Meet our team, from principals to mentalists

Carolyn McMaster


Carolyn has a knack for digging deep with clients to develop brand positioning and thought leadership strategies while always keeping the big picture in mind—a facility she attributes to her left and right brains competing for attention. It may also have something to do with her multifaceted background in corporate publishing, journalism and activism. Carolyn’s role at Thinkshift includes leading the firm’s work to help build the B Corp movement, and our fellow B Corps inspire her every day. Other inspirations include adventures in wild places and art in all its forms. She loves tequila and a good peaty Scotch, but not at the same time.

Sandra Stewart


Sandra is an ace brand and PR strategist who helps clients tell their stories in ways that hit a nerve—and she makes sure those stories live a long, well-traveled life. She’s also a policy wonk who brings wide-ranging sustainability knowledge to bear in developing communications that are both bold and truthful. Sandra developed her uncanny sense of storytelling as a longtime magazine writer and editor. She loves the high that comes from creative problem-solving and collaborating with smart people to make new initiatives fly. People are surprised to learn she’s a big-time baseball fan, but not so surprised by her enthusiasm for urban exploration and wine bars.

Sarah Grolnic-McClurg, APR

senior associate

Sarah, principal of Pounce PR, is our media relations and social media maven. She’s a pragmatic pro with an unerring sense of what makes the news, honed by more than 15 years’ experience placing stories in a variety of outlets and developing solid relationships with reporters. She’s also an optimist and something of a cheerleader, which makes her the perfect person to energize clients and conduct media relations workshops. She’s into American politics, cooking and wine, and admits to an obsession with skincare products.

Christine O’Connor

pr associate

Christine is a highly adaptable communications specialist who has has worn many hats in her career, working with clients in fields from consumer products to healthcare to progressive politics. She is thrilled to help her Thinkshift clients make the world a better place through corporate issue advocacy and brand storytelling. A transplant from New England, Christine lives in Los Angeles and will consider herself very fortunate if she never has to commute in the snow again. In her spare time, she can usually be found in the kitchen cooking up something delicious or in a comfy chair buried in a good book.

Reed Kirk Rahlmann

namer, copywriter & mentalist

Reed is a veteran namer who has worked with Landor, Metaphor, Addis Group, Brandslinger and the like on names and taglines for services, products and companies in fields including food, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, financial services, high tech, agriculture and toys. He’s also very funny—as a writer and in person. In addition to providing naming, copywriting and creative consulting for Thinkshift and other clients, he walks on glass for tourists at Pier 39, performs mentalist feats as Sebastian Boswell III and gives tours of San Francisco in a convertible MINI Cooper as Small Car, Big Time Tours.

Laura Hilgers


Laura, our ace storyteller, has covered everything from the Slow Food movement to the race to become the oldest guy to summit Everest. She loves taking simple facts and anecdotes and transforming them into rich narratives, and has done so for Marin Magazine, O, Outside, Sunset, Vogue and many other publications. An avid hiker in Marin County, Laura has an appreciation for the environment that resonates with her work for Thinkshift. (She still can’t believe she gets paid to talk to such cool clients and write their stories.) Her other occupations include raising two (almost) grown children and whipping up California-style comfort food. She also has a pretty respectable downward dog.

Leslie T. O’Neill


Leslie is an endlessly curious journalist with extensive experience covering all things technical, writing through Silicon Valley booms and Internet-bubble bursts and following the rise (and sometimes fall) of life-changing technologies. Her favorite part of writing any story is talking to the experts who bring passion, insight and a fresh perspective to the topic. This native Californian is proud of the work her state continues to do to preserve our wilderness and clean our environment. A natural introvert, she recharges by hiking the glorious hills of the East Bay, diving into craft projects and jumping up and down at punk rock shows.

Gail Nelson-Bonebrake

copy editor

Gail, our multitalented copy editor and proofreader, has honed her eagle eye for grammar, spelling, accuracy and style over a long freelance career of editing books, magazines and websites. She is thrilled to support Thinkshift, the storyteller par excellence of forward-thinking organizations that want to make a better world. Gail can’t stop herself from marking up typos in restaurant menus. She volunteers for historical societies and animal welfare organizations in California, plays the banjo, wears nutty vintage hats and loves craft beer. She also does an imitation of the Wicked Witch of the West that scares pretty much anyone who witnesses it.


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