By Neal St. Anthony
Star Tribune (Minneapolis).
By late 2007, Laura Kelly, a managing director at national IT consulting-and-staffing firm Genesis10, was done as a road warrior.
The Iowa native, on her second national consulting firm, opened a Des Moines office for New York-based Genesis10, followed by a move in 2003 to open a Twin Cities office. Then it was off to Charlotte, N.C., to build a Genesis office.
Kelly and a Genesis colleague, Chandler Cayot, were temporarily living in Charlotte, as they built a Genesis practice to serve banks and health care firms. Despite a salary-bonus package of $250,000-plus, Kelly felt empty.
“I didn’t like my life,” Kelly recalled telling Cayot. “We were the entrepreneurs who built businesses and teams. Genesis 10 had stopped being a small company. And they needed managers.”
Kelly, who had left a larger firm, Cap Gemini, to join Genesis10 several years earlier, added: “I was tired of being on an airplane all the time and walking into a company office where I didn’t know anybody.”
Cayot agreed. He and Kelly resigned, remaining several months in Charlotte with Genesis10 to complete their work. They flew home to the Twin Cities, just in time for the Great Recession, with designs on starting their own consultancy.
Genesis10 has done just fine without them. And they are happy with progress of their own Oakdale-based business-and-technology consulting business, “Keyot,” a hybrid name of Kelly and Cayot. Keyot was born in Kelly’s Woodbury basement.
Kelly, 51, and Cayot, 46, joined by two female partners, were honored earlier this year for building one of the 50 fastest-growing women-owned businesses by the Women Presidents’ Organization. Keyot expects to gross about $19 million this year from the work of about 115 employees and consultants.
Anjie Cayot, 47, Kelly’s sister and a veteran business analyst and project manager and Cayot’s wife, is a third founder. The fourth partner is Iowa-based Cindy Rockwell, 51, who runs the Des Moines office. She has run her own software company, as well as served as a business-and-technology professional at Wells Fargo and Principal Financial in Iowa.