On February 2, 2013 I met with a remarkable woman named Michelle Craig. I say remarkable because Craig is truly a successful, quality person. During the interview Craig was funny, intelligent, engaging, and exposed her true opinion of her view of New Orleans. She believes that New Orleans is poised to become a powerhouse of a city. “I feel a sense of purpose in New Orleans and I want to push for a win for the city,” says Craig. Organizations like InNOLAvation and DiversiTea, her own contribution to New Orleans, were shouted out as agents of change for the city. The founders of inNOLAvation created an organization that focuses on building minority entrepreneurship in the city. DiversiTea focuses on providing a pipeline, a purpose and mentorship between minority women and minority college students Craig knows that organizations that are for the betterment of the city, an effective school system, and a positive population of people will drive our city to greatness.
Michelle Craig was born in New Orleans, but never lived in the city until 2007 when she decided to work for Adams and Reese LLP. At the firm Craig serves on the Labor and Employment team. Her representative clients include schools, fast food companies, offshore companies, home improvement retailers, entrepreneurs and other small businesses. Craig enjoys being a partner at Adams and Reese because they hold the same values for diversity that she has cultivated over the years. “Being African-American gives me keen sense of the importance of diversity. For undergraduate studies, ,she attended the Scholar’s College at Northwestern State University, Attending the Scholars College was “a great social experiment in diversity.” She believes that her experience there definitely laid the foundation for her work today. According to Craig, Adams and Reese created a diverse environment, upheld a commitment to diversity, and established a professional place to grow. In 2010, Craig earned a position as a partner with Adams and Reese.
What do you consider yourself good at doing outside of being a lawyer?
I am somewhat of a workaholic. However, I have two godchildren, an 12 year old in Texas and 10 month old in New Orleans. I try to be the best Godmom that I can be to them. I also enjoy community activism-Mostly because I want to see our city reach its potential. The city has a chance to do that and I like the fact that I am a part of it.
How do you manage your career and social life? Do you have to sacrifice one for the other?
. I tend to burn the candle on both ends! In regards to work, sometimes it means alternative schedules. That means starting earlier or working later. Sometimes it means working smarter in the day so that I can see my friends or see my family. But it’s not always balanced. Sometimes I just don’t get to see my friends or godchildren as much as I would like. I do believe that you have to be careful because, if not one day you will look up and there will be no one in your life. I have to consistently prioritize and make an honest assessment of myself and goals. Each year I try to Look at what I did wrong and right in the past year and Who I am and who I want to be That assessment involves looking at the decisions in both my professional and personal life. Sometimes your goals change and your actions have to change to achieve the new goals I ask myself honest questions like: What is the point of what you are doing?…Are your actions helping to achieve your goals or are they working against them?. Are the people in your life in it to hurt you or to help you? I try to evaluate those things often, but especially in the new year.
What motivated you in high school, college, or law school to become the successful person you are today?
Being one of the older children and having a father in the military, I grew up with a sense of responsibility. He was deployed away from us a few times so I became a very responsible child very early on. In high school, I gravitated towards law. I was in student government and organizations like that. Law was a natural fit for me plus I knew that a law degree was very useful in any profession.
What is your favorite movie and guilty TV pleasure?
You already know…..Scandal. Ghost is one of my favorite movie, because I am kind of a romantic, but I don’t tell too many people that.
If you did not have to work, what would you do?
I would visit schools and talk to the students about life or start an organization for young girls that focuses on their self-esteem and helping them reach their potential. I think our young ladies get neglected and need more of us to teach them how to achieve their goals.