Personally, one of the many fantasies that I have had, besides the requisite wish to be a rock star, has been to be a Top Secret Agent—007 style. My code name would be 0013. Yes, I have always wanted to be a spy.
Undercover. Covert. Gathering details, cloak and dagger style. Dealing with international thieves and creeps, tracking them down, and stopping their nefarious ways! All of this would be easy enough for me because at my disposal would be state of the art tools, mind tricks, and transport. Meanwhile, the whole time I would look absolutely fabulous, a real Femme Fatale—just like in the movies.
After all these years fantasizing about being a kick-ass sister, undercover agent hot stuff extraordinaire somehow, by all things universal I was introduced to Michele Rigby Assad. She walked right out of the movies and into my life. Her former employer just so happened to be the CIA.
No longer “under cover” Michele has written a book,(soon to be released) about her experiences and the lessons learned.
Her mission now: To help women find and use their feminine intuition and gifts. Her focus is on teaching us all how to become the ultimate Femme Fatale.
She is worldly, tough as nails, beautiful and loves fashion! My kind of woman. I just had to ask her a few probing questions.
JA: Favorite person, place and thing:
MRA: Because I spend so much time overseas, MCO (Orlando International Airport) is one of my favorite places. There’s no feeling like touching down on the runway in Central Florida, on my way home to family and friends. It is the BEST feeling and reward for all my hard work.
JA: Your go to “feel good” place, word or experience:
MRA: I am most at peace when I’m walking on the beach in Florida. That is where I exhale.
JA: Your most preferred girly item:
JA: What do you wish that your mother told you:
MRA: Nothing—My mother was full of wisdom and propelled me forward when I didn’t realize my gifts. I owe all that I am to her.
JA: The most profound moment in your life (so far) i.e. when it all clicked / or when you knew you found it… that aha moment:
MRA: My aha moment was when I walked into a room after being asked to squeeze some intelligence out of this scary terrorist leader. He was clearly holding back, so people thought I should give it a try. I was shaking. I didn’t know what to expect. When I saw his eyes on me when I walked in the door—he was mesmerized because I was a young female—I realized I was at a huge disadvantage because of my age and gender. Then I thought, wait, this is the moment I have spent my whole life preparing for: All the time spent living in and studying the Middle East had brought me to this point. So I pulled myself together and turned the disadvantage into an advantage by being authentically me. That was a turning point in my career where I stopped apologizing for my differences and started celebrating them. (And I did get that intel, by the way.)
JA: Your wish for the world/ what would you change:
MRA: I wish people had more empathy for each other. Racism, classism, gender inequality—It’s all based on not seeing each other as fully human, purposeful, and worthy of respect.
JA: Your inspiration:
MRA: Being alive every day—that is a gift. I am inspired to make the most out of life by reading biographies about successful people such as Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt.
JA: What can’t you live without
MRA: Love (family and friends).
JA: Your idea of true beauty is:
MRA: Recognizing, developing, and deploying your gifts.
JA: Family and work balance:
MRA: The ten years I worked for the U.S. government I had no work/life balance. It was tough, and I realized I couldn’t live that life forever. I had to make a change to find more balance.
JA: Best relationship tips:
MRA: Be someone people want to be around: positive, encouraging, optimistic and loving. Life can be hard; we have to help each other smile.
JA: Where do you find your inspiration:
MRA: I am a spiritual person, so first and foremost I find inspiration in the Bible and the relationship with my Creator. Secondly, I find inspiration when I travel: New sights, sounds, smells, food, art, architecture, culture, and nature. Thirdly, reading. What would we do without books?
JA: What advice would you give to someone starting a business:
MRA: The business has to be built on doing something you are really good at and passionate about. You have to be scrappy and beat the bushes to get things off the ground. Having a nest egg has helped me out and ensured there was some “give” when I was building my business. Most importantly, I’m a very intuitive person, so I always tell people to listen carefully to their inner voice—it has never led me in the wrong direction, particularly when it comes to planning for my future.
JA: Do you have a mentor:
MRA: No, I wish I did! Life would have been so much easier if I had someone who could talk me through all this. I have had to learn it all the hard way—by doing (i.e. making a lot of mistakes). If I can be that mentor to someone else, then that would be amazing—to give them what I did not have.
JA: Where do you see yourself in 10 years:
MRA: Connecting with women on a grander scale, encouraging them to find their calling in areas they might have never considered or dreamed. We are capable of doing so much more than we realize! In my mind’s eye, I envision using speaking engagements, women’s conferences, and multimedia approaches to accomplishing that goal.
JA: What is your definition of success:
MRA: Inspiring human beings to fulfill their potential in life.
All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the CIA or any other U.S. Government agency. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying U.S. Government authentication of information or Agency endorsement of the author’s views. This material has been reviewed by the CIA to prevent the disclosure of classified information.