Our clients fight for justice, speak truth to power, champion all voices and spread joy. We are a team of creative experts united in working for change. We partner with our clients to develop powerful brands built on strategy. We tell compelling stories in a voice that connects. We design thoughtful tools to activate, invite and inspire.

Whether your goal is to attract clients or supporters, raise awareness or money, shape the debate or delight, agitate or inspire, we’ll help you communicate what’s at the heart of your brand.

What makes you different? Let’s figure it out!

Kristen Hughes

Creative Director / Co-Founder

Kristen has over 25 years of experience in creative direction and brand development. She is a multi-disciplinary designer covering brand identity,  animation, website, interiors, exteriors and environmental experiences. She has directed for film, video and podcasts. A long time ago, Kristen studied fine art and journalism. She incorporates all those skills to this day. She was raised by two radically optimistic radicals. She’s the oldest of six and acts accordingly. She lives in Boston with her husband and their two sons.

Robert Hamilton

Creative Director / Co-Founder

Robert has more than 30 years’ experience as Creative Director, Art Director and Designer. He has wide-ranging know-how, designing branding and identity systems, environmental experiences, packaging, print and websites. He has directed short films and video and is compulsive taker of photographs. He believes that every project is an opportunity to make something truly great.


Shaun Adamec

Brand Strategy + Voice / Partner

Shaun Adamec consults with mission-driven organizations of all sizes to help them find their voice. Shaun is an experienced writer and storyteller, helping to develop narrative, voice, tone and messaging for some of the nation’s most noteworthy nonprofit brands, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the American Red Cross, and City Year, as well as local and regional organizations like the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, and the animal rescue league of Boston. Shaun has also directed the communications strategies for political campaigns and elected officials. Shaun holds a BA in Political Science from Providence College and an MA in Government and Political Communications from The Johns Hopkins University. He lives with his wife and three small children outside Boston. He is the founder of Adamec Communications.


Craig Bida

Brand Strategy + Activation / Partner

An idealist with a practical side, Craig is a brand strategist, storyteller, and multi-sector expert. He helps brands and organizations create simultaneous social and economic value by engaging stakeholders around critical societal issues. Craig has deep expertise leveraging corporate social responsibility (CSR), strategic philanthropy, and public-private partnerships to create competitive advantage. Craig worked as a marketing executive at P&G for +11 years, was formerly EVP of CSR/Social Impact at Cone Communications, and has served as strategic advisor to a range of clients including Disney, FedEx, Hilton, Keds, Sperry, Kenneth Cole, Luxottica, Whirlpool, the National Park Service, Sierra Club, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and the USO. He currently serves as an Executive in Residence and a Senior Fellow in Social Innovation at Babson College.

Susie Blair

Producer & Project Manager

As Project Manager, Susie manages workflow, sets project goals, and generally ensures that our clients have a smooth, enjoyable, collaborative experience with the Hairpin team. She has previously worked in web and radio journalism as a writer and producer. More recently, she has worked in academia as a research manager. Susie holds a BA in Journalism from Northeastern University.


Erin Bloom

Director of Success / Partner

As Director of Success, Erin spends her time building relationships with our clients; strategizing ways to bring brand strategy to life; and developing tools for our clients to ensure they’re set up to implement and sustain the work. She’ll often be your first point of contact and keeps projects on track and trains on time. Erin has a BA in Communication Studies from The College of New Jersey and an MA in Health Communication from Emerson College. She lives in Cambridge with her husband, daughter and doggo Alvin. She is weirdly talented at horror make-up.

Brendan Hughes

Creative Director / Editorial & Animation / Partner

Brendan is a director, editor and animator who began his career in the theater. He credits running three theater companies, directing somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred productions, and attending the Yale School of Drama for developing his skills as a storyteller particularly attuned to audience reaction. In addition to his Hairpin duties, he is Assistant Professor of the Practice for the theatre departments of Occidental College and Santa Monica College, teaching acting and directing.  Prior to Hairpin he was a Local 800 Head Graphics Operator and graphics producer for a major television network for over three years. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son Oscar.

Noah Kuhn

Web Developer

Noah is an experienced website developer, working in WordPress, ExpressionEngine, HTML5, CSS3, PHP, MySQL and more. He is the sole proprietor of  Pilotmade. When he’s not building intuitive, elegant, fast loading sites, he is taking photos. He studied at Boston College. He lives in Amherst, MA with his family.


