Michelle C. Thomas, Esquire is a seasoned divorce lawyer and the founder of M.C. Thomas & Associates, PC, a premier divorce and family law firm serving Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland. Michelle and her team represent a wide array of clients ranging from business owners and corporate executives to physicians, law firm partners, politicians, professional athletes and more. Her passion is helping people protect their assets and their future, and ultimately transform their lives for the better. Michelle Thomas has been repeatedly recognized as a Top Rated Family Lawyer in Washington D.C. by SuperLawyers, and recently named a Top Attorney by Bethesda Magazine. Michelle is a sought after speaker and media contributor in local and national media on issues such as effective co-parenting, parenting through the pandemic, divorce-proofing your marriage, and law firm management. She has been seen and heard on the Michael Baisden Show, Fox 5 news, News One Now with Roland Martin Radio, ESSENCE magazine, the Washington Times, The Daily Drum Show on WHUR/SiriusXM 141, and Law Talk with Ethel Mitchell on Radio One and more. Welcome, Michelle C. Thomas.
- CEO Hack: Rising early, planning the day and my morning routine
- CEO Nugget: (1) Don't be too hard on yourself (2) Mistakes are opportunities for growth (3) Be bold about what you want (4) Enjoy the ride
- CEO Defined: Freedom and responsibility
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you are in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today as Michelle see Thomas of MC Thomas and Associates. Michelle, it's awesome to have you on show.
Michelle C. Thomas 0:39
Thanks so much for having me. Glad to be here.
Gresham Harkless 0:41
No problem. Super excited to have you on as well too. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Michelle so you hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Michelle see Thomas Esquire is a seasoned divorce lawyer and the founder of MC Thomas and Associates PC, a premier divorce and family law serving Washington DC, where the Virginia and Maryland Michelle and RC represent a wide range of clients ranging from business owners and corporate executives to physicians, law firm partners, politicians, professional athletes and many more. Her passion is helping people protect their assets and their feature and ultimately transform their lives for the better. Michelle Thomas has been repeatedly recognized as a top rated family lawyer in Washington DC by Super Lawyers, and recently named a top attorney by Bethesda magazine. Congratulations. Michelle is a sought after speaker and a media contributor in local and national media on issues such as effective co parenting, parenting through the pandemic, divorce proofing your marriage, and law firm management. She's been seen and heard on the Michael Baisden show, Fox five news and news one now with Roland Martin radio, Essence magazine, The Washington Times the daily drum show on who you are series 141 and law talk with Ethel Mitchell on radio one and many, many more. Michelle, great to have you on the show. Are you ready to speak to the imcl? community?
Michelle C. Thomas 1:59
I'm ready, let's go.
Gresham Harkless 2:00
Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more on how you got started. Could you take us through what I call your CEO story? And we'll let you get started with some major work.
Michelle C. Thomas 2:09
Sure, sure. So Gresh I'm, I have to tell you, I've always sort of been entrepreneurial and business minded since I was a kid. I mean, I have my first business when I was eight years old selling candy on the bus. And I actually had a good thing going I was taking inventory and my little pink notebook. I mean, it was great. until of course the authorities found me out which were you know, the school principal, apparently, when they say not for resale on the candy bags, that means something. So I learned that but you know, at the time, I didn't know. And thankfully the statute of limitations is passed
Gresham Harkless 2:39
Michelle C. Thomas 2:40
But that's always been part of me that the concept of being independent, appealed to me, even from a really young age. And don't get me wrong, I did have wonderful parents who provided for me a nice loving home. But there was something about just I had just an internal drive and desire to be sort of a self made woman. So anyway, I developed an interest in the law, I'm sort of fighting for people. And I ended up going to you while in college, I ended up working for a family lawyer in Chapel Hill. And in addition to getting to observe the lawyer, her impact on her client, I distinctly distinctly remember thinking, so this is how you run a firm. This is how you organize it. This is how you say resources used to reduce folders and files and everything. And those were some of the other tips that I was taking away. I was taking mental notes because I believed that one day that would be me. So I continued on to law school, attended the George Washington University Law School, and started working at a pretty high end divorce and family law firm in Virginia. Great experience there. And one day one of the partners said to me, I think it was in my second year. And he said, you know, the your client generation is is unprecedented for a second year associate, you know, you should think about starting your own firm one day. Now I'm sure he thought one day would be way down the road. But that wasn't the plan. So that was sort of the first you know, whisper about doing stepping out on faith. I then before I started my own firm, I then went to another firm, not as great of an experience if I can be candid in terms of the environment, I found myself feeling unhappy and just believing that there was more, you know, I was sort of working these big, firm long hours by getting small firm pay just that typical scenario of being overworked, underpaid, and knowing that I brought value I was still generating clients and bring actually I brought some of the clients from the Virginia firm there. And then I continued on that path. So at some point I said, Okay, you know, this is a this is sort of the second whisper where you know that there's something bigger and you know, there's a there's a way that you can do this. So I then stepped out on faith. Now I will say I think didn't just jump. I planned, I prepared. I planned by I actually wrote out a business plan, I found some business planning software, wrote that out, I was working on a website in the middle of the night because I was working still very long hours. So I was, you know, working on building the infrastructure. And then it was the day to launch. And so I did, I gave plenty of notice. But I did, you know, launch and all, but I think one client came with me, which was further affirmation, and this is the right path. And just from what I had seen, and knew that I wanted to do it a different way, I wanted to do to help people in a manner that was just in alignment with my core values. And so that's, that's what I did. And, you know, the MC Thompson associates PC was birthed. And I have to tell you, Gresh, and I have never looked back. It's really bad. It's been a tremendous blessing from that point forward. And even when I launched, you know, I was intentional about where I was going. So people would try to just send me to be helpful, they would send, you know, clients from all kinds of cases. And I would say, Oh, no, I'm handling high end divorce, like, this is what I'm doing. And I was focused laser focused on carving out a niche for myself pretty early from day one. And that is certainly no, that's what we do today. So it was really just a faith walk. And I've never looked back.
