Caleb Goodman explains why Rethink’s growth called for new management model

After two years of strong growth, Rethink has made a number of key senior-level appointments and introduced a new management structure in an effort to keep its momentum going.

In late 2020, agency co-founders Chris Staples, Ian Grais and Tom Shepansky stepped away from the agency’s day-to-day operations, after appointing a five-person leadership team to oversee its three offices: Leia Rogers in Vancouver; Alex Lefebvre in Montreal and, Aaron Starkman, Sean McDonald and Caleb Goodman in Toronto.

Since then, Rethink has been on a roll, adding new brands to its portfolio, awards to its trophy case, and a significant number of staff, including at a new office in New York. “We’ve gotten a lot bigger,” said Goodman, partner and chief operating officer. “We’ve grown 30% this year, and so that means in the last 24 months, we’ve doubled in size.”

Managing that kind of growth required changes to the management team in order to hold onto the quickly expanding roster of high-potential talent driving the business, he said.

“How do we scale this? Because our previous model—although great and got us to where we were—we knew wasn’t going to serve us for, say, the next 10 years,” said Goodman.

Recent leadership changes include naming five new partners—Falguni Patel, Julian Morgan, Zachary Bautista, Caroline Friesen, and Robby Percy—taking the total to 22. It also made two key promotions: executive creative director Mike Dubrick is now CCO in Toronto, while Xavier Blais has been promoted from creative director, to executive creative director of Montreal.

Structurally, Rethink is introducing management teams in each of its four offices, with as many as eight people on each team to represent the agency’s core disciplines: Account management, strategy, creative, design, production, PR, people, and traffic.

The agency has also introduced new tiers to each of the disciplines aimed at providing more opportunity for people to grow and progress within the agency, said Goodman. “At the earlier version of Rethink, there was only one path—you ascend to a certain point, and then if the opportunity presented itself, you might be invited to be a partner,” he said.

With the new structure in place, Rethink also appointed Loretta Lau and Michelle Spivak as group creative leads, while Amanda Dornan, Amy Greenspoon, Melissa Tobenstein, and Sarah Reidlinger were named group business leads on the account team.

“Now if you are one of the almost 350 people at Rethink, there are lots of growth opportunities within the agency, versus kind of a singular goal,” said Goodman.

David Brown