04.28.2020

Finding Stability and Excitement in Times of Change

Group photo of the ThinkShout team laughing

The world has changed dramatically over the past month, and so too has our little corner of the world.

Today, we have both bittersweet and exciting news to share about leadership changes here at ThinkShout.

We’ll start with the bittersweet:

After six years, our longtime Chief Operating Officer, Alex MacMillan, is moving on from ThinkShout. During her tenure, Alex has touched every aspect of the organization—from sales to finances and project management to account management—and she has improved every single one. By creating systems that make success repeatable and scalable, Alex has laid a very strong foundation, one that ensures ThinkShout’s relative stability through these uncertain times. Beyond those contributions, her dedication, drive, and compassion have been guiding lights over the years. I know that all of us at ThinkShout have been touched by Alex’s care and kindness, and we will miss her expert insights, razor-sharp instincts, and of course, the perfectly-timed pastries she was famous for bringing to the office. Alex has made ThinkShout a place of warmth, celebration, and community. It’s bittersweet to see Alex move on: We know her next venture will be incredible, and we’ll miss her all the same!

Now for the news we’re unequivocally excited to share:

Digital strategy, and all of its connotations, has steadily grown as a core need of our mission-driven clients, and we have long been evolving to best meet that need. Our strategy and creative teams are constantly innovating to ensure that we create compelling, industry-leading digital experiences that help organizations deliver undeniable impact. Each of these platforms are designed to ensure a high level of audience engagement, and are complemented by a vigorous measurement and testing strategy. In other words, we love to feel like we’re making an impact for our clients, but we love even more when our clients have the tools to measure and optimize that impact post-launch. Now more than ever in our digital-only world, these services are in ever higher demand.

This need, along with our growing team, made our long vacant Chief Strategy Officer seat all the more glaring, as we have waited for the right time, and the right person.

The time to fill that seat is now, and that person is definitely Kate Lesniak. Kate’s depth of expertise in digital marketing, audience engagement, political and issue campaigns, and multi-platform media will position ThinkShout to support our clients across a wide range of strategic needs.

Her leadership guided SPLC’s new Hate Map, groundbreaking work with Facing History and Ourselves, and Freedom House’s new digital platform, to share just a few examples of her impact. Kate has also been integral in launching our own digital initiatives meant to engage and inspire our community, including the Weekly Spark and Wonder Lab. If you haven’t already connected with Kate in day to day work, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We know from experience that she loves to talk through possibilities and ideas of any kind.

That said, no idea can be realized without operational masterminds that make any initiative of real size or scale possible.

That’s why we’re so excited to announce that Kaylan Adams, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. Kaylan has deep expertise in people processes and a dedication to equity initiatives, ensuring a committed, cared-for, and talented team. Not only has Kaylan led our recruiting processes, she has led countless improvements in our HR policies, from transparent salary bands to a more objective and supportive review process. Further, Kaylan’s experience as a PMP-certified project manager and her time as Director of Operations prepare her to oversee our financial stability and project resourcing, ensuring that we have a strong foundation for innovation and staffing models to ensure successful projects. Additionally, through her experience with client success initiatives and leadership of our sales process, Kaylan has a deep understanding of the needs of our clients and how we can best meet them. As we begin this new chapter in our story, there is no better leader and expert to guide our way than Kaylan.

In addition to their skills on the job, both Kaylan and Kate are already strong cultural leaders at ThinkShout, bringing skill, compassion, and a contagious energy to every conversation. They also share a commitment to a more just world, fully living those values through their volunteerism and advocacy, and I know they’ll help ensure ThinkShout does the same.

ThinkShout began planning for these transitions long before the world was turned upside down fighting a global pandemic. I never imagined a scenario where the very first week that Kaylan and Kate joined Tauno and me on the executive team, we would spend countless hours and untold energy working through scenarios on how to support the team and plan for a viable future amidst so much uncertainty. I’m not making any predictions, but I’ll take my chances with this group anytime.

Congratulations Kate and Kaylan, and thank you, Alex, for everything.

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