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Michelle, a woman on a mission

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Michelle Alexis Thomas is an attorney-at-law, motivational speaker and cultural ambassador who is hands-on, inspiring and committed to community and national development. She affirms that her motivation comes from persons around her and that she is highly involved in character building and community activities.

I have been fortunate to have met and worked with Michelle at The University of the West Indies at Cave Hill. Her trademark smile and undeniable Jamaican accent compliments her down to earth personality.

She describes herself as being very analytical, passionate about legal issues and able to think quickly on her feet. She attributes these qualities as the main reasons for becoming a lawyer. She further added that in every facet of society there is the need for a lawyer to give some form of advice and help to shape society.

One of the persons that inspires Michelle is Paula Lewelleyn. “She is the first female director of public prosecution. Being a director in a field dominated by men, everybody feels that it is not a woman’s place but she has defied the odds. I want to be a criminal prosecutor and I want to go to the highest level, I want to be like a Paula Lewelleyn. She is multifaceted; being able to manage being a mother,  mentor and still the director of public prosecution, I think that is remarkable.” She expressed.

For this 24-year-old, the Christian faith is a central part of her family life and philosophy. She has a very supportive family which includes three sisters and a brother. What’s her conviction? “We have Christian values and principles. Jesus came down to save us from our sins and I believe that we are called for a greater purpose which is to bring others to Christ and spread the gospel”.

The Jamaican is a past student of St Andrew High School for Girls, The University of the West Indies at Cave Hill and Norman Manley Law School. She was very active in each alma mater. She served on the Guild of Students at Cave Hill and as the vice-president for the Students’ Association at Norman Manley Law School. “The Barbados experience stands out as one of the best experiences as a young girl. The culture, friends and networking opportunities; in addition, living on my own forced me to be more mature and responsible.” she stated.

Her rise as a public figure was accelerated through her mandate and projects implemented as Miss Kingston and St Andrew Festival Queen 2015-2016. Two of such projects include: #Toursbjcm and Heritage Ambassador Project (HAP). #Toursbjcm sought to give 60 students the opportunity to explore the Blue and John Crow Mountains and the Heritage Ambassador Project (HAP) aimed to have heritage ambassadors in all schools to increase cultural awareness.

Additionally, she is the Special Projects Coordinator at EducaTours Jamaica. This is an excursion company that exposes students to the tangible and intangible aspects of Jamaican culture via educational tours. “I also mentor students at the Denham Town High School in Kingston through a United Kingdom programme called Debate Mate. Through this initiative, students learn to argue in a logical manner in conflict resolution, instead of using their skills to tear down each other.” she added. In the coming weeks, she will be travelling to the Middle East (Azerbaijan) as a representative of Jamaica at a youth forum and then to Ghana as a motivational speaker.

Currently, Michelle is in the process of starting a virtual law firm and endeavours to invest heavily in global marketing without breaching the canons on advertising. She also affirms her interest in politics; however, she is looking for the perfect time and opportunity to go on the platform and represent the people. “Whenever God wants me to go in, He will create that avenue, so I am not pushing it, but rather waiting for it to find me,” she stated.

Her views on Caricom
“I envision unity as it relates to Caribbean states, especially on the issue of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) being the final appellate court. A part of Caribbean integration is integration in terms of policies, law decision and treaties. There has been much debate in Jamaica as to whether or not to accept the CCJ. It breaks my heart. We are Caribbean people, I don’t think there should be any opposition in celebrating and embracing something that is genuinely Caribbean and of Caribbean minds and will be administered and monitored by Caribbean people. So one of my greatest wishes for Caricom is that all states will understand that we are a part of the Caribbean and therefore we must unite as regional instruments in order to grow and develop this region. One way to start is through our legal court and the policies that are implemented in each individual country.”

A Message to the Youth
“You can be anything you want once you have the tenacity to chase after your dreams, patience and a strategic plan to reach your goals. Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. Take the calculated risk to dream and succeed. It is your heritage to stand direct, proud and unafraid to stand up to the world and say this is what you have done. Accept your conditions as is or take responsibility to change them. Successful people look around and if they cannot find the circumstances they want then they create them.”

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