Member Highlight: Michiel Perry

Feb 14, 2023

Michiel Perry
100 Women in Finance, Programming and Event/Marketing Strategist and Special Assistant to COO/CDO

What was your first job out of college?

After graduating from Howard University, I worked in Public Affairs at Google Inc. which was so exciting after having interned with them my sophomore year through their internship program.  It was so exciting to work at a tech company in DC right out of college and learn about the regulatory and tech world at the same time while also being able to cultivate lifelong relationships with Black women in both industries who I still maintain personal and professional relationships with today.

What was your career path in public affairs?

As the public affairs team was relatively new and continually growing, I wore many hats and quickly gained many skills including State Government Relations, working with Capitol Hill and partnering with nonprofits and trade associations. My most meaningful work centered around connecting the dots on advocacy for advancing diversity in Tech by working with our internal executives, diversity leaders, legislators, advocacy groups, Historically Black Colleges (HBCUS) and students. It was great being able to find a way to be an advocate for including more HBCU students and black employees and entrepreneurs in Tech and Silicon Valley.

How did you become an entrepreneur?

I went on to work at a fashion start up after my time at Google.  I was bitten by the startup bug  and looking to use my creative side in my career and found a Woman-Owned fashion startup where I led marketing efforts. Doing this work inspired my interest in entrepreneurship where I ended up starting a digital brand called Black Southern Belle. I was inspired to start this plan as a way to support Black-Women owned businesses in the South because I was planning my wedding in the South Carolina Lowcountry where I am from and decorating my first home in Maryland, and looking to support creative businesses owned by Black women. I never thought I would do something like this as I love being behind the scenes especially from my public affairs work, but I see it as another vehicle to advocate for Black women through supporting Black Women owned businesses and showcasing the heritage and contributions of Black Women specifically in the rural South throughout history and presently.

What project are you most proud of when working on your Business?

I was able to produce and host a digital series with The Food Network honoring the history and heritage of Juneteenth which resulted in a Daytime Emmy nomination. I loved working on this project because I was able to utilize and support so many Black women entrepreneurs from the Lowcountry in the food and creative industries while honoring Juneteenth and through the lens of Black foodways.

What Black woman in Finance do you admire?

That’s an easy one. I went to high school outside of the Richmond, VA area and that is where I first learned about Maggie Walker, am entrepreneur, financier, and black woman from Richmond, Virginia. Walker was the first Black woman to charter a bank and serve as a bank president. I learned about her by meeting friends who went to the Maggie L. Walkers Governor’s School.  This was most certainly the first Black woman I associated with banking and finance as a child and I was amazed at her story.

Why did you choose to work at 100 Women in Finance?

Empowering women to be in the finance industry and to be informed of their  own finances is so important to me especially for Black women who feel a huge brunt of the pay gap and investment gap. As more Black women founders, entrepreneurs, business owners and executives take the reins of their personal and professional life, they should be able to find resources that understand their experience and perspective. From budgeting for childcare expenses to creating tools to empower women to invest, I wanted to find a way to work behind the scenes to help advocate for Black women to be and thrive in the finance industry.

Working at 100 Women in Finance means I can help to advocate and support the generation of women in business and finance. There are so many ways to serve women consumers in finance that are being untapped or underserved, particularly, Black women, and I know if more woman, especially Black Women, get into and stay in the industry, they will be the best advocates for creating the tools needed to do just that

What memories do you have around women and money/finance?

Women having ownership and understanding of their finances was always something that I heard about as a child. My great grandfather had land that he had had children inherit, including his two daughters who went on to attend Benedict College, a historically black college in South Carolina which they owned even when they moved to Pennsylvania after college. I love knowing that my great grandfather made sure to include his daughters in inheriting land allowing them to use the financial vehicles that land and ownership provide, which my father and grandfather also passed down to me and is something I hope to instill in my daughter as well.

Some of My Favorite Articles on Black Women in Finance:

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