While others were mastering sourdough bread and just trying to survive the pandemic, Kathy Sevigny negotiated with the founder of Altos, where she worked for a decade, to buy the digital marketing firm and became CEO.
“It was a great challenge,” says Sevigny of acquiring a business during the pandemic. While she and her team had to make difficult decisions on what to cut during the leaner pandemic years, Sevigny decided she was not cutting staff, knowing she would need them when business returned. It has returned, and the firm is again hiring.
Sevigny made the decision to pivot away from product development to focus on creating custom web experiences for clients. “It was a big decision. We had a pipeline we had to fill with new work, and we have been successful at doing that. It took confidence and faith. It was not without a few sleepless nights, but sometimes that’s what it takes to move forward,” Sevigny says.
She compares the first two years of the pandemic to being a firefighter, constantly putting out fires. “It was very reactive for two years,” Sevigny says, but now she feels she has entered a stage that is more akin to farming. “I and my leadership team have been planting seeds for the future, and it’s been a calmer, more proactive environment for us to run our business.”
Altos, based in Bedford with a dozen employees, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. The firm was founded by Tony Matos, who Sevigny met through a mutual business acquaintance, and in 2012, she joined his team as director of client development. By 2016, Matos asked Sevigny to become a partner. When COVID hit in 2020, Matos knew he was ready to retire and sold the company to Sevigny in December.
It is the latest chapter in her marketing career, which started at a NH ad agency and then 13 years with a national firm helping with brand initiatives for malls across the country. “I knew since fifth grade I wanted to be in marketing and advertising,” she says, after an advertising executive visited her class.