Michelle Thompson

Michelle Thompson is CEO and Managing Partner of Cherry Bekaert, one of the top 25 US largest accounting firms.

Michelle’s responsible for oversight of the firm’s Executive Team, executing and promoting the overall strategic plan and driving firm growth. Her leadership role includes chairing Cherry Bekaert’s Executive Board and overseeing the day-to-day administration and financial management of the firm.

Prior to joining Cherry Bekaert, Michelle began her career as an auditor with Deloitte.

She has an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Accountancy, University of South Carolina with additional studies at the Harvard Business School.

Michelle Thompson's LinkedIn Profile


  • Leadership lessons from working the “drive through”.
  • Why Cherry Bekaert is a small accounting firm with big capabilities.
  • Why Michelle thinks it’s so important to get different perspectives.
  • When a leader should “pull rank”.  
  • Advice for employees who are from underrepresented groups in the C-Suite and are a mission to get there.
  • The three-part framework to pitch your idea to the C-Suite. 
  • How big does your idea need to be before you present it?
  • The one trait she’d like to instill in every employee… ”Managing Yourself”.  
  • Productivity strategies from the C-Suite.
  • How being unorganized in your personal life shows up in your professional life.
  • The importance of understanding how and when you and your team work best.
  • A simple hack to bring your best self to every moment.
  • The surprising tool that she recommends for every leader.
  • What General Robert Caslin (now President of USC and former CEO Sessions guest) and Michelle believe about building trust.
  • The moment that accelerated her career.


Tips on presenting your idea to C-Suite:

  • Be able to pitch it.
  • Your pitch needs to answer what problem you are solving, how you will solve it and who will benefit after solving the problem.

3 success strategies all employees need to understand:

  • Be organized.
  • Be a good communicator.
  • Think about your work style.


On the first step for developing your personal network: “Focus on building relationships and establishing trust.”

“You need to volunteer for things and put yourself out there, be willing to fail, and don’t hide.”

“Ideas don’t have to be earth shattering. They can be things that you can change within your own world of influence.”

“Depending on the thing I’m going to do, I’m always considering how to bring my best self to that moment.”


Atomic Habits by James Clear   


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