Getting to know… Michela Graci, Strategy Partner - Coley Porter Bell

Getting to know… Michela Graci, Strategy Partner

Sitting down with talented folk from the agency to discuss their careers to date and what makes them tick.

What’s your background? 

I was born and raised in Italy. Sicilian roots and a Milanese upbringing. I’ve lived in Milan, Rome, Pisa and Cagliari, and I can make a perfect accent of all respective local dialects.

After graduating in Science of Communication in Rome La Sapienza, I got a master degree in International Marketing and Strategic Communications and started my career working across clients and ad agencies. Five years on, I decided to go back to school and gained another Masters in Management, Innovation and Service Engineering. On 7th May 2011, I landed at Stansted with the idea of spending only six months in London to improve my English and dip my toes in the brand agency world. I’ve never left.

Tell us something people may not know about you.

As a kid I was a dancer across different styles from ballet to jazz to modern. I loved the blend of self-discipline and camaraderie and also on reflection, the fact that it naturally taught me, from a young age, how to perform as one team. I performed on a popular Italian TV show called ‘La sai l’ultima’ twice, as part of the dance troupe. It was prime time Saturday night TV in the 90s. Despite my best efforts to hide any evidence, my folks still have a VHS hiding somewhere in their attic. Luckily no one owns a video tape player anymore!

What brought you to the agency? 

Culture. Neuroscience. Client portfolio.

As a people-person I naturally resonate with the humanity that sits at the heart of CPB.

And as an all-rounded brand strategist I love to balance left and right brain and apply the science of how people make decisions to the work that I do to maximize impact. Being able to do that across such a diverse mix of FMCG and corporate clients is a plus. And I love to solve knotty briefs thinking big whilst keeping it grounded by delivering actionable, tangible solutions people would interact with on a day to day basis.

You’ve been at Coley’s for almost four years, what’s been the best highlight?

There’s been many but a special one that stands out is meeting philanthropist Alice L. Walton. Through her enterprises, she’s on a mission to drive a radical transformation of the health care system in US and beyond. Her charming yet grounded demeanor, coupled with a sense of real purpose for the work we’re doing together, is truly inspiring.

Coffee or tea?

Is that even a question to ask to an Italian?

What’s your superpower?

Might be partly influenced by coffee, but I’d say positive energy.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Explore what scares you, magic happens out of the comfort zone.