Michelle is the CMO and a partner at Tercera, where she drives Tercera’s marketing and thought leadership agenda, evaluates and leads investments, and mentors portfolio companies on brand and go-to-market strategies. She also co-leads Tercera’s community efforts, overseeing the Tercera advisor and portfolio experience. With over two decades of tech and services experience, Michelle has helped dozens of companies define and grow their market presence. Before Tercera, she founded Swancomm, a marketing and brand consultancy aiding early-stage B2B firms. Prior to this, she led corporate marketing and customer experience at Appirio, a pioneering cloud consultancy in the Salesforce, Google, and Workday spaces. Michelle is on the board of Hakkoda and Orium, and resides in Raleigh, NC, where she enjoys life with her patient husband, three hilarious kids, and the world’s least food motivated dog.
What makes you tick?
I’ve known what I wanted to do since I was 7 years old. While some girls were playing school or trying out makeup, I was reading Harriet the Spy, rounding up the girls in the neighborhood to play advertising, or creating some kind of business to raise money for who knows what (friendship bracelets were very lucrative). I have been fascinated by business, great stories, and building and creating since I can remember, and it’s still what gets me out of bed (in addition to my children, literally).
Why are you so passionate about helping founders?
When you build something from the ground up, you have a purpose and passion that is hard to match. It’s how I felt when I ran my own business, and why I love working with founders and their teams. I find it incredibly rewarding to help teams tap into that passion, put some structure around it, and bring it to life for the world to see.
What is a company you really admire and why?
Upwork. It has such a cool backstory (two friends living across the world from each other who wanted to work together and needed a way to collaborate), but more importantly, it’s made a huge difference in the way the world works. Millions of jobs are posted on Upwork every year, and some of the biggest companies in the world are now making independent contractors an integral part of their workforce with Upwork. It’s a mission-driven company that is constantly reinventing itself, and it has proved that you can grow a company in a non-traditional way.