Reflection, joy and gratitude as Switchboard joins forces with Earnscliffe Strategies
By Kathleen Reid
January 17, 2023
As befits my Scottish heritage – shout out to Grandma Margaret! – every New Year’s Eve I can remember has culminated with the singing of “Auld Lang Syne.” But when 2022 came to a close, Rabbie Burns’ most famous composition took on new meaning for me.
The “old acquaintances” Burns wrote about have been brought to mind a lot lately, what with Switchboard’s recent acquisition by Earnscliffe Strategies. That’s right: On the eve of its 10th birthday, the company I founded is now providing strategic communications counsel, media relations, media training, issues management, and stakeholder relations services as part of Earnscliffe’s industry-leading offering. My role, meanwhile, is pivoting from Chief Communications Officer to that of Principal and Partner with Earnscliffe, which is headquartered in Ottawa and has offices in Toronto, Saskatoon and Vancouver.
This may sound like a big change, but it will mostly be business-as-usual for Team Switchboard. The most important difference is that we can now leverage Earnscliffe’s world-class experience, expertise and resources to support our clients and our own team. I’ve spent much of the last decade advocating for collaboration and partnership across the tech sector, and using those powerful tools to scale Switchboard is an unmissable opportunity. From my own career and the careers of my colleagues to what we will deliver for Earnscliffe and our clients, I’m certain Switchboard’s new partnership will lead to wins across the board. I would not have made the deal if I had any doubts about this, and negotiated purposefully and intentionally around creating benefits for all the parties involved.
As well as giving clients of both companies access to more services, resources, and talented team members, the partnership highlights the shared values and entrepreneurial spirit that has enabled both to exceed expectations and surpass goals. As Western Canada’s first tech-focused PR firm, Switchboard serves emerging, fast-scaling and publicly-traded clients in technology and innovation ecosystems spanning cleantech, life sciences/biotech, quantum computing, agtech, fintech, and SAAS (software-as-a-service solutions).
As someone who works closely with many of Canada’s top innovators, I have some idea of how much hard work goes into developing solutions that make the world a better place. That’s a big part of what motivates the Switchboard team to ensure that the incredible stories behind those solutions, filled as they are with dedication, passion, perseverance and courage, get the attention they deserve. To learn more about what we do, visit switchboardpr.com or email [email protected].
Strategic comms tend to focus on positive messaging, and purposefully overlook the grittier moments or the mistakes that push teams, Switchboard’s included, to create stronger, better organizations. I know that many of our most joyous team moments have come in the midst of gruelling hard work and mistakes that provided a depth of experience that made the highs stand out against the lows. Our company fabric is reinforced both by hard lessons and by fresh ideas brought in by new faces. I can’t underscore enough the value that newer people have brought to Switchboard. Their energy, experience and insights have always fuelled our growth, and I fully expect this to accelerate with Earnscliffe as a partner.
As Switchboard merges with Earnscliffe and scales its services across North America, it’s important that we take a moment to reflect on what we’ve done so far, and give thanks to those who have made it possible. Without people like Zdenka Buric, Megan Halkett, Kevin Sandhu, Marcia Smith, Bill Tam, and Jill Tipping, for example, Switchboard wouldn’t have the strength it does today. The same goes for my amazingly entrepreneurial family. I count your support among my joys.
We’re proud to be part of Canada’s tech sector. Working across the country, we see how tech communities come together in each province to build up the country’s innovation economy, and we count ourselves lucky to be a part of that nation-building. For our clients, this means Switchboard can continue to build on its tech-based knowledge and provide even better community intelligence now that we have boots on the ground not just in Western Canada, but with the support of Earnscliffe, from sea to shining sea.
About Kathleen Reid
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.