Shinola Leading Ladies: Vice President of Communications Trish O’Callaghan

BY Taylor Rebhan

Trish O’Callaghan, Shinola’s Vice President of Communications, often starts her weekdays before sunrise with a SoulCycle class. As someone who strives to use every moment of every day to the fullest, this early bird considers juggling work with family while also living in New York City one of her proudest achievements. She landed here at Shinola after a few global moves and over 20 years of strategic prowess in the marketing and communications world. 

Hailing from the green hills of Cork, Ireland, Trish attended University College Cork. It was common for people in her hometown to move away and work internationally, so after graduation she packed her bags and moved to Australia. 

“I couldn’t stand the rain,” she laughs. “I wanted to live somewhere warm, and I wanted to travel.” 

Her first few jobs involved teaching adults and teenagers English. She spent a year working in Australia teaching students from Southeast Asia and Switzerland. This experience led her to move and teach in Southeast Asia, London and Switzerland. 

Trish hadn’t found the city she wanted to call home until she ventured to the states. “I came to New York to visit my brother in the 90s and never left,” she says. “I went back to school at night and studied communications.”


Trish walks the Detroit leather factory floor and listens to leather artisan Clint Jackson as he shows her what he’s working on.

Using connections she made in Switzerland, Trish utilized her new degree and began working for watch company Swatch as the PR coordinator. Over the course of eight years she worked her way up to become Director of Public Relations of Swatch Group and the Swatch Collectors Club. 

“I liked my time at Swatch because it was more than just a watch company,” she says. “It was more like a lifestyle company. They worked with many world-renowned athletes and artists, and I got to travel a lot.”


After Swatch Group, she felt compelled to do something more cause-related. “I was recruited by an agency that had just won the anti-tobacco campaign called, Truth,” she says. “We worked to reduce teen smoking rates.”

After the birth of her second child, she decided to work as a freelance consultant. She continued to work with Truth, and clients like Sir Richard Branson from Virgin, and fashion brand Daryl K. “I thought I was going to work as a consultant for the rest of my life,” she says.

In 2012, she crossed paths with the Shinola team and was excited about what they were doing and wanted to be a part of it. 

“I was in the Bedrock New York office because I had been working with Bridget Russo (Shinola’s CMO) on a few projects — I popped in to say hello to her, and I ran into Tom (Shinola’s Founder),” she says. “He told me what they were working on, and I told him I had experience in the watch world, so he showed me the selection of watches being made at that time, this was the early days…then he said something like, ‘Why don’t you come work for us?'”


Today, Trish runs every facet of the communications team at Shinola and other Bedrock Manufacturing Brands like Filson. She’s known for her great sense of humor and remaining calm, cool and collected under pressure.

She regularly visits Shinola’s Detroit headquarters and welcomes others to check out the factory for themselves. “I tell everybody to come visit because you can’t really comment on something that you haven’t seen up close,” she says. “I think it’s really hard to understand what the brand’s doing until you experience it firsthand.”

Learn more about Trish in the interview below.

How would you describe your work environment and management style?

Our New York office is in a six-floor brownstone, and the PR team sits together on one-half of one floor. There are about six desks in that area, so we all sit very close together, and it’s open seating like it is in Detroit. We don’t have any cubicles or walls up. We have a little lounge area in the middle, so it almost feel like it’s a little family. We all really know what everybody else is working on because we sit so closely together.

We have a really great rapport, and I think everybody has a great sense of humor, so we laugh a lot during the day. I think that’s really important in your job to enjoy what you’re doing. I think we’re a great team and work well together. We help each other out a lot because if somebody’s rushing to get something done, then people will volunteer to put their hands up and to help out.

I’m definitely not a micro-manager. I like to be there to give people direction but don’t want to be right over their shoulder or conflict their style. I always encourage people to contribute in other areas that might be outside of their job description.


Trish in a presentation with Daniel Caudill, Shinola’s Creative Director (right) and Heath Carr, Shinola’s COO (left).

What is your favorite part about working for Shinola?

I love being a part of the movement of bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. and creating jobs. It’s really meaningful to me that we’re making a difference. I also love that everybody I work with is really passionate about what they do, and it really is infectious. I feel that from everybody from the top down is so gung-ho about what we’re doing and moving forward, overcoming obstacles. That energy is amazing, and I’m excited to come to work every day.

Earned media is a very important focus for the company as our advertising budgets are not as high as our competitors, so the team works hard on garnering press coverage on both a national and regional level. It’s been rewarding that we’ve managed to continue to build and maintain interest in the brand — people are genuinely interested in Shinola and excited to hear our news. I do media training with the factory workers for press interviews — it’s so rewarding to see them share their stories and be featured on national and regional outlets. 

Another thing I enjoy is that I continue to learn on the job. Because of the brand’s elasticity and product category expansion, I continue to learn about new product categories from audio to the hotel industry. There’s never a dull moment. 


Trish laughs with Daniel Caudill, Shinola’s Creative Director at our Detroit headquarters.

What are your passions outside of work?

I’m pretty athletic and workout at 6 a.m. most weekdays. On the weekends, I escape to my place in the Catskills, which is about 100 miles northwest of New York. I enjoy the outdoors and when I’m there, I do a lot of fishing, bike riding, and hiking. I grew up sailing in Ireland, and whenever I get the chance to sail I do, but it’s never enough. I spend time with my kids, who are ten and eight years old, as much as I can — my family is the love of my life.

This interview is part of a new series highlighting leading women at Shinola. Find more stories, here.

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