Gresham Harkless 6:26
Nice. So I absolutely love that. And I love how you kind of talked about those whispers. And I think so many times we hear whispers and we'll kind of shift them away, or turn up the volume on the music, so we don't hear them. But in reality, they keep coming and keep going. So I love that you, of course heard that. And then you started to take those steps towards that. But it wasn't overnight, as you mentioned, being able to kind of do those things gradually, but with an intentionality led you to what don't Awesome work you're doing now?
Michelle C. Thomas 6:51
Absolutely. Absolutely. So I always say be intentional about your business, be intentional about your future, take it into you be proactive and take it into your own hands. Because you know, too many times we people almost kill themselves to build somebody else's dream. And they they die with, you know, their dreams die inside of them. And I just don't know that this is just not what we're doing over here. So I'm I was able to, to launch and it's been No, that's that's been it. So
Gresham Harkless 7:19
yeah, absolutely love that. And then some say that the wealthiest place in the world is not, you know, bank or you know, certain countries is the graveyard because there's so many people that you said that have those dreams that have those goals that really never saw them come to fruition. So I think that's so powerful.
Michelle C. Thomas 7:34
Absolutely. Yeah. Awesome.
Gresham Harkless 7:35
So I know I touched on it a little bit when I read your bio you did as well, too. Could you take us through a little bit more on how you serve your clients. And what you feel kind of sets you apart and is your secret sauce and you feel makes you unique?
Michelle C. Thomas 7:46
Sure. So we help families. in transition, we help families from through one of life's most difficult transitions actually, which in generally divorce, sometimes very highly contested custody cases. But we helped them bring them from usually one of the reverse moments in life through to the other side where there's, they can see you know, brightness again and sunlight. So we really so hope, if you will hope that there's a better feature of better life lies ahead and awaits them once they can get through this, this tip of this hurdle that they're in. But we believe that there's life after divorce. So we don't just sort of drop our clients and you know, get them divorced and move on. But we really want them to, you know, to be relieved to know that they don't have to worry about the future that what they fought hard for has been protected the work that we do. So we serve our clients, again, guided by the firm's core values, which are integrity, consistency, and excellence. And the reason why those values are on our website is because that is critically important. It's important to me, and I tell people if whether you're looking to hire me or work for me, if you don't really sort of share in those values. In other words, if you want us to just, you know, go after your spouse and just just for the purpose of ruining them, you know, we may not be the best fit, you know, because we want to help you get the best end result, not just secret management. Same thing with with my team and staff, it's a matter of we want to serve with integrity. We've all been in those businesses were so intelligent, you know, lie, just tell them I'm not here and that sort of thing. And that's not what we're doing over here. So no, it's on our website, I wrote it myself. It's because it's what I believe and it drives the way that we serve our clients. And we've been, like I said, from the beginning, I sort of had a goal of the niche that I wanted to serve. And while we do a lot of great work in the community as well, we do have a lot of client clients that are you know, professionals, doctors, lawyers, athletes, that sort of thing as well, but we certainly just are our primary focus is to serve with integrity, consistency and excellence.
Gresham Harkless 9:45
So now I would ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you happen to have a time machine you might tell your younger business self.
