Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ciao to a Detroit Snob

I met Michelle Price at a party last summer hosted by a mutual friend. It wasn’t five minutes before we felt like “sisters of another mister.”

It was at that party that I shared with her my vision for “Detroit Snob,” an idea that was just starting to take hold. Michelle, a Detroit area marketing professional who was born in Kansas, loved the idea and immediately started sharing her ideas and expertise. Then she shared her own dream: She was going to move to Italy to go to business school.

I was so impressed. To study abroad – wow! I couldn’t imagine taking a step like that as a middle-aged woman. I can’t even remember my way to work half of the time. How would I manage studying abroad?

It was only after our friendship flowered over the summer that I came to know that Michelle actually had no idea HOW she was going to Italy. She simply claimed that she was going. She had met some friends in Italy years before and had visited twice. The people, culture and cities seemed to call her name—she was supposed to be there. Obedient to her spirit, she set the wheels in motion. My admiration for her grew. It’s scary to dream big and claim it when there’s no obvious way to make your dream come true.

Just months later, Michelle (now an official Detroit Snob) got the news. She’d been accepted to the Universita’ Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (USCS) in Milan. The school is the largest private university in Europe, with more than 42,000 students, and it is the biggest and one of the most distinguished Catholic universities in the world. Michelle is the first American to be accepted into the master's degree program in luxury goods management.

Like most silver linings, the news came with its own dark cloud. How could she afford to go? What would she do with all her possessions? Could she really leave behind her closest friends?

“I got cold feet for a while after I got my acceptance letter,” she said. “But I got over it fast.”

Letting go is sometimes the surest way to receive a blessing. She eventually sold everything she owned and moved in with a friend. Up until the week before she left, she didn’t have her visa. But her faith never wavered. “I didn’t know how this was going to work,” she said, “but I knew it would.”

Days before her flight, it arrived in the mail. On Monday, March 30, Michelle began the Executive Master Luxury Goods Management Program. She’ll be studying every aspect of launching luxury products, including marketing, design, pricing, retail management, advertising, supply chain strategy, and operations.

As we gathered to say “arrivederci,” we all told stories about Michelle’s inspirational vision and drive. There was one common denominator: None of us knew how she was going to do it, but none of us doubted she would.


Nadia Ibrashi said...

What an inspiring story.

Becs said...

Amazing, wonderful story! Best of luck to you, Michelle. Keep us posted.