Michele, author of Breaking Cover, and counterintelligence expert has been cleared to drop cover and tell her story of overcoming incredible struggle, unexpected challenges and thwarted missions.
You must keep secrets but skillfully persuade others to tell you theirs. You have to love your country but willingly leave it behind for dangerous operations around the world. You need to live a double life but be trustworthy enough to carry out the nation’s most sensitive tasks.
Michele Rigby Assad was one of those people. Working undercover for the CIA, she served in treacherous areas throughout the Middle East—a woman leading some of the most highly skilled operatives on the planet. The threats were real. The missions were perilous. And deep inside, Michele wondered: Could she really do this job or had she misunderstood her life’s calling?
In her book Breaking Cover, Michele has at last been cleared to drop cover and tell her story of incredible struggle, of unexpected challenges and thwarted missions, and most significantly, of powerfully realizing what really matters in the face of her greatest fears.
Michele uses stories from her CIA experience to illustrate the power of grit, the power of perseverance and determination to learn and grow—no matter what. Instead of focusing on the challenges and negativity presented to her, Michele demonstrates how focusing on mastering a skill, learning new material, and pushing to grow is what transformed her life and career.
I’m used to assumptions. I’ve dealt with them my entire life. It is hard for people to merge the two seemingly different versions of me: an outgoing and kind person who cares very much about others-with the counterterrorism and Middle East expert. Most human beings are conditioned to associate a leader with someone who wields power in a more forceful manner. Those with sunny dispositions are often relegated to the second tier or the back row. This cognitive dissonance is a product of an Unconscious bias that sets our expectations of people’s strengths, weaknesses, personality and interests. Our assumptions are based on a lifetime’s worth of input, so this happens without our cognizance. We are not aware that this process is occurring.
In the workplace, subconscious bias affects internal processes such as hiring, promotions, leadership development, training decisions, and project management. In terms of operations, subconscious bias affects our marketing and sales strategies, product design, prioritization of projects, and so much more.
Learn the first steps to knocking down the walls to unconscious bias and creating a culture of strong leaders:
“Michele was a dynamic thinker and speaker. Her content was powerful and shaped to our needs. It was highly impactful for my team to learn from someone far outside of their realm of responsibilities.”
“Michele gave the keynote at our 2021 Emerald Awards Ceremony & Luncheon where she captivated a room of business leaders with her personal story. Her presentation left us inspired and prompted us to reflect on our own challenges and triumphs.”
“Michele has been an absolute delight to work with. I would recommend Michele as a speaker for any executive event, thought leadership session, female empowerment, leadership, etc.. She truly is a catalyser of incredible content and debate, and her content is simply eye opening.”
“Michele is a dynamic and engaging speaker who uses her experiences in the CIA to connect with her audience in a way that is very relatable. She is a storyteller and we all wanted to hear more!”
“Michele Assad is one of our favs! Her open, authentic and engaging style made her an immediate hit among our students, and her stories brought the classroom discussions to life.”