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Meg O’Leary cashes out of PR firm to rejoin startup life

Chris Morris for The Boston Globe

Meg O’Leary is leaving the PR firm InkHouse to join a Brooklyn-based startup.

By Globe Staff  

Meg O’Leary helped build InkHouse from a small business into one of the region’s biggest PR firms within a decade.

But she never lost the itch to work for another startup. She’ll get that opportunity by signing on with the Brooklyn, N.Y., cybersecurity firm Capsule8 as its chief marketing officer. She has been consulting for them since the spring and says she became a full-time employee in the last few weeks.

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O’Leary’s path to Capsule8 is at least two years in the making. She sold her stake in InkHouse to partner and cofounder Beth Monaghan in the fall of 2015, but remained on a consulting basis through much of last year.

She finally left to weigh her career options.

“My passion is in starting companies,” O’Leary says. “I was really proud of what InkHouse grew to. [But] I kind of had an ache to do the startup thing again.”

O’Leary will stay in this region and hopes to open a Boston office for Capsule8. The 25-person firm is led by CEO John Viega and funded by Bessemer Venture Partners. She convinced a former boss at RSA Security, Art Coviello, to join her at Capsule8. He recently invested in Capsule8 and became a board member.

So what is it about startups that O’Leary finds so enticing?

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“I like starting with a blank slate, from a marketing perspective, defining what the company is about, figuring who the customer is, carving out that market space that didn’t exist before,” she says.

O’Leary got plenty of practice working with startups within Charles River Ventures’ portfolio during the early 2000s. It was there that she developed a rapport with Monaghan, who also worked at CRV at the time. Several years later, they decided to launch InkHouse, in 2007.

“We started InkHouse on the basis that social media was going to be a big part of the way public relations is done,” O’Leary says. “Now it might be conventional, but it definitely was a new idea at the time.”

JON CHESTO

Just two big jobs? How about a third

It’s not as if Bob Reynolds isn’t busy enough as the chief executive of two major financial services firms, Putnam Investments and Great-West Financial. He’s also expected to become chairman of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership,a lobbying group consisting of top CEOs in town.

Now he’s got a book to hype, as well.

McGraw-Hill is releasing the book, “From Here to Security,” this week. The Boston-based executive trekked to Manhattan for a retirement policy forum on Monday, to kick off the promotional effort.

Reynolds hopes to use the book to highlight federal legislation and other policies that encourage more workers to save for retirement.

The book took him about 18 months to write, but it’s based on about 30 years of professional experience.

Among other changes, Reynolds would like to see steps taken to make the Social Security system solvent.

He also supports making enrollment in retirement plans as automatic as possible, through payroll deductions.

And he’d like to see retirement plans — 401(k)s and the like — extended to contract workers in the “gig economy” who don’t have employer-sponsored plans.

“I don’t think we are at a crisis,” Reynolds says. “To me, it’s more of an opportunity to make it even better.”

JON CHESTO

From publishing to real estate

Can experience as a magazine publisher be transferred to real estate?

Michael Carucci sure hopes so. His new top lieutenant at Carucci Group, a division of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty that focuses on luxury homes, is Glen Kelley, former publisher of Boston Common Magazine.

Kelley just started as president of Carucci. Michael Carucci is the chief executive, while the entire Gibson Sotheby’s operation is overseen by Larry Rideout, the firm’s chairman.

Kelley brings sales skills — and a deep Rolodex with many of the city’s wealthiest residents. Kelley and Carucci are longtime friends. Now, they’ll work together, too, at the Gibson Sotheby’s office on Dartmouth Street in the Back Bay.

“It’s a simple theory that we can transition the relationships he developed over the years as publisher of Boston Common Magazine into the real estate world,” Carucci says.

JON CHESTO


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