Michele L. Watley is the founder and owner of The Griot Group, a consulting practice that partners with clients to bring together the people, institutions and resources necessary to create impact through strategic communications and advocacy. She is a results-driven practitioner that has worked with candidates and organizations across the US, representing a vast range of political ideologies at the federal, state, and local levels of government.
During the 2016 electoral cycle, Michele served served as the national African American outreach political director for Senator Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign and as the statewide political director for Koster for Missouri. In both roles Michele successfully targeted voters to build broad coalitions of support within communities that were not previously engaged. Prior to the 2016 campaign season, Michele served as a regional director for Missouri Secretary of State, Jason Kander.
Michele’s passion for politics began with her first career in labor as a carpenter apprentice with the Carpenter’s District Council, Kansas City and Vicinity. As a carpenter apprentice, Michele worked on and led a number of major construction projects for one of the nation’s top construction companies. She made the transition from a highly successful career in carpentry to a career in strategic communications and political advocacy. She went on to work with organizations in the government administration and non-profit sectors including the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, and the Hague Conference on Private and International Law located in the Hague Netherlands.
Michele is a graduate of Avila University with a BA in Communication and a Masters in Organizational Development. She is a proud member of Rotary International and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.