Getting to know Infinite Global Associate Vice President Melissa Anderson
July 18, 2023
Team Spotlight: Melissa Anderson, Associate Vice President at Infinite Global
Infinite Global recently welcomed Associate Vice President Melissa Anderson, a seasoned PR and media relations specialist and former legal journalist.
For the past decade, she led PR and media efforts Am Law 100 firm Vinson & Elkins, most recently as its director of communications. Prior to that, she held communications and media relations roles at Vinson & Elkins, Nossaman, SNR Denton and JAMS, and was previously an editor for The Daily Journal, among other roles.
We caught up with Melissa to learn more about those experiences and her work at Infinite.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in California, a hybrid of north and south, leading to some confusing sports allegiances (Oakland A’s and Raiders, Los Angeles Lakers and Kings) and an appreciation of all the best things the state has to offer. Where else can you wake up at the beach, have lunch in the desert and dessert in the mountains? A career move led to a 10-year adventure in Houston, Texas, which only enhanced my appreciation for the Golden State’s weather. But it also created a deep love for Tex-Mex, crawfish, fried Oreos and rodeo. I can confirm, the South does not disappoint when it comes to hospitality and culinary delights. Geography aside, I’m a journalist at heart who loves chasing answers and telling people’s stories. This goes back to some of my earliest memories when I would use a toy microphone to “interview” family, friends and even my cat for the evening news. It’s led to an exciting career as a reporter, editor and PR professional that allows me to learn something new every day.
What were you doing prior to joining IG?
For the past decade, I worked in house at an Am Law 100 firm—first in Houston and most recently in San Francisco after transferring mid-pandemic to be closer to family. During my tenure I led firmwide media and public relations efforts, giving me an opportunity to work with elite lawyers and develop relationships with reporters across the world, while raising visibility and furthering the firm’s strategic objectives. Best of all, I was surrounded by an incredible team of colleagues who I’m now lucky to call friends.
What sparked your interest in public relations?
I’ve always been a news hound and while I loved my time as a reporter and editor, making the move to PR was the best career decision I could have made. Initially, I did have some trepidation at becoming a “flack,” as we so often referred to communications professionals. But I was excited to channel my journalistic instincts in a law firm environment. Nearly 20 years later, those skills are still valuable every day as I scour headlines to position clients as sources to advance a story. In PR, I have the opportunity not to report the news, but to make sure it’s reported correctly by connecting journalists with industry experts who can offer insight and clarity on complex issues.
What does successful PR look like to you?
Successful PR to me is about relationships. There’s a lot of hit-and-miss in PR because of the nature of a news cycle. A reporter needs a source on deadline, but the source is unavailable. A source wants to comment on breaking news, but there’s a conflict or they’ve missed the coverage window. When I facilitate a connection between an expert source and a reporter that leads to a featured quote from a client that adds depth to an article? That’s a win-win, with everyone—including the reader—getting something out of the connection, and the potential to develop a long-lasting relationship.
What sectors are you covering for clients?
While I work with a broad spectrum of professional services companies, my focus at IG is primarily on legal industry clients known for handling complex, high-stakes disputes and transactions across an array of industries and practice areas. I get the unique opportunity each day to interact with the news in spaces such as intellectual property, technology and AI, labor and employment, health care, business litigation, government regulations, M&A and private equity, and financial services, to name just a few, which always keeps things interesting.
Tell us about your average day at IG.
That’s the great thing about working in PR: there’s no such thing as an average day because we always go wherever the news takes us.
What are some of your interests outside of work?
I’m an avid sports fan and die-hard UCLA Bruin alum, so I rack up frequent flyer miles in the fall commuting between the Bay Area and the Rose Bowl. I enjoy combining my football obsession with my passion for photography, and when I’m not aiming a camera at the field, I might be found wandering the streets of San Francisco framing a shot of its stunning Victorian architecture.
How do your previous legal journalism and in-house experiences inform your work in PR today?
While certainly not necessary to succeed in PR, I do think my prior experience has given me a leg up. As a former journalist, I have an insider’s understanding of the news and the key elements reporters are looking for in a pitch. I know how to navigate deadline issues and can provide clients with enhanced media training based on my real-world experience conducting interviews. Working in a law firm provided insight into my clients’ needs, giving me two rather unique perspectives I would not otherwise have.
Curious to know more? Learn more about Infinite Global’s Associate Vice President Melissa Anderson here.