Michelle C. Thomas 9:55
Oh my goodness, what would I tell my younger self? I would Tell my younger self, don't be, don't be so hard on yourself. That's number one. Mistakes are nothing more than opportunities for growth. And t fulfill you know, it's my pain at t fulfill your greatest potential. You have to live life fearlessly, right, you have to be bold about what you want. And again, be intentional about what you want. And so being bold or fearless means that you may make some mistakes along the way. But that is okay. And that is how you grow. And it's not where you start. It's where you finish. And I would also tell myself to remember to enjoy the ride. You know, people become so fixated on the end goal that they neglect what matters most, whether it's their families, you know, relationships, children, happiness is really important, their own wellness, people neglect their physical and emotional health, just to hardly achieve these goals and goals. And they're just working too hard working all the time sometimes. But so you know, how you're experiencing your rise to success matters, and who you are on the process matters. So if racing to the end to this end goal is either turn you into someone who you're normally not, or it's causing you to compromise or neglect yourself and your well being it's time just to say, to hit pause and say, Well, wait a minute now what really matters and to re evaluate that. So I would just say, you know, you'll get there, keep pushing forward. But enjoy the ride as you go along.
Gresham Harkless 11:30
Yeah, that's so powerful. And so important not to lose yourself in your values, as we kind of talked about, you know, as well too, and who you are, as you're going to get to whatever that goal is, and wherever that that destination might be. And I think you hit the nail on the head when so many times, especially if you're driven, you want to get there at all costs, so to speak. But in reality you want, we always have to remember why we're doing what we're doing. Because the loved ones that we have are our values, our integrity, all those different things that we hold true and hold as really important to us. We don't want to lose those by getting to our destination, because truly, will it be why we were trying to strive and do all the things we were hoping to do?
Michelle C. Thomas 12:08
Correct? I mean, all the money in the world and no one to share it with, right? I mean, what's, what's that? So? Yeah, it's really important to stay focused on what your intention is, why you're doing it, and, you know, know that you'll you'll get there. There's no shortcuts. So, you know, there's no, you can't shortcut hard work. That's what it takes. But as long as you, you know, plan, prepare, and then go forward, you'll end in prosperity. That's my belief.
Gresham Harkless 12:32
Yeah, absolutely believe the same thing cannot cheat the process as a whole. So now, I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping a different, quote unquote, CEOs on the show, so Michelle, but just being a CEO means you.
Michelle C. Thomas 12:46
Freedom, freedom to lead to influence to serve others, on your terms and in alignment with who you are, and your core values. You know, that's if something doesn't fall, you know, in line with your core values, then then, you know, what do you have of being a CEO allows you to, you know, take what works for you, to not take it and also to focus on you know, how you are impacting, you know, those around you, the community, and also to be able to amplify your influence to the community around you. You know, I wanted to cultivate a space where we could do an influence and do family law, the way that I thought that it should be done and help people the way that I thought, and also enables me to influence even, you know, the people on my team, people that work for me, mentees, as well as those who are watching you from afar, because you know, people are always watching that. So it gives you that, that audience that you know, freedom to really be able to express and to do the work that you've been called to do on your terms and the way you want to do it, I would say also aggression, that it It also means responsibility. I believe that to whom much is given, much is required. And it's not something I take lightly. And as we were mentioning, really at the top of the program, you know, the goal is that when you leave, but we're going to leave here at some point, and when we do you want to leave empty, you want to know that you've maximized and use your gifts and talents to the best of your ability. And it's a heavy you know, being CEO is a lot of responsibility, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Really
Gresham Harkless 14:23
nice. I absolutely love that freedom and responsibility. And he gave me a visual I was just thinking about, you know, talking about entrepreneurship and business like lemons, making lemons into lemonade. We ourselves want to be those lemons that have squeezed every single part and aspect of the juice out by the time we're, we're done. And I think that when you're able to really execute, you're able to amplify and show tremendous influence as you said, so well in so many different ways. That's truly when we have been able to do that. So Michelle, truly appreciate that definition. I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know and of course how best they Get a hold of you and find out about all of the awesome things that you're working on.
Michelle C. Thomas 15:03
Sure, sure. It's about the vision, plan your vision, write it down, be intentional about your vision and believe that it will come to fruition build your team before you need it. Before you need your team. build your network before you need it. I always say that your your network equals your net worth so be intentional about who you're even spending and surrounding yourself with and you know, watch you know speak affirmations and then watch it come to fruition you know your dreams it's possible and you know, I'm living proof of that. So I'm it's there's been no looking back. Being a CEO has been great and people can reach me on we're pretty much everywhere. Our website is Thomas law DC calm or on social media, instagram, twitter, facebook at DC divorce. So you can find my personal pages on Michelle C. Thomas, or Michelle C. Thomas E sq. So we're pretty much everywhere we try to provide inspirational quotes and some motivation to our community. And so that's what we're here to do is we're here to Sir
Gresham Harkless 16:03
Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, we'll definitely have the links and information in the show notes as well too. But I appreciate you for for serving us and providing us with so much knowledge and information and wisdom as well to as much as you give to the people that you work with and be able to serve the people that you have as clients and and I truly appreciate you again and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.
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