Michelle Olson, APR leads the Arizona office of Fingerpaint, a New York-based integrated marketing firm with offices in five states. The company focuses its work in three primary industries: health and wellness, land use and sustainability, and film and entertainment, boasting 14 Hollywood studios as clients. With more than 30 years in public relations and integrated marketing, Michelle has served clients across the U.S. and internationally, and has significant experience in corporate communications and issues management across industries, with particular expertise in healthcare, land use, hospitality and sustainability. She is a notable business leader and entrepreneur, having founded and led her own company prior to its acquisition in 2014.
Michelle’s work for clients involved in the U.S. opioid crisis has drawn attention from top tier media across the country and has received recognition from industry trade associations. She routinely integrates content marketing, social media, brand journalism and other online initiatives into public relations strategies, reaching audiences efficiently and quickly to impact change.
In 2018 Michelle was named one of Arizona’s Most Influential Women in Business by BizAZ Magazine and her firm ranked #3 largest PR firm in Arizona by the Phoenix Business Journal. She is immediate past chair of Arizona Forward, a 50-year old statewide advocacy organization convening dialogue on sustainability and quality of life issues. Michelle is a member of the Urban Land Institute (and a founding board member of its Women in Leadership subset), the National Association of Real Estate Editors, Experience Scottsdale, the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce and Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. She has served as a judge for the prestigious Environmental Excellence Awards, the ATHENA Awards (recognizing outstanding women leaders) and the IMPACT Awards (recognizing Arizona’s most impactful companies).
Nationally, Michelle was recently elected to a second term on the board of directors for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), a 22,000-member trade organization for which she has served as a leader at the chapter and regional levels as well. She was honored with the PERCY Award for her career achievements in Arizona in 2003 and previously chaired Counselors Academy, PRSA’s national section for agency owners and leaders. She currently serves as an advisor to the organization’s 11,000-member student body, PRSSA, mentoring its national committee and assisting at its governing assembly and leadership rally. Michelle is an active user of social media and blogging platforms, with substantial followers with whom she shares industry news, trends and opinions.
Michelle launched her career in Minneapolis but has made her mark in Arizona for 27 years, building relationships with business leaders, government staff and officials, influencers and media throughout the state. She is an avid mentor to students and young people interested in public relations as a career choice, is the national board liaison to the Public Relations Student Society of America and a frequent guest lecturer at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.