Although it started as a two-person team making a sixteen-page zine in Montreal, Vice Media Group has become a news-delivering entity with offices in thirty-five cities around the world—collectively making more than 1,700 pieces of content daily through five distinct outlets. Vice’s presence has enabled it to dig deep into the global, multicultural human experience and deliver that experience to consumers anytime, anywhere.
It’s not just the company’s ability to deliver news about the complex and constantly evolving world that makes it so popular—it’s its ability to do it really well. In 2019, Vice was nominated for nineteen Emmy Awards for its content. And, according to its website, Vice won four Emmys in 2020 for its “groundbreaking investigation of China’s treatment of the Uighur population in Xinjiang, the fall of the Islamic State, and a father’s plight to find his missing children lost to ISIS.”
Vice aims to deliver raw, unfiltered stories of people navigating all walks of life. It’s tapped into every contemporary hot topic, from food to identity to race and equity. More so, it makes sure to reflect the subjects of the stories it’s delivering within its own walls. In 2017, Vice’s diversity and inclusion board of directors launched an initiative to revamp the company’s workplace and culture. This effort included the creation of multiple employee support groups for women, people of color, queer employees, and parents. It also included a more diverse staffing plan. Now, Vice’s global workforce is split evenly between men and women and nonbinary employees.
Naturally, a vast and unique team requires leadership that is also committed to fostering the team’s growth. One person on that team is Michele Bradley. A self-described “community builder” and “D&I advocate,” Bradley serves as Vice’s vice president of legal affairs and head employment counsel, a role that she made history filling as the first person to take the spot.
When Bradley filled her seat in 2018, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Joining a cutting-edge media outlet in the middle of a resurgence of social justice movements—#MeToo, women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, and more—Bradley worked closely with Vice’s chief legal officer and global chief human resources officer to ensure that every employee at the company gets an equal chance at success.
With fifteen years of employment counsel experience under her belt, Bradley champions equity and inclusion by completing annual pay equity studies and diversity reports, as well as heightening recruitment strategy and training resources. Additionally, she handles all facets of litigation, union and labor relations, contracts negotiations, crisis management, and compliance efforts. In short, facing the employee side of VICE and the litigation side, there’s not much Bradley can’t do—and it shows.
“As the first employment counsel at Vice Media Group, Michele’s innovative and creative approach has undoubtedly left its mark,” says Kathleen M. McKenna, a partner in the labor and employment department at Proskauer. “Her ability to handle even the most complex of legal and business issues positions her as a star and leader amongst her peers.”
Of course, Vice isn’t Bradley’s first foray into employment law. She graduated with a degree in English from Spelman College, finishing number one in her major and top ten in the entire class. She went on to earn her JD from University of Maryland School of Law, then gained experience in employment law at Jones Day, McDonald’s Corporation, and Blue Apron before making her way to Vice.
In addition to her full-time role, Bradley uses any extra time she has running her own consulting service, serving as cochair of the corporate counsel committee of the Black Women Lawyers’ Association, and volunteering for numerous community-based organizations such as Acts of Love, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Cabrini Green Legal Aid Project.
Throughout her life, Bradley has been dedicated to giving a voice to people who have been historically disenfranchised. In each of the positions she’s previously held, she’s worked hard to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. And at Vice, while the company is hard at work bringing stories from people around the world to the forefront, she’s the woman behind the scenes, giving every employee the chance to write their own story fairly.