“I had gotten so comfortable at Ernst and Young and the network I had there. It felt like I was at home. I had gotten to know my way around, had good relationships, which made it very difficult to leave. EY was comfortable, and so transitioning into a new career, a new field, a whole new breath of newness, was a really risky thing to do. Ultimately I just had to believe that if God was going to open the door he would arrange the room. Being able to take risks in my career was something I needed to develop early on so I never got too comfortable somewhere. I wanted to have that mentality throughout my entire professional journey.”
Micheline currently works as the Project Manager for the Atlanta Hawks, and her journey to that role is not your typical one. She didn’t grow up with the end goal of eventually one day working for an NBA team or gain experience with various sports internships in college. In fact, Micheline applied to every college as pre-business. She ultimately decided to go to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – the only school she had not applied pre-business to.
“At the time I applied as a communications major, but eventually decided early on in my college career that being accepted into Kenen-Flagler (UNC’s business school) was something that I wanted to achieve. I had a good GPA, but it wasn’t competitive at all for Kenan-Flagler. After I took a couple of summer classes I was admitted to the Kenan-Flagler School of Business, and completed my first internship with EY the summer after my sophomore year. I returned my junior summer for my second internship and that is when I knew that I really liked that place. I liked what they were offering. Thankfully, my second year is when I got a full-time offer from EY.”
As Micheline shared, EY was the best place to start her career.
“EY is one of the “Big 4” accounting firms so of course there were incredible resources available. I was in consulting and it was an extremely fast-paced job. I was fortunate enough to be placed on a really good project which gave me experiences there that I would have never got anywhere else. On my first project I worked across Europe for four months, and that type of autonomy and faith that my team had in me I never thought I could have gotten that so early in my career.”
After about a year and a half of being with the company, Micheline decided that it was time to honor her interests in sports and entertainment and pursue any opportunities that came about in that field. As she puts it, what helped her take that leap was looking at the risk from an opportunity standpoint.
Risk vs. Opportunity
“Some things are harder to get than others. I think that some industries are more of a “who you know” industry. Generally, when you think about business it isn’t one of those industries. It is great to have a network but it is more about the skillset that you have. A company like EY has hundreds of thousands of employees. I knew I could go back to consulting at any point. But with sports and entertainment, it is a much smaller window. The Atlanta Hawks don’t just post jobs all the time. You either find your way in there or an opportunity opens up. In sports, positions aren’t open as much as they are in business. In sports, if they don’t die or leave, that position is not open.”
For many of us, it can be hard to know when to take a risk versus playing it safe. Comfort zones truly are that – comfort. They don’t provide us with the growth we need, and they don’t equip us with the strength to push through challenging times in our life that are inevitable. It can be easy in comfort zones to rely on others for direction or guidance when we are just about to take that leap into the area of the unknown. But as Micheline shares, ultimately you know where you want to go better than anyone else.
“I focused on my priorities and no one knows my priorities like I know my priorities. While I do value the opinions of others and know that there are people seasoned in their career who can help guide me – I know that ultimately I am the only person who knows what I really, really want. My biggest thing in life is that I am always trying to get closer to my passion and purpose. If I could give any advice to my younger self, it would be to not be afraid to ask for what I want.”
Micheline knows her worth – do you?
Micheline is truly someone who in my mind, embodies what it means to know your worth and never settle for anything less than you deserve. So it didn’t surprise me when she talked about her negotiation experience with the Hawks during her interview process. Somewhere along the way we have equated demanding more as greedy. The reality is, there is beauty in knowing your worth.
“What made negotiating easier was that I had a good knowledge base about it. I also had a solid backup option. I actually have been reading this book called The Mastery of Love, and at one point it talks about a kitchen. Imagine that you have this magical kitchen where you can have any food that you want in your kitchen. If someone comes to your door and is like “hey, I’m going to offer you this pizza. But, in order for you to receive this pizza, you have to do everything I say.” Because you have your kitchen, you might pass on the offer. However, if you were someone that is starving and has no food, you could easily agree to those conditions because that was your only option. Essentially it is saying that if your heart is your kitchen and you are full of love and you exude love and you share love easily, you can’t be manipulated by it because you are love. So that is kind of how I think about other things too. I knew I couldn’t settle. EY was paying me well. I was not going to settle for less than what I was making at EY, because ultimately I could always fall back on that. My argument was that this is my price. Either they were going to level up to that or it just was not going to be a good fit for me. There are a lot of things in life you have to give and take on, but I wasn’t willing to do that with my salary. That was literally my price. There might come a time in my life where I am willing to do so, but it was not at this point on my journey.”
Passion and Purpose
Outside of working for the Atlanta Hawks, Micheline has made sure that she is able to unleash her passion and purpose through various outlets. She is a host, fashion consultant, blogger, has a YouTube channel, and the founder of the SOAR SZN brand, which is a health and wellness community online. Micheline strives to align herself with things that bring her closer to her passion and purpose, which she says is found in her ability to connect to one another.
“Purpose and passion work is easy. I am happiest when I am working with other people. I am an entertainer and I am super passionate about others. I don’t think my biggest strength belongs to any one career by itself.”
One of the reasons that Micheline is able to do what she does, is because she is her biggest advocate. When starting out on something new it can be daunting and even scary to rely on the internal energy that you have inside, and quickly turn to others for affirmation or validation. Micheline reminds us all that at the end of the day, no one can go out and get something for you – it is up to you to do that.
“My biggest thing these days and in this season is self-advocacy. Something that a friend told me that has stuck with me is a quote that says “you have to take yourself on tour”. A lot of the people in my circle were calling and telling me that in order to keep promoting my brand on social media I had to post more and more and more. And there I was thinking, “but what if people think I’m doing too much?” and I had to instantly snap out of that. I am my biggest advocate. Nobody is going to fulfill my vision for me like I am. If you can’t take yourself and your projects on tour because you are afraid of what the next person is going to think about you, then you are really just cheating yourself. Whenever you are walking in your purpose, in whatever you decide to do, you are never doing too much.”
So happy you are a part of the Water Your Garden community, Micheline. You truly are an inspiration to us all.
Follow Micheline on her platforms:
Micheline’s personal Instagram page: @michelinewin_
SOAR SZN Instagram Page: @soarszn
Youtube Channel: The Raw
Keep Watering Your Garden today.