Michelle

Swan

SUPERPOWER:

Simplifying complex concepts so the average person gets it

HAPPY PLACE:

Hiking in the mountains

FAVORITE CHARITY:

Heifer International

FORMER COMPANIES:

Swancomm, Appirio, Symantec, Borland, Ketchum

Michelle is a partner at Tercera and responsible for marketing and content, the Tercera advisor and portfolio experience, and helping portfolio companies elevate their own brands. For 20+ years Michelle has been helping technology companies define and grow their market presence. Prior to joining Tercera, she founded and led Swancomm, a marketing communications consultancy supporting early stage product and services companies. Michelle was one of the earliest employees at Appirio, where she led corporate marketing, customer experience and initiated the company’s first Customer Advisory Board. She lives in Raleigh, NC with her very patient husband, three hilarious kids, and the sweetest dog on the planet.

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, looking for interesting 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.

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