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Michelle Zambrana


Degree: Master of Science in Marketing

College/School: College of Business

When she was a child, Michelle Zambrana’s father, Felipe Zambrana, a Vietnam War veteran, struggled with alcoholism and PTSD. When she was a college student, he was murdered, and she fell into a depression. As she struggled through poor grades and a series of odd jobs in her early 20s, she made herself two promises: She would not let the unfortunate events of her past dictate her future, and she would become a strong role model for others.

She joined Team in Training, raising $18,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and finishing a full marathon and five half marathons. At age 27, she was chosen for an internship that led to a full-time job at FleishmanHillard, the third largest global PR agency.

Yet, as her career flourished, personal challenges followed: a severe case of post-partum depression after the birth of her son. She started a blog, HealthyFatChick.com, where she encourages women to sidestep the scale and be their healthiest selves. She became a contributor to BabyCenter Latino, battling the stigma of mental health issues in the Latino community. She was recognized in 2016 as a Lincoln Motor Company woman of impact for this work, and her firm named her Team Player of the Year, one of its highest honors.

Equipped with new insights and an extraordinary cohort of new friends from FIU’s Master of Science in Marketing program, Michelle's next adventure takes her dream to new heights: writing a book, and growing her blog as a motivational platform to inspire others to dream big, and make the impossible, possible.

By Ellen Forman
Associate Director, Marketing and Communications, College of Business