Member Spotlight – Michelle Murray

by Sander Coxe on March 17, 2015

Murray Michelle

Michelle Murray, Vice President of Business Development at New Jersey-based Connell Foley, comes to us via Wall Street and the vendor side. Ebullient, full of energy and steeped in sales, while new to the LMA, Michelle is one of our biggest advocates of the community and its value. She talks much faster than I type, and trying to keep up with her was like riding a rollercoaster (that will make sense later), but we did our best to capture that in our recent interview.

Thanks for making the time, Michelle. We are delighted to have you for the spotlight. Let’s start with some of the professional topics – please tell us a little about your Wall Street background and how you ended up here.

Hi. Thanks for having me. I started out in finance with a stint at PaineWebber working as a sales assistant on the mortgage trading desk. I was looking to move to a full institutional sales role and was fortunate enough to be recruited by our summer intern’s father at Deutsche Bank to a sales role there. Before I knew it, I was 26 years old and I was offered the chance to help them start issuance of their commercial paper program, which evolved into a full money market desk over a short time. It was a very exciting opportunity to which I could not say no, and we had a wonderful time building the new business and shaping its direction.

A few years later, I was wooed by West LB (another German bank) to do the same – grow its money market business. I then moved to the asset securitization business until I stepped down in 2004, long before that world imploded. In all of these jobs, I was blessed with significant responsibility and the chance to employ all my skills. These were creative environments that brought out the best in our teams. It was a truly engaging professional experience for me.

Why did you step down in 2004?

I loved my work and was torn about leaving, but honestly with three children under five it really wasn’t feasible anymore to fly to London at the drop of a hat for dinner. That lifestyle just wasn’t going to work for my family anymore. It was time to start a new adventure and spend more time as “Mom”.

Three kids! That is a full load.

Yes indeed, it really is a full time job, as they say. I have two girls – Riley(15) and Katie (13) – and my little man Jack (11). For five good years, I focused on just being a mother. I love playing tennis and I found some time to fit that in too, but most of my time was spent with the kids. I did a good deal of volunteering at their school and at our church. I have some great memories from that. One, in particular, in helping with our church fundraiser I was tasked with hiring a new carnival vendor. Yes. Carnies. I am not afraid of them, like Austin Powers, but yes they do indeed lead a very different kind of life. I had to interview a number of different carnivals and finally did land a great provider. Other local towns now keep trying to steal my carnival!

I would not have thought we would be talking about carnies today! It’s the little things. So after kids, school, church, carnies, tennis and, I hope, a little sleep, you jumped back into the corporate world?

Sleep? What’s that? Yes. In 2009, I came on as the Marketing Director for Allendale-based Corporate Ladders, the professional development and coaching firm. That was the first time I heard of the LMA and I attended a few of the NY luncheon programs. In 2013, I went to work for business intelligence provider IBISWorld. Once I realized that its product could be used by law firms in their competitive intelligence efforts, I joined the NYLMA. I actually bought it as soon as I came here to Connell Foley. (So, to all my former IBISWorld legal clients, know that I meant everything I said!) I met so many terrific people in the legal marketing and biz dev community. In fact, all the LMA events that I attended while with IBISWorld really became something like a degree in legal marketing. It was remarkable how much I learned.

Agreed. The LMA is a pretty terrific vehicle in which to network and learn.

Absolutely. I am honestly quite astounded by what an open and friendly group it is. Everybody shares so much professionally and it is truly wonderful to be part of the group. I can say that I was offered my current position at Connell Foley because I utilized the things I learned from attending the NYLMA programming, both in the luncheon series and some of the SIGs, in my sales pitch to Connell Foley. The next thing you know, I was hired as the VP of Business Development – a role they haven’t had before at the firm. I really love this work – we are getting to build something new and they are allowing me to be client-facing. I couldn’t be happier now and would not have been able to make the leap to this interesting new path without the contacts and education that the LMA provided. I still have so much to learn, but I want to give back as well. So I have joined the Programming Committee. It’s really fascinating and great to be a part of it – the goal in these programs is always trying to help people get to the next level.

That is great to hear. Congratulations on finding such a good fit. Tell us a little about Michelle when she is not being a high-energy professional.

Aw, I am boring. Honestly between work and the kids I am pretty much occupied. I do enjoy TV detective shows, so while it’s not really aimed at my demographic, I do DVR the new Hawaii Five-O so I can watch it with my son (and I sneak in The Blacklist when he goes to sleep). I am trying, somewhat in vain, to be part of two book clubs and I have a little trouble keeping up with finding time to read both books, but that is fun as well.

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