About Us

Michelle Cardinal CEO + Co-Founder

Michelle’s career spans more than 25 years in advertising and media, beginning in TV media buying and ad sales in the early 90’s. In 1998, Michelle launched Cmedia in Portland, Oregon. It quickly became one of the top direct response media buying players in the country, servicing clients such as Humana, Carnival Cruise Line, and Cancer Treatment Centers of America. In 2004, Michelle merged her company with Respond2, a Portland creative and production company, creating the fully integrated agency R2C Group, specializing in Direct-to-Consumer marketing. After a recent rebranding, Rain the Growth Agency is now one of the top independent agencies in the country and is known for representing many successful startups and well-known brands including: 23andMe, Peloton, Chewy, SimpliSafe, Humana, Bissell, 1-800 Contacts, LendingTree, and many more.

During her career, Michelle has relentlessly bucked conventional wisdom to provide clients with both highly efficient media that delivers ROI and effective brand messages. She and her team pioneered the marketing philosophy that brands can drive sales and build a brand at the same time, which they call “Transactional Brand Building.” This concept has helped propel Rain the Growth Agency to become the top choice for fast-growing e-commerce brands, as well as many traditional direct-to-consumer brands who innately understand that this philosophy drives transformational growth for their companies.

Michelle is passionate about using technology and data to guide informed marketing decisions and has invested heavily in the development of leading media analytic tools and media attribution platforms like Tracker™, WaveCast™, Signal Link™, as well as unique tools that mine client data to better target customers including ConsumerID™.

An entrepreneur at heart, Michelle has successfully built four companies from startup, partnered with two private equity companies, and effectively steered her agency through four company acquisitions. With 230+ employees and generating close to $600 million annually, Rain the Growth Agency consistently ranks as one of the top independent (and women-led) advertising agencies nationally.

Michelle is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a BA in Communication. She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and business partner, Tim O’Leary, and their yellow Lab named Lemon.