Carolyn McMaster | February 7, 2022
It’s official: I’m retiring from Thinkshift.
I’m still a bit surprised by it, even though it’s been in the making for a while. Mostly I’m both excited and sad.
The excitement comes from writing my next chapter. Right now the outline is sketchy. (COVID doesn’t help.) I know I’ll be spending a lot more time outdoors, going to concerts, seeing art, and traveling (next up: Tunisia). I’ll also be figuring out where I want to live. (Santa Fe? Minneapolis? Stay put?) I’m fortunate to have lots of choices and no schedule.
There’s sadness because I’m leaving a career that I’ve loved, working with people and organizations I care deeply about. It’s been a joy and a privilege to wake up every day and help clients working for a better world. The work was energizing and kept me going through the dark times.
I’ll miss the creativity, the collaboration, and the excitement of new campaigns, among other things. I won’t miss the deadlines or the 24/7 worry that comes with PR, but I’ll always be a news junkie.
Storming the Capitol, advancing B Corps
My Thinkshift highlights reel includes getting up before dawn to take the train to Sacramento, where Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard led us and a dozen other B Corps in storming the Secretary of State’s office as we became one of California’s first benefit corporations.
It also includes being part of the B Corp movement as it grew from 300+ B Certified companies to over 4,000. In co-leading Thinkshift and working with clients in areas like impact investing, renewable energy, alternative transportation, energy efficiency, the circular economy and sustainable seafood, I’ve been in the vanguard of the sustainable business movement and helped advance organizations that seek a just, equitable and climate-friendly world. It’s been an honor.
I’m deeply grateful to the many amazing people who have given me their support and wisdom along the way. I can’t list them all, but I want to single out my business partner, Sandra Stewart. We started working as a team 20 years ago after hatching our first business over cocktails. We built two businesses and learned, squabbled, celebrated and grew together—and we’re still good friends. (She can still outdrink me, too; admittedly not a high bar.)
I know Sandra and the team will keep improving Thinkshift and going above and beyond for our clients.
Retiring from Thinkshift doesn’t mean I’m bowing out completely. I plan to do some consulting and will serve on Thinkshift’s board of directors for the next three years. That will bring us to Thinkshift’s 15th anniversary—and I can’t wait to see it.