of gun violence and advocates for sensible gun safety measures.

Nielsen Ott is a St. Jude runner and fundraiser and active with United Presbyterian Church and Peoria Heights-Suburban Lions Club. A graduate of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership School, she now is a member of the planning committee. Among her honors, she received the 25 Women in Leadership Award from WEEK-TV and Community Leader Award from Women in Leadership in 2021. PM