Switchboard PR founder Kathleen Reid announces sale of ‘original baby’ to national firm Earnscliffe Strategies

The Switchboard brand will remain, with a continued focus on tech and innovation.

Switchboard PR

Credit: Switchboard PR

The Switchboard brand will remain, with a continued focus on tech and innovation

Kathleen Reid caught the entrepreneurial bug early. She claims to always have been “that kid”: the one who had a babysitting club, did the lemonade stand and shovelled walks on snow days. Now, after nine years as the founder and chief communications officer of Vancouver’s Switchboard PR, she’s just negotiated the sale of her agency to Ottawa-based consulting firm, Earnscliffe Strategies—while seven months pregnant. 

“You know how a lot of people say, Don’t tell anyone if you’re pregnant in those first three months? I was thinking to myself, I kind of have to, right?” Reid recalls from those early conversations in 2022.

Navigating the acquisition came with a whole new set of challenges, as Reid was dealing with a complicated pregnancy and was advised against traveling for the first few months. “And then when I went to Ottawa to meet a bunch of the team in December, I actually got food poisoning,” she says.

Running in and out of meetings, Reid handled the responsibilities with the dexterity of an expert juggler. She chalks it up to “the joys of being pregnant and working on something big”—the big thing being the sale of what she calls her “original baby.”

In breaking the news of the acquisition to her family, she actually described it as the bittersweet feeling of a child leaving the nest for college. “We’ve had acquisition opportunities in the past, but cultural fit never felt like it was right. And on this one, the cultural fit, it felt like it was there,” Reid maintains. 

It was a long process to get here, as the two agencies have been in liaison for a year. Reid closed the deal on January 1, 2023, just a few weeks shy of welcoming a second child into the family. She will continue to serve as partner in principal at Earnscliffe (after a short parental leave) and is excited for the added support in helping the Switchboard brand grow. 

“The Switchboard team is known for first-class execution and a savvy understanding of the technology ecosystem. The addition of Switchboard enables Earnscliffe to strengthen our marketplace position, expand our solution offerings, and accelerate our growth,” said Earnscliffe CEO Craig Robinson in a release.