Rethink adds to leadership in Vancouver

Karen Pearce is now the office's general manager, while Elyse Sanders has been brought on as head of strategy.

Rethink has made two senior hires in its Vancouver office, a move the agency says is responding to ongoing growth in its headcount and client work.

Karen Pearce has been hired as general manager in Vancouver, with Elyse Sanders taking on duties as head of strategy.

Pearce is the former president of McCann West, a role she took on in early 2017. She also brings experience from the leadership team at Taxi, where she spent three years as general manager of Taxi West.

The general manager position is a new one for Rethink in Vancouver, part of a new management structure the agency has been rolling out over the past year.

Sanders was most recently deputy national strategy lead at The&Partnership, an agency she has been with for six years. She will begin with Rethink in November following the conclusion of her parental leave.

Darren Yada, previously managing director, strategy in Vancouver, left the agency in the spring. He is now helping develop To Live For, a plant-based bakery and cafe based in Vancouver and founded by his partner Erin Ireland. Yada had been with the agency for roughly 12 years, taking on his most recent duties in 2017.

But the agency is also staffing up in response to continued momentum in Vancouver. It has increased its mandate with existing clients WestJet and A&W, while also earning new work with Destination Canada and McCain. It will also be sharing other new business in the near future.

In response to the business growth, the agency’s headcount has also been growing, with 115 staff now working in Vancouver. The strategy team, in particular, has nearly doubled in size over the last 12 months, according to Sean McDonald, managing partner and chief strategy officer.

“We have long known that focusing on people will guide our agency; it’s why we will always be independent, it’s why our relationships with clients and Rethinkers are long lasting, and it’s why we have enjoyed the successes we have, together,” he adds. “Karen offers invaluable experience and perspective at a time of tremendous momentum, while Elyse joins as another steward and mentor in Canada’s most successful strategic group.”

In the spring, Rethink promoted three of its planners to co-lead the strategy department in its Toronto office.