Anjie Cayot – President, Keyot

After watching the same problems hinder success at consulting firms where they worked, sisters Anjie Cayot and Laura Kelly launched Keyot in 2008. The firm has two goals: to rent leaders to companies to spearhead projects, and to train the next generation of emerging talent. Keyot co-founder and president Anjie Cayot focuses on finding the right person to get the job done.

MN BIZ: Why are you unique?

CAYOT: We follow a servant leadership mentality. Whatever a project needs to get done, we’re not afraid to dive in and do that. You’ll find other firms have project leaders that are very hands off. Our philosophy is all about diving in and
supporting the project team whenever it’s needed.

MN BIZ: How do you innovate?

CAYOT: Here’s an example. We’re working with Merrill Corporation, a company going through a huge transformation. My team is dispersed within three silos there. Every other week I bring my team together for breakfast. Each person gives a two-sentence update on how they’re doing. The first three months we met, everybody brought one concern they had for the organization. After the first three months, we switched to sharing one positive. That cross section of people allows me to give the client a view from within their organization, but it also allows my teammates to help one another. We’re sharing expertise we learn across those different groups and that’s invaluable.

MN BIZ: What makes that innovative?

CAYOT: Most consulting companies drop their people off at the door and say, “Call me if you have a problem.” There is no groupthink going on. Traditionally an account manager wouldn’t spend the non-billable time to get the team together. Keyot does it because we are a delivery-led organization.

MN BIZ: Why did you launch Crew 212, where you train college graduates?

CAYOT: I started off my career in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, when management training programs were huge and companies invested a lot of money to train and mentor people. That doesn’t exist anymore. It’s sad because I was able to learn about who I wanted to be as a professional from some of the best leaders in the country. Mentoring is key. You can learn just as much from watching a bad leader as watching a good leader if you facilitate learning opportunities. That’s what we try to provide in our Crew 212 program.

MN BIZ: Any advice on mentoring?

CAYOT: A previous boss told me once that your mentor may not be above you. Instead, your mentor may be beside you. Don’t always look for your mentor or the person who is going to help you grow to be above you.

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