21 Things That Made Us Smile in 2021

Posted on December 20, 2021

By Robin Bulanti and Julie Tangen

This year had its share of ups and downs, but there were also many things to be thankful for. 2021 was a welcome change from 2020 and gave us hope for the future. And while we’re still navigating challenges as we make our way out of the pandemic, there are some silver linings we can’t overlook. 

Here are 21 things that made us smile in 2021:

1. We bought Offleash from Founder Joanna Kulesa after having worked in and on the business for the last two decades.

2. It was a successful year for Offleash by all accounts—one of our best yet!

3. We strengthened our advisory board to include: 

• Veteran tech journalist Chris Preimesberger as media advisor 

• Dennis Totah as acting head of finance

• Joanna Kulesa as strategic agency advisor

4. We brought on 12 new clients this year: MinIO, Apiiro, Detectify, Kandji, Quali, Shoreline.io, ClickUp, CodeSee, Incorta, TaskHuman, Coalesce, and SADA.

5. And celebrated two fresh IPOs for Paycor and UserTesting!

6. Our team grew by 7 PR pros this year as we welcomed Kelly Hall, Jason Kokkat, Scott Lechner, Erica Anderson, Bianca Robles, Liz Chapa, and Mikaela Bautista.

7. The Offleash team is now represented in 7 states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawai’i, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington.

8. There were many memorable team-building moments despite the physical distance between us. We had a blast taking to Zoom for happy hours, a mixology class, and professional trainings. And we can’t wait to reunite in person at our 2022 offsite!

9. Who doesn’t love babies? VP Tanya Carlsson welcomed Mathias in April (pictured below in his Offleash swag) and Partner Julie Tangen has a new grandbaby on the way.

10. We invested further in our commitment to DEI by supporting PRSA’s Diversity Multicultural Scholarship and participating in a workshop with Graci Harkema on “Embracing Diversity, Overcoming Bias, and Rising in Inclusion.”

11. Our philanthropic arm, OffleashCARES, contributed to several causes that are important to us including:

Second Harvest Foodbank of Silicon Valley 

Autism Speaks

Stop AAPI Hate

The Presidio Trust and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

12. Industry events made a comeback, with clients like ClickUp, Grafana, Postman, Sumo Logic, and TigerGraph hosting user conferences this year. We also witnessed an exciting shift toward hybrid events!

13. The investment and M&A climates are healthier than ever. Global VC funding for Q3 hit $160 billion for an increase of 78 percent year-over-year, and the M&A market is projected to reach a record $6 trillion by the year’s end. Our clients that received funding this year include ClickUp, Grafana, Kandji, Solo.io, TaskHuman, and TigerGraph. And our client HVR was acquired by Fivetran! 

14. Employee well-being became a stronger focus for businesses: One report found that budgets for well-being programs have increased 22 percent since last year. Our client TaskHuman is at the forefront of this shift by making health and wellness resources more accessible for everyone.

15. We saw the return of concerts! Julie Tangen and Joanna Kulesa, Offleash partner and founder respectively, took advantage by dancing their hearts out at Dead & Company shows at Wrigley Field and The Hollywood Bowl.

16. The COVID-19 vaccine enabled more people to travel and see their loved ones again with less worry.

17. Professional, high school, college, and club sports brought fans back to courts, stadiums, and fields! Sports really do bring people together in a unique and powerful way. 

18. Speaking of athletics…the Tokyo 2020 Games took place at last this summer, bringing the world together for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. 

19. The first female and Black Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, made history when she was elected into office.

20. The U.S. made Juneteenth National Independence Day a federal holiday.

21. In more global good news, the U.S. rejoined the Paris Climate Accord and the WHO.

We’re feeling grateful for another successful year in which we’ve had many opportunities to learn, laugh, and grow together. We are excited to see what 2022 holds, but until then, the entire Offleash team would like to wish our clients and friends a happy holiday season full of smiles.