Michele Rigby Assad’s career began in Washington, D.C. working for an international relief and development agency in its government relations department. Michele joined the CIA in January 2002 and spent a decade serving as an undercover intelligence officer in the Directorate of Operations. Specializing in counterterrorism and counterintelligence, Michele spent the majority of her career in the Middle East. She worked in Iraq and other secret locations.
Today, Michele is a keynote speaker, trainer, and international security consultant focused on the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the United States. Her bestselling book Breaking Cover: My Secret Life in the CIA and What it Taught Me About What’s Worth Fighting For, was published in February 2018 (Tyndale Momentum).
Michele holds a master’s degree in Contemporary Arab Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a political science degree from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She and her husband, Joseph, live in Florida.
Though my natural inclination is to be a homebody, I HAVE REPEATEDLY PUSHED OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE.
Growing up in a small town in Central Florida, I didn’t know much about the world. But my parents taught me the power of positive thinking–being willing to do the hard things, never giving up, and working hard until you succeed. This propelled me down a long and windy road taking me to destinations I never imagined: serving undercover as a counterterrorism officer in the CIA, solving difficult problems as an international corporate consultant; supporting the fight for global human rights; and helping refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) persecuted by terror groups.
Though my natural inclinations to be a homebody, I have repeatedly pushed out of my comfort zone to live and work in six countries in the Middle East and travel to 41 others. I have learned how to challenge my preconceived ideas of what is possible, and in so doing, I continue to discover strengths and capabilities I didn’t know I had.
Since leaving the agency, I have been on a mission to inspire others with the lessons I have learned from my unconventional career path. If I was able to rise in the midst of such challenging circumstances, so can you!
For a dose of inspiration or to learn about Michele’s upcoming projects and products….