Michelle Andersen Joins BOCA: From Music Publicity to All Things Technology

Why did you choose PR as a career?

I stumbled upon PR as a career by accident due to a natural affinity for analyzing media, but was also a born promoter of things. Originally, my goal was to be a writer, and I majored in mass media communications at Loyola Marymount University in L.A., so I studied every aspect of the field while DJing at our college radio station, KXLU, and promoting clubs around town. While I was becoming disillusioned with writing as a profession, I was working my first job with Lawrence Welk (yes, “The Lawrence Welk Show”) as an assistant to the president of the record labels and ended up building the communications infrastructure for the publicity/promotion department due to my interest in new technology. At that point, I began to do music publicity, while pushing the boundaries of how technology helped my job. All of my skills and interests came together with my first PR agency job working on cutting-edge technology, and the course of my life was set.

What drew you to BOCA?

Kathleen [Shanahan], the agency’s founder! I had worked with Forbes contributor Tom Taulli on a story for a small data analytics company that I proactively pitched him outside of his requested round of comments on IPOs. Apparently, he mentioned me to her, and she contacted me. I made friends with Kathleen and kept an eye on what BOCA was up to. As soon as I saw that BOCA was hiring, I made a play and here I am. In my opinion, any CEO that would reach out just to say hello as a result of speaking to a journalist was a smart one in my book.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The first part of it is analyzing media, what news organizations as well as individual reporters are doing, what’s trending. But nothing beats getting a story for a client.

What do you do for fun?

I car camp a lot, like four times a year, and each time the amenities we bring make it more and more absurd that we’re camping (espresso-maker, powerwasher, sheets, rugs, etc.). I’m a car girl and love road trips, car rallies and driving in general. I collect and trade crypto. But my biggest love is music and going to see live shows, so it’s been a rough past year.

What’s your favorite show?

I’m a religious Stephen Colbert follower, so that’s a daily thing. Local news so I can get to know all the anchors. “Saturday Night Live.” Cake. The “Baroness Von Sketch Show.” (I guess I really like sketch shows.) “What We Do in the Shadows” is great!

What’s the most interesting place you’ve traveled to and why?

Rio de Janeiro. I went for a wedding, so I was able to hang out with the locals and go to the most interesting spots, which culminated in a trip up to the rain forest to an ancient church for the wedding and a jungle reception. Argentina was really interesting as well. I’m fascinated by South America in general.

Would you rather be a ninja or a pirate? Why?

I’m a pirate, no doubt. I used to be the captain of a crew, but we couldn’t find a permanent ship, so everyone quit. We drank a lot of rum and sang a lot, though.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that we might not guess.

I am very domestic — cooking, cleaning and such. I make my own hot sauce. I am a good cook, decent baker and a pickler of vegetables, not to mention a green thumb. I have amazing houseplants.

If you weren’t in PR, what would you do?
Work with animals. Originally, I wanted to go to UC Davis for vet school, but writing won out. At one point, I seriously considered building my career around the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SFSCPA), where I volunteered for a couple years, but I got sucked back into PR.

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