Reflections on Retiring from Agency Life

Posted on February 12, 2021

By Joanna Kulesa

I guess today really is the first day of the rest of my life.

After 18 years as the founder and CEO of an agency I’ve loved more than anything except my family (and, OK, maybe the Grateful Dead), I’ve retired from tech PR.

I couldn’t make this change until I was sure nothing at Offleash would change other than the name at the top of the org chart. The agency’s new co-owners and partners, Robin Bulanti and Julie Tangen, have been here from the very beginning and most recently were president and executive vice president, respectively.

In Robin and Julie’s expert hands, Offleash won’t miss a beat in delivering the outstanding client service and attention to employee well-being that have, with all due humility, made us one of the best boutique tech PR agencies on the planet.

I approach retirement with a bittersweet mix of excitement and melancholy. As my 60th birthday nears, I’m jazzed about pursuing my philanthropic passions, seeing live music and traveling, serving as an adviser to Offleash, and simply enjoying life with my husband, Tony.

But it’s also going to be hard. I’m going to deeply miss our 25 employees, whom I love dearly. It’s criminal the fun we have had.

I leave with immense pride in what our team has accomplished. The scores of high-tech B2B companies we’ve helped go public, get acquired, or succeed independently. The high-quality work environment that has earned the agency multiple Best Place To Work awards and one of the highest retention rates in the industry. How we’ve remained as strong as ever during this pandemic.

For most of the agency’s existence, my name was on the door. A few years ago, we changed the name to Offleash to better reflect our values, culture, and aspirations.

We chose the name because “Offleash” seemed to project the qualities that we believe define us: a tireless, unrestrained philosophy in our work helping clients rise above the noise and an unconventionally expansive approach to ensuring our employees can shine as communications pros and individuals.

I feel we’re living up to our name. And I know that under Robin and Julie’s leadership, that will be true for many years to come.

As for me, to borrow from Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, nothin’ left to do but smile, smile, smile.