We’ve all had moments of feeling like we didn’t belong, but imagine being born into a world where fitting in was never an option.

Michele Sullivan, who has a rare form of dwarfism, shares how her physical posture taught her the most effective relational posture with others, which helped her become one of the most powerful women in philanthropy.

"Michele has the brain of a neurophysicist and a spirit the size of the sky. If you want to be uplifted, Look this book Up.”Bono, musician and activist


Born with a rare form of dwarfism, Michele has spent her life looking up. As the first female president of the Caterpillar Foundation, she has used her unique point of view to impact countless lives around the world.

As a child, Michele realized she had a choice to make. A life-changing choice.

  • She could tailor her differences into something more suitable for the world.
  • She could hide from the world and live on the fringe.
  • Or, she could embrace her differences, turn them into assets, and come to recognize that there was a strength within them that could help others.

She chose the third option.

Looking Up is the story of how Michele became the smallest woman at the largest earth-moving manufacturer in the world. Her story begins with her passage from a young person who, in spite of being looked down upon by others, learned to look up: to find an elevated view of others that would change the course of millions of lives.

While her height has presented challenges that are different from those most have experienced (containing some uniquely humorous moments as well), it has allowed her to see things, literally and figuratively, that others do not. Embedded in this narrative are unique takeaways for individuals about the importance of making the first move, being wrong at first, choosing intimacy over influence, and learning that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Looking Up is poised to be an inspiring nonfiction work full of heartfelt lessons that will resonate with individuals in their lives and at work.

Praise for Looking Up

“Michele Sullivan’s beautiful book shows us that cultivating empathy and compassion for others can bring out the best in us. Her message is much needed at a time when so much human progress depends on connection and understanding.”

—Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.org and OptionB.org

“This woman is a health hazard for bores or anyone crying into their beer . . . unless they’re tears of laughter or joy. She’s so sharp you could cut yourself on these pages. Michele has the brain of a neurophysicist and a spirit the size of the sky. If you want to be uplifted, Look this book Up.”

—Bono, musician and philanthropist

“Michele Sullivan has spent a lifetime dismantling assumptions and challenging traditional points of view—about both people and organizations. The lessons from Looking Upin her career in philanthropy show the power of both individual leadership and collaborative partnership.”

—Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term mayor of New York City

Looking Up is an uplifting memoir about the journey of an inspiring woman who saw no limits despite being born with a rare form of dwarfism. Throughout this book, Michele takes you on her personal journey that makes you laugh and cry as she refuses to be defined by what some would call a ‘disability.’ After reading Looking Up, you would be hard-pressed to see Michele as disabled at all—rather, she is differently abled. She is pure grace and grit, a unique combination enabling her to overcome all obstacles to successfully accomplish her personal and professional goals, some of which we might think are well beyond our own limits.”

Cynthia DiBartolo, founder, chairwoman, and CEO of Tigress Financial Partners

“This book is a helpful resource for anyone interested in personal and professional growth. Because you are in charge of your own growth, I’d encourage you to grab a copy and read it with your team. I’m certainly going to do just that!”

Clay Scroggins, author of How to Lead in a World of Distraction

“Be inspired to look up when your instinct may be to turn away. This book elicits a call to change perspective, to view people as they truly are and not only what we see. By changing her own perspective, Michele has changed the lives of millions of people around the globe. An inspiring read for all!”

Scott Harrison, founder and CEO of charity: water and author of Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World

Quotes to Inspire You Every Day

Download printable and shareable quotes from Looking Up


Read An Excerpt From Looking Up:
The Real Measure of Impact


Learn how Michele Sullivan and a team of executives and university representatives worked together to expand the impact of President Obama's 100,000 Strong initiative.


Michele Sullivan is the recently retired director of Corporate Social Innovation and president of the Caterpillar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the $46-billion manufacturing giant Caterpillar, Inc. In addition to her thirty-year career holding various leadership positions at the company, she recently helped transform the foundation into one of the world’s most influential corporate foundations, through the launch of its collaborative impact platform known as Together.Stronger.™, a catalyst for shared prosperity that unites businesses, nonprofits, government, and citizens to combine their strengths to alleviate poverty for millions of people worldwide.

Learn more at michelelsullivan.com.