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 do this job, or had she misunderstood her life’s calling? In her book Breaking Cover, Michele was cleared to drop cover and tell her story of incredible struggle, unexpected challenges, thwarted missions, and most significantly, of powerfully realizing what matters in the face of her greatest fears.


Speaking Topics - 


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 a counterterrorism and Middle East expert. Most human beings are conditioned to associate a leader with someone who wields a power more forcefully. 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, personalities, 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 of 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 push 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 Rigby Assad's Experiences

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