Michele Rigby Assad

Michele Rigby Assad

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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.

 

The Life Altering Power of Grit

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.

  • Your mindset is the most important thing.
  • Grit trumps natural talent.
  • What worked before may not work when the storms of life sweep in. Stay flexible to respond to the challenge.
  • That which is unexpected and unwelcome could turn out to be your biggest blessing.

What Dealing with Terrorists Taught Me About Sales, Unconscious Bias, and Hidden Strengths

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:

  • How to build rapport using intelligence profiling secrets–You can’t sell to someone unless you understand them.
  • My ninja strategy for upending conscious or unconscious bias in five minutes or less.
  • Learn to bring the best of yourself into operations to transform average into amazing.

Get Off the X: Get The Inspiration You Need to Survive and Thrive

  • Secrets for escaping an attack or surviving an ambush that you can apply to pushing out of your comfort zone.
  • How “going to war” teaches you to manage fear and elevates your game to elite levels.
  • Learn the most powerful strategy for overcoming inertia.

“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.”–Rebecca Schaffer, GSSEF Administrative Headquarters

“Michele has been an absolute delight to work with. It’s been fantastic to get to work with someone with such experience and fascinating stories to share, while being so human and easy going. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire collaboration, researching for the content prep has been passionating and fascinating as well! The feedback from our attendees has been overwhelmingly positive, our attendees truly loved the interaction. 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.”
Alice Grasset, Salesforce

“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!”
Karenna Rowenhorst, New Hope Church

“I was fortunate to have seen Ms. Rigby-Assad address an audience last year.  I was so impressed that I purchased her book, ‘Breaking Cover.’  It was a ripping yarn!  I knew that the professional association to which I belonged was to hold their annual conference early this year.  I helped arrange her to present.  She spoke to our group and was fantastic!  The feedback from the attendees was off the charts.  They particularly commented on her real-life anecdotes, the lessons therein, and the inspiration it provided.  She prepared a fascinating PowerPoint slide show that was tailored to the group.  I whole heartedly recommend Ms. Rigby-Assad to inspire and entertain in just about any group setting!”
Ollie Phipps, Board member, Florida Association of Private Investigators

“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.”
–Dr. Robert Wharton, Professor of Business, La Tourneau University

“Our organization has monthly speakers and we’ve seen and heard from our fair share of amazing people. Michele was different, however. She was unique to her story but her story was really all of our stories. We were able to relate to how we underestimate our own capabilities. Whether you are a CIA Intelligence Officer or a Homemaker, she shares how the power we all have to create our own destinies has always been within us. Wonderful presentation!”
–Korrie Stevenson, President / Winter Park Republican Women, Federated

“Michele Assad’s stories of life in the CIA are riveting, and she tells them in a way that captures the astounding nature of her experiences in the Middle East. She challenged us to pursue a fresh perspective on the interaction between Christianity and Islam and the role of America in the world.”
–Dr. Tom St. Antoine, Professor of Communication and Director of the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program, Palm Beach Atlantic University

Available Now!

Breaking Cover
My secret life in the CIA and what it taught me about what’s worth fighting for

“I was fortunate to have seen Ms. Rigby-Assad address an audience last year. I was so impressed that I purchased her book, ‘Breaking Cover.’ It was a ripping yarn! I knew that the professional association to which I belonged was to hold their annual conference early this year. I helped arrange her to present. She spoke to our group and was fantastic! The feedback from the attendees was off the charts. They particularly commented on her real-life anecdotes, the lessons therein, and the inspiration it provided. She prepared a fascinating PowerPoint slide show that was tailored to the group. I whole heartedly recommend Ms. Rigby-Assad to inspire and entertain in just about any group setting!”

– Ollie Phipps, Board member, Florida Association of Private Investigators