Gibrán Rivera

Gibrán Rivera

Brand, Identity & Intention Strategy / Partner

Gibrán Rivera is a teacher, master facilitator and network theory expert. He uses these skills to help transform organizations and teams. By building clarity of intention teams create the necessary alignment needed to move forward together. Gibrán has spent years creating space for  powerful networks to bloom. He works with leadership teams to develop clarity of cohesions so their aspiration for change are possible. Gibrán helps organizations develop the capacity to work with complexity, a skill of increasing urgency. Through every project Gibrán pays close attention to dynamics of power, equity and inclusion and he has devoted his life to defining better ways of being together in this world.


Ellie Starr

Fundraising Strategist / Partner

Born driven to do her part to “repair the world,” Ellie found her way to professional fundraising through community volunteer leadership. Aligning people and purpose since she can remember, she is a demonstrated builder, fundraiser, leader, listener, communicator, and driver of successful mission-driven teams. Ellie thrives in roles that improve health, education, the environment, and opportunities for everyone everywhere. As a proven fundraising leader in the Greater Boston area for more than 25 years, she has led teams of 15 to 50 who, working with volunteer leadership, have raised over a billion dollars. In March 2020, Ellie launched Starrs Aligned, LLC, working across multiple sectors to share her well-honed skills and experience.


Nick Tetrault

Art Director / Partner

Nick is a digital creator working in video, audio, and photography. After several years of working in direct service as a youth development professional in Boston, Nick has taken his skills in social media and digital content to businesses and nonprofits to help tell their stories through engaging visuals and dynamic audio content. In addition to creating the content, Nick also specializes in content distribution across modern and emerging social platforms to meet audiences where they are already consuming content. From there, Nick works to build that digital audience into a true digital community. As a working artist, Nick also creates original music and sound design for various Hairpin projects. Visit TAETRO to hear his work and see his tutorials.

Emily Topper

Cinematographer / Director of Photography

Emily Topper is a documentary cinematographer. Emily started working in film on the PBS documentary “Gay Bingo” in 1999 where she got a taste of life behind a camera and has been hooked ever since. Her cinematography feature credits include the 2015 Emmy winner for Best Documentary,  “After Tiller,” “Ain’t In it For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm,” “All Fall Down,” “Elemental,” and “Departures,” about a Buddhist priest and his fight against the isolation of mental illness. Emily is currently in production on “Sentinels,” a multi-media production about climate change and adaptation in the Andes in Peru. She was raised in Baltimore, earned a BA from Swarthmore College in Literature, and an MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son. (Emily’s reel)


  • American Association of State Colleges & Universities
  • Barr Foundation
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation
  • Blue Garnet
  • Boston Building Resources
  • Boston Green Ribbon Commission
  • Boston Law Collaborative
  • Boston University
  • Boston Waterfront Partners
  • Brockton Opioid Abuse Prevention
  • Buffalo Tom
  • Cambridge Public Health Department
  • Carole King
  • Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Center for Science in Public Participation
  • City of Cambridge
  • Connecticut College
  • David Brower Center
  • Educause
  • Edvestors
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • The Garrison Institute
  • GMA Foundations
  • Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
  • GreenBlue Institute
  • Guster
  • Harbor Hotel Provincetown
  • Henry P. Kendall Foundation
  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Interaction Institute for Social Change
  • James Taylor
  • John Merck Fund
  • Jumpstart
  • Little Leaf Farms
  • Map Academy
  • Mass IDEAS
  • Middle Mojo
  • MIT Office of Sustainability
  • The Mediation Group
  • Melville Charitable Trust
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • National Alliance to End Sexual Violence
  • National Association for Family, School and Community Engagement
  • National Center for Science Education
  • National Endowment for Democracy
  • National Public Education Support Fund
  • New England Center for Investigative Reporting
  • New England Foundation for the Arts
  • New Tech Network
  • Night Shift Brewing
  • Partnership for the Future of Learning
  • PopTech
  • Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation
  • Road Scholar
  • Rogerson Communities
  • Save the Bay, San Francisco
  • Social Transformation Project
  • Tanya Donelly
  • TDC
  • Tres Gatos Restaurant
  • TUI Travel Education Division
  • United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley
  • World Movement for Democracy
  • Andrew Zolli