(Photograph courtesy of Washingtonian Magazine)
Michelle A. Mitchell, Trinity Class of 2006, is well on her way to being one of Washington’s “most powerful women.” She’s standing next to yours truly in the photo above, not the real Washingtonian cover but a courtesy photo the magazine snapped for all of the attendees at a luncheon last week celebrating the “100 Most Powerful Women of Washington.” The editors asked the honorees to invite as our guest “a woman of talent and tenacity whom Washingtonian should watch in the future.” Michelle is one of Trinity’s great exemplars of leadership, talent and tenacity, a great role model for all of today’s students and young alumnae.
During her student days at Trinity, Michelle excelled in so many ways. She was an Intelligence Studies Scholar, the Student Government President, elected to Phi Beta Kappa (the most prestigious academic honor society) and graduated summa cum laude. She had internships with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ’62 and U.S. Federal District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer ’68. She received invitations to attend numerous top tier law schools, and she accepted the invitation to attend Georgetown Law on a Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship.
Michelle is now a lawyer with Hughes Hubbard and Reed, and she specializes in international trade, intellectual property and anti-corruption investigations. In fact, when I contacted her with the invitation to attend the Washingtonian luncheon, she was in England on an investigation, but she was able to return to the U.S. in time to join me last Friday. During lunch, Michelle enthusiastically described her work, which is very hard but immensely rewarding. She is well on her way to becoming one of Washington’s top lawyers!
Michelle and I also had a good laugh remembering one of her more arduous accomplishments as student government president — convincing me that Trinity should join Facebook. Can you believe it was only in 2005 that this phenomenon came along? At that time universities had to be invited to join, based on student demand, and Michelle wanted to be sure that Trinity got an invitation. Michelle came into my office to discuss joining Facebook, and, needless to say, I was dubious. I thought it sounded like a lot of gossip, and potentially a threat to student privacy. But Michelle persisted and finally persuaded me to give it a try — and so, Trinity’s presence on Facebook took off, thanks to Michelle’s leadership!
The Washingtonian “100 Most Powerful Women” list includes 3 Trinity alumnae (Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelius, me) and numerous honorary alumnae and current or former Trinity trustees: Dr. Johnnetta Cole who was our May 2011 commencement speaker and honoree, and is president of the National Museum of African Art; Barbara Lang who is a current trustee, speaker and honoree at the May 2007 commencement, and president of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce; current trustee Terri Lee Freeman, president of the Community Foundation; former trustee Carol Thompson Cole who is president of Venture Philanthropy Partners; “Washington Woman of Genius” awardee Linda Rabbitt, founder, chairman and ceo of Rand Construction; Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton who holds a Trinity honorary degree. Many other friends of Trinity were honored, and among the future women of power at the luncheon I was pleased to greet Veronica Nolan, Class of ’99, of the Urban Alliance who was our April 2011 Sower’s Seed lecturer.
Michelle Mitchell fits right into this group, as do many young Trinity alumnae who are on their way to being the next generation of Washington’s “most powerful women.” Michelle and her Trinity alumnae sisters are great examples for today’s students to study and emulate. I am so honored to know these great women, and proud that Trinity can be the place where so many find the skills, knowledge, incentives and encouragement to excel.
Power to the future of great women!
See my blog on the Huffington Post “Occupy the Lives of Children in DC”
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