Michaella Testa says she likes living a normal life, and she’s happiest when she’s able to start her workday around 9 a.m. and shut her computer at 5 p.m. That leaves her plenty of free time, and while she likes routine and normalcy at work, her life outside of Trueline is anything but normal.
“I like doing things on a whim or at the last-minute,” Michaella says. “I balance my routine existence at work by living a life of adventure.”
As the company’s production coordinator, she says the simple routine at Trueline is a welcomed change from when she owned her own floral shop and regularly worked around 20 hours each week while also holding a full-time job for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). Despite her routine work existence at Trueline, Michaella still finds time for adventure.
In early August, on a mid-summer afternoon under clear skies, Michaella and her sister went to Biddeford, a short drive south of Portland, climbed into a small plane, ascended to about 10,000 feet and jumped out.
“It happened so fast, but I loved it and will absolutely do it again,” Michaella says. “Our appointment was at 2 p.m. and by 2:17 we were back on the ground.”
After a 30 second freefall, Michaella and her tandem partner floated back to Earth for about five minutes. She could see Old Orchard Beach and Portland and had time to reflect on her routine, her past and her future. That includes moving into a tiny house on wheels.
“I’ve always been independent, and I’m excited to have this space all to myself,” Michaella says. “But my boyfriend, who is a woodworker and will play a large role in the building of the home, is making sure the floor plans comfortably fit two for the future.”
Looking for Her Place
Michaella was born in Portland and lived in different parts of Maine until third grade when her family moved to New Hampshire near Lake Winnipesaukee. She went to a technical college for two years and then finished her degree in tourism management and policy at Plymouth State in the White Mountains—she spent a semester abroad during her senior year at Universitas Udayana in Bali.
During that study abroad period, she spent five months in Indonesia studying tourism. She realized that despite a closeness to her family and friends, she was very independent.
“My friends leaned on me quite a bit while we were there, and I always took charge of whatever situation we were in,” Michaella says. “But I really learned a lot about living on my own and how much I enjoyed being my own person.”
Back in Portland and working for CIEE, she applied for a position with Trueline in November 2018. She engaged in back-and-forth communication with P.J. Rose, the company’s chief operations officer, but they never found time to talk. She used to walk by the company’s old office space on her way to work at CIEE, but she stopped thinking about changing careers.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Michaella was laid off at CIEE and realized a lifelong goal of owning her own floral shop, Dirty Dozen. What started as a side hustle blew up and turned into a full-time business—she did the flowers for 20 weddings her first summer.
“But I was burned out and exhausted living that life, so I started to look for jobs again,” she says. “And I came across another job at Trueline.”
Trueline at the Right Time
Her initial interview with Production Manager Neill Ewing-Wegmann was unlike any other job interview she’d experienced. Michaella says Neill didn’t ask her many questions; instead, he spoke for about an hour about the position.
“He was honest and said the job didn’t come with room for growth and wouldn’t be a steppingstone for another position at Trueline,” she says. “It was perfect, because I just want to put my head down, do my work and be done for the day.”
Michaella started as a production coordinator in August 2021. Her role includes collecting advertisements from vendors, uploading and publishing web stories, and helping out the production team wherever she can. She interacts regularly with the production team and has met Neill, production designers Amy Nimon and Charlie Herbst, and Content Developer Peter Markoe in person.
“I’m looking forward to more local events in Portland where I can meet more of the team,” she says.
When she worked at CIEE, there were a lot of team projects that saw her getting pulled in different directions. In her role at Trueline, Michaella likes that she works under the radar and out of the spotlight—this article notwithstanding.
“This job was exactly what I was looking for, and it has given me the work-life balance I didn’t have before,” Michaella says.
Bonus Facts on Michaella Testa
Did you know? Michaella Testa was born at Maine Medical Center and shares a birthday, September 12, with Sydney Sweeney, Paul Walker, Jesse Owens, Barry White and King Francis I of France.
Who’d play you in a movie? Rashida Jones.
Bucket list: Building a tiny house to live in by the end of 2023.
Greatest achievement so far: Owning and operating a floral business, Dirty Dozen.