Life at Deloitte

Michelle Meisels on broadening horizons, building a network, and continual learning

Deloitte is proud to introduce the next profile in our series of women in the manufacturing industry. By highlighting the stories of women in manufacturing, we hope to help facilitate meaningful conversations, create connections, and showcase the myriad of opportunities available to enter and thrive in the manufacturing industry.

Michelle Meisels is the US Engineering and Construction Marketplace Leader within the Industrial Products and Construction practice at Deloitte LLP. She has over 28 years of experience in consulting, and she credits her continued success and growth to her ongoing love for problem-solving.

The importance of standing out

Michelle grew up in Los Angeles as a first generation American, with a mother from Hungary and a father from the Ukraine. She notes that one of the most surprising facts about her is that she is fluent in Hungarian. Growing up, her parents encouraged her to appreciate everything and taught her the value of being inclusive and open-minded.

“We always had people speaking different languages and from different places in our household,” she says. “My husband of 17 years is French, so you can say I have always been surrounded by people from around the globe.”

One of the highlights of Meisels’ career includes a global leadership experience midway through her career where she lived in France for 18 months and oversaw an entire European client ERP implementation project team. Meisels helped lead a large team spread across five locations, and she said it was a true professional highlight getting to grow as a leader and pursue her passion of international travel. In addition to enjoying her time in France, she also shared about how the project experience gave her leadership exposure.

“I was a senior manager at the time, and while the project had an overall engagement partner, he couldn’t be in all regions at the same time,” Meisels said. “This allowed me to quickly grow and develop my leadership skills, as well as executive-facing skills because I was oftentimes in the room with the CFO and executive sponsor.”

Meisels joined Deloitte and was admitted as a partner almost five years ago. In her early days at Deloitte, Michelle created a spreadsheet listing all the people she met. She established a mindset of intentionality envisioning her network as a project itself, and she credits this for helping her find and develop a support system.

“While I ditched the spreadsheet a few months in, it was very helpful in the beginning as I started to meet and talk to people,” she admits. “I would find out what they did and always end by asking for another person to connect with.”

In addition to this mindset and strategy, she credits mentors for her quick success integrating into the organization. They welcomed and supported her in the Deloitte engineering and construction practice from the start.

Navigating and growing through change

Throughout her career, Meisels shared that the most notably challenging times have arisen when she was at a fork in the road, leading to a career-changing decision. “I have learned to lean on my friends and mentors for advice,” she says. Meisels recalled many different points in her career, from an early shift as a financial analyst at Disney to jumping into consulting. She said “At first making decisions felt uncomfortable, but I realized that is normal and allowed me to learn and grow.”

As an avid reader, Michelle shared how she enjoys reading and passing along books to mentees and friends. “If I’m really enjoying a book, I oftentimes find myself sharing these books with three CIO clients I serve because I feel like we’ve created a community for ourselves.”

Meisels recognizes her platform to give back as well, both inside and outside of Deloitte.

I am passionate about people. Now that I am later in my career, I have knowledge and experiences that others can benefit or learn from. I hope to continually make an impact to those that I sponsor and mentor.

     - Michelle Meisels

Outside of Deloitte, Meisels serves on a board for WISE and Healthy Aging, aimed to advance the dignity and quality of life of older adults through leadership, advocacy and high-quality, innovative services. “I just want to help people and make an impact,” Michelle reiterated.

Standing out and speaking to crowds

While there is still work to further enhance the representation of the construction workforce, Meisels believes that provides an opportunity to females for growth and development. “I think it’s such a great time to be a woman in this field [manufacturing, industrials, and construction] because you can stand out,” Meisels stated. "Sometimes I am the only woman on a call, but I see that again as opportunity because I can differentiate myself.”

In the theme of standing out and taking opportunities, when reflecting on some of the most rewarding moments in her career, she remembered an experience from nine years ago that took her out of her comfort zone. Michelle was asked to speak at a technology conference with over 500 people in the room regarding her career journey and success in the construction industry.

“While I have no problem presenting to clients, getting in front of a giant group of strangers and giving a speech at a conference isn’t my superpower,” Meisels admits. “This made me really nervous, and I almost turned it down.”

Thankfully she went through with the speech and excitedly remembers getting to introduce a well-known television news anchor for the keynote, “which was just one of those really cool moments,” she said. “Afterwards, I felt so amazing as people came up and congratulated me. I truly did face and overcome a fear, which was a really wonderful experience.”

As Michelle reflected on her younger self and her advice to women entering the industry, she encourages them to overcome their fears and find security in who they are while continuing to learn and keep an open mind.

“You are good enough, and you can achieve anything you want.” She ended the interview with these words offering a last piece of advice: “get rid of self-doubt, although I know especially early in your career it can be hard, but know you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”

Michelle Meisels
Deloitte LLP

Michelle Meisels: The lightning round

Describing herself in three words: Competitive, inquisitive, and collaborative

Favorite food or drink: All types of Asian cuisine. The best meal she ever had
was in Japan

Favorite place to travel: France

One thing on her bucket list: Travel to the Maldives 

Women in Manufacturing

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