A company is only as good as its people. Lucky for us, we’ve got some great ones. Our crew has expertise ranging from media relations to copywriting to event planning. Meet the team below.
Founder and Principal
Kathleen is blazing a trail in a sector that values trailblazing above all else since. Since founding Vancouver’s first tech-focused PR and strategic communications firm, the “Forty Under 40” award winner has gone on to build a diverse roster of clients spanning continents and growth stages. Switchboard helps multinationals to join and support the Canadian tech ecosystem; leverages strategic communications to help SMEs collaborate, grow and scale; assists startups in making names for themselves; and champions innovation at all levels of government. As a business leader and as a new mom with low vision, Kathleen relies on assistive tech in her personal and professional life. No wonder her passion for innovation as a tool for good is so profound.
Kiki Cloutier brings more than 13 years’ experience in strategic communications and consulting to the Earnscliffe Strategies team. She most recently held the position of Interim Executive Director of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and works with clients to identify their goals and objectives and creates strategies that are creative, effective and deliver long-term success. Kiki is a highly focused individual, and thrives on aligning client needs with business opportunities. She is known for her solid leadership, strategy and counsel as well her solutions-based approach. In September 2020, she was the recipient of the CPRS Lamp of Service Award for her dedication and leadership in the advancement of the Society, and the public relations and communications management industry in Canada. Kiki holds a certificate in Event Management from Toronto Metropolitan University and is a Member of the Canadian Public Relations Society.
Director of Strategic Communications
A dedicated mover and shaker, Blakelee spent more than a decade shaking up the worlds of marketing, communications and media relations before making the move to Switchboard. This energetic Tennessean thrives on forging productive partnerships between brands, companies and media, with household names such as ABC, NBC, CNN, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times covering the many unique campaigns she has spearheaded. When Blakelee’s not working she’s globetrotting with her husband, hanging out with family and friends, and entertaining the fluffiest cat on the planet. And in the background, there’s always music playing.
Fractional Director of Finance
Amy holds certifications in Accounting and QuickBooks, with a background in Business and Retail Management. Her attention to detail, analytical skills, and motivation allow her to prioritise client needs, and meeting tight deadlines is one of her favourite parts of her job. Amy balances these deadlines and various client needs by staying organized. You can always count on her to have the best day-planner and note-taking skills. When Amy isn’t working, she’s spending time with her children who keep her busy. You can also find her and her family camping at various sites across British Columbia.
Mélanie Richer is a Strategic Communications Senior Consultant at Earnscliffe Strategies. With eight years of experience in federal and provincial politics, Mélanie specializes in strategic communications, crisis management, media relations and training. Prior to joining Earnscliffe, Mélanie worked as the director of communications and media for a federal opposition party and leader. She led communication and media relations strategies, worked with the leader and spokespeople to persuasively communicate with media, and acted as the primary crisis management lead. She has served as the communications and media lead on tour for political leaders in federal and provincial elections. Mélanie leverages her experience in understanding communication and media challenges by working on a solution that is tailored for each client, to help them better communicate and quickly solve problems. Mélanie earned an Honours Bachelor of Communications – Public Relations from the University of Ottawa and is a graduate of the Public Relations program at Algonquin College.
Jen earned a Design Management Certificate from Emily Carr University and BCIT. Jen is Switchboard’s resident designer and project manager. She’s got mad Photoshop skills and knows her way around a GANTT chart. Jen is currently the Communications Chair for the Graphic Designer’s Association of Canada.
An avid globetrotter who explored more than 30 countries before turning 30, Leann ticked the United States off her list when she earned a BA in Advertising-Public Relations at the University of Central Florida in 2013. After starting her PR career stateside, Leann returned home to Vancouver to continue her career with a focus on event management. In her spare time, she is part of the Vancouver Startup Week team, collaborating closely with the local tech community and developing relationships along the way. One such relationship, with Switchboard PR, exposed Leann to the many compelling stories within the B.C. tech ecosystem, which she is excited to share and bring to life.
Isha Chaudhuri is a Consultant on the Strategic Communications team. She supports clients by providing advice, project management and excellent service across multiple sectors. Isha helps organizations achieve their objectives by mobilizing the right audiences to create change. Prior to joining Earnscliffe, Isha worked at a global public relations agency. She supported award-winning integrated public affairs campaigns across the health care, technology, non-profit, and financial services sectors. Isha also interned at a boutique public affairs agency and TD Bank’s Enterprise Data & Analytics department. While completing her studies, she was an Entrepreneurship Communications and Events Assistant at her university. Isha holds an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and American Studies from the University of Toronto. She was named a Young Director with Fora: Network for Change’s Girls on Boards program in the 2022-2023 Cohort.
Manan is a Consultant with Earnscliffe’s national Strategic Communications team, bringing demonstrated marketing, graphic design, brand development, research and organizational experience. Prior to joining Earnscliffe, Manan worked as a Marketing and Communications Associate with The Health Employers Association of BC, where his legacy with content creation, print/digital campaigns, data analytics, and web development continues to live on and make an impact in the public health recruitment and retention efforts of the Province. There, he worked with stakeholders at various levels of the organization and government and promptly adapted to dynamic environments. He thrives on collaboration and creativity and strives to deliver high-quality work that empowers and helps build trust in brands. Manan holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Psychology from McGill University and has continued to fuel his appetite for learning through courses in Communication Design, Industrial Design and Architecture at Emily Carr University. With his interdisciplinary solutions-based approach and international experience, Manan brings diverse perspectives that uniquely position him to understand and navigate complex challenges with ease. He supports the community by volunteering his time and skills to help emerging non-profits and small businesses integrate and compete in the digital world.
While setting varsity basketball records at Capilano University, Denver learned that teamwork yields the sweetest victories. This crucial lesson has continued to serve him very well since then, with clients such as the BC Tech Association and Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster benefiting from Denver’s unique expertise in event management and experiential marketing. Having recently pivoted to public relations, the born-and-bred Vancouverite is passionate about accelerating his home province’s tech momentum by learning from its leading innovators – many of whom are Switchboard clients – and emulating their hard work and dedication.
While majoring in Communications and Media Studies at Carleton University, Alexandra’s years with the women’s varsity hockey squad taught her to perform under pressure as an individual and as a team member. These skills were then put to good use in Toronto, where Alexandra completed her postgraduate studies in Sport & Event Marketing at George Brown College before interning at Jive Public Relations. As an early-riser who is driven to make a difference in the world, Alexandra is a perfect fit for Switchboard.
Executive Assistant to the Founder & Communications Assistant
While studying Media Information and Technoculture at Western, this energetic foodie was focused on accelerating the world’s sustainable energy transition as an executive with the university’s Student Energy chapter. Having joined the Switchboard Team, Rachel is using her tech-oriented background, top-notch organizational skills, and background in social media management and content creation to support Canada’s first tech-focused strategic communications firm. Comfortable and confident in fast-paced environments at work and at leisure, Rachel’s out-of-office hours are spent exploring nature with her dog Harvey, dining on Italian food with friends, or attempting a DIY project found on Pinterest.