Hi, I’m Michelle.
What’s your story? I LOVE sharing stories about business and life!
After graduating from high school at the age of 17, I went into the workforce, where I met who would become my first husband. We married when I was 18, I then had my son at 19, my daughter at 20 and by my 22nd birthday I was a divorced single mom of 2 children still in diapers.
While pregnant with my daughter, and working as a secretary by day, I began attending my local community college, taking a class or two at night each semester. She was even born on the Thursday night of my Statistics 101 course. When I returned to class 2 weeks later, my professor told the class that he’d never had a student call him to say she’d miss class because she was in labor!
After almost 10 years of juggling full-time work, raising my children on my own and attending college, I received a letter that would change my life forever. It was a recruitment packet from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York!
I had already considered transferring to a local four-year institution, but that letter from Cornell sealed the deal for me to quit work and go to school full-time. I applied and then waited, you know, for the ‘big envelope.’ And, it came!
In the late summer of 1997, at the age of 27, my children and I moved from the Washington, DC area up to Western New York. It was the most thrilling and scary time of my life. My children and I lived in graduate student housing on-campus and I attended classes, while they went to the local elementary school. In the Spring Semester of my junior year ‘we’ studied Abroad in London. They attended the local ‘State School,’ while I interned for an MP (Member of Parliament) and took government and politics classes at the London School of Economics. It was an incredible time for us.
On May 28, 2000, at the age of 30, ‘we’ crossed the stage at graduation. After receiving my Bachelor’s from Cornell, we moved once again. This time to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for me to attend law school at the University of Pennsylvania. My children attended the local school. In 2003, I graduated, with my law degree from Penn and a Certificate in Business Management and Policy from the Wharton School. We then returned from what we called our, ‘Six-Year Odyssey,’ to the DC area, where I began practicing corporate and securities law for a large international law firm.
And then it, happened. About a year into practicing law, sitting in an office day in and day out, working long hours, on endless conference calls, it hit me…I hated it.
I obtained my real estate broker license, and in 2006, I left the firm and started selling residential real estate full-time. I loved it! I took my first professional development course, Dave Allen’s ‘How to Get Things Done,’ in 1988, and had taken various courses and programs, not to mention attending college and law school, and when I entered real estate it was no different. I took marketing courses from marketing and sales gurus, like Dean Jackson. I truly loved the process of helping people find their dream homes, while learning new skills in marketing and sales.
Then the market crashed. I returned to the practice of law, but with a smaller firm. This allowed me to go out and get clients and attend networking events and travel and do all of the things that I loved about being a broker.
In 2012, I left the full-time practice of law permanently and since then have immersed myself in the startup, technology and entrepreneur community.
I currently produce and host the Her Power Hustle Podcast, where inspiration meets motivation to empower women for the perspiration associated with being a woman entrepreneur. I am a speaker, writer, social media correspondent and content producer for live events and publications, including Business Insider, Black Enterprise, Killer Startups, TheGrio, Paul C. Brunson and many others.
At the request of the White House’s Office of Digital Strategy I covered President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address from the White House, as a Social Media Influencer and recently covered the 46th Annual NAACP Image Awards on behalf of Hyundai’s first diversity campaign, as their Social Media Maven.
As a ‘non techie’ startup founder, I’ve served as a ‘Sensei’ (teams mentor) for the AT&T Hackathon held at Howard University and was a member of the 2014 Lean Startup Machine winning team.
I am passionate about helping women build relationships and networks that take their careers and businesses beyond the next level, with my Her Power Platform™ Program. This program provides women with the tools to Create Connections that Profit™.