Michelle Olson, APR, Immediate Past Chair
Michelle Olson is CEO of Lambert, a full-service communications firm with offices in Michigan, New York, Arizona and St. Louis. She was named CEO of the nationally recognized firm following her time as managing director and partner. As CEO, Olson is in charge of strategic leadership of the firm, where her responsibilities include driving client, practice and talent growth, while also managing the agency’s largest client relationships. Lambert works with clients ranging from global brands to emerging leaders in a variety of industries including automotive and mobility, consumer, education, financial, B2B, and food and beverage.
Olson served as 2021 PRSA Chair, having previously served on the national Board of Directors and as a leader at the Chapter and Section levels. As chair, Olson aimed to equip PR practitioners with the tools necessary to identify and combat mis/dis/malinformation, break down barriers for diverse students and professionals to enter the industry, and help communicators foster more effective civil discourse.
Olson's leadership and influence on the communications industry has been recognized on multiple occasions in 2021. She was honored as an industry innovator in PRNEWS’ 2021 Top Women in PR awards, the second year in a row she has been named to the list. Later in the year, she was named the winner of a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Thought Leader of the Year – Government or Non-Profit category in the 2021 Stevie Awards for Women in Business. In 2018, she was named one of Arizona’s Most Influential Women in Business by BizAZ Magazine and in 2003, she received the Phoenix PRSA chapter’s prestigious PERCY Award for her achievements in the public relations industry. Olson is a past chair of Counselors Academy, PRSA’s international section for agency owners and leaders and an advisor and mentor to the organization’s student body, PRSSA, providing counsel to its national committee.
With more than 30 years in public relations and integrated marketing, Olson has served clients across the U.S. and internationally, and has significant experience in corporate communications and issues management across industries. A notable business leader and entrepreneur, Olson founded and led her own company for 13 years prior to its acquisition in 2014. Her firm ranked as the third largest in Arizona by the Phoenix Business Journal.
Olson’s work for clients to combat the U.S. opioid crisis drew attention from top tier media across the country and received recognition from industry trade associations. Committed to staying abreast of innovative communications approaches, Olson routinely integrates content marketing, social media, brand journalism and other digital initiatives into public relations strategies, reaching audiences quickly to impact change. She has handled numerous high-profile projects, including the Phoenix Coyotes’ Glendale Arena opening, the Merrill Lynch SKINS Game in LaQuinta, Calif. and the opening of several hotels, restaurants, golf courses and two successful lifestyle centers: Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter.
Olson is a past chair of Arizona Forward, a 50-year-old statewide advocacy organization convening dialogue on sustainability and quality of life issues and a member of the Urban Land Institute. She has served as a judge for the prestigious Environmental Excellence Awards, the ATHENA Awards, which recognize outstanding women leaders, and the IMPACT Awards, which recognize Arizona’s most impactful companies.