After fifteen years, Catalyst co-founder, Heather Frahm, has decided to resign and spend more time with her family. Before her departure, I wanted to sit down with her to discuss her decision and future plans.
How difficult was this decision?
This was a very emotional and difficult decision, after all Catalyst was my first baby. In the end, it seems like this is the best decision for me. I am looking forward to spending more time with my second and third babies, my kids, Lizzi and Will. And of course my fourth baby, my husband Bill.
What will you miss the most?
The people. I will miss current and past Catalyst employees, many of them taught me about Search marketing, team building and even Canonical tags. I will miss our clients. I have been fortunate enough to be exposed to many people who taught me how to be disciplined, strategic and most importantly patient. I started this company with innovation and fun at the top of my list. I leave this company with people at the top of my list. I am grateful.
What will you miss the least?
What was your proudest moment?
There have been so many great moments, but if I had to pick one it would be the day WPP decided to purchase Catalyst. It was confirmation of everything that Beth and I had hoped to accomplish.
What advice do you give to Catalyst?
Always focus on our clients’ business needs and try to figure out what they will need in the near future. Go where the puck is going. Go Bruins!
What message do you have for the Catalyst Clients?
Leverage search for consumer insights to become more relevant. The insights garnered from search have yet to be fully appreciated or discovered. Consumers are telling the brands what they want and need. For many companies, their next great product is hidden in the search data.
What was the most exciting industry development you have witnessed while at Catalyst?
Search marketing is finally sitting at the grown up table! We are now part of planning sessions, briefs, strategy meetings, etc. Search insights have become part of the brand strategy. However, the best development is watching a television commercial featuring SEO!
What is the most exciting industry development you hope to see?
I am excited to watch the move from desktop informational sites to mobile sites where content reflects immediate need (i.e. wine spill) and immediate action (i.e. buy).
What’s the future hold for Heather Frahm?
I am not sure. Two things I want to do for myself are run the Boston marathon next year and learn to swim. I spent my summers in England growing up; it was too cold to swim. My friends have a bet regarding when I will return to the work force; the shortest time frame is three months the longest is twelve months. However, right now I am just planning on enjoying spending time with my family.
Any final thoughts?
This has been an amazing journey for me. Over the last 15 years I have learned a lot about myself and I am proud of our accomplishments. I am leaving this company in a great place.
On a personal note, I’ve been lucky enough to work with Heather closely for almost six years. She’s a born leader, and a true evangelist. Her unwavering commitment and dedication has been inspiring to witness. I’ve learned so much from her through the years, and know that Catalyst and our clients are all much better off from having worked with her. I wish Heather the very best for wherever life leads her, and thank her for the opportunities that have been given to me along the way. I know I speak for all of us when I say that we’ll do our very best to take good care of her first “baby”.
Below is the full press release which was originally featured on MediaPost
May 30, 2013
HEATHER FRAHM, CATALYST PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER, ANNOUNCES VOLUNTARY DEPARTURE
Leading Search Engine Marketing Firm Announces Executive Changes
BOSTON—Catalyst, a leading search engine marketing firm and part of WPP’s GroupM, announced today that its President and Co-Founder, Heather Frahm, is leaving the company. Catalyst CEO and co-founder Beth LeTendre will add the title of president and assume Frahm’s responsibilities.
Frahm, who has been president of Catalyst since its inception in 1998, said she is leaving for personal reasons related to her desire to spend more time with her family, particularly her mother, who is ill.
At the same time, Catalyst plans to strengthen its senior leadership team to ensure excellence in client service, and will name a new Senior Vice President of Operations and two additional senior-level Group Account Directors in the near future.
During Frahm’s tenure, Catalyst has grown from a startup to become a search marketing leader servicing a range of Fortune 1000 clients. In 2010 the company was acquired by WPP, and currently resides within GroupM, the parent for WPP’s media agencies and specialist businesses, including Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, Mindshare, Xaxis, and M80.
“Catalyst has been my life for the past 15 years and I am fortunate to have had the privilege of creating Catalyst with Beth LeTendre – a true talent and friend,” said Frahm. “It is my time to turn the page to another chapter in my life and spend time with my family. Thank you to those who have expressed their support and understanding. I leave Catalyst with high spirits and in the stewardship of a group of capable and talented professionals who will take Catalyst to the next level. I wish everyone at Catalyst and those we have touched the very best.”
“Heather has helped build a very strong, innovative, and results-driven company,” said Kelly Clark, CEO GroupM North America. “We are very grateful for the many contributions she has made during her career with Catalyst, and we wish her nothing but the best. Under Beth’s leadership, we know that Catalyst will continue to deliver excellent client service, new and innovative solutions, and strong growth.”
Commenting on Frahm’s decision, LeTendre said: “Heather has decided that now is the time to focus on her family, which I respect and understand. It has been a tremendous experience starting and growing this company together. We have been through so much, and have seen so many positive changes. Throughout the past 15 years, she has been a friend and a co-leader of the company. Today, I lose her as a co-leader of Catalyst, but retain her as a valued friend.”
Frahm will remain active in the search marketing industry and maintain several of the board seats she currently holds. She will stay on as President of Catalyst until the company completes the transition.
Photos of Heather Frahm and Beth LeTendre are available on request.
Catalyst, a pioneer in developing strategic digital marketing services since 1998, is renowned for search marketing excellence in servicing Fortune 1000 brands. The firm is the search agency of record for many of the world’s top companies. Headquartered in Boston with offices in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, and Montreal, Catalyst serves numerous B2B and B2C clients in a variety of industries. The search engine marketing firm prides itself on being THE Search Innovator of the industry. Catalyst’s offerings include: search engine optimization (SEO), paid search marketing (PPC), social SEO, content strategy, digital asset optimization, mobile search, e-retail optimization, local search optimization, global search, and competitive reporting. Catalyst is a wholly owned subsidiary of WPP, the world’s largest communications services group. For more information about Catalyst, please visit http://catdevsite.com/.
GroupM is the leading global media investment management operation. It serves as the parent company to WPP media agencies including Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, and Mindshare. Our primary purpose is to maximize the performance of WPP’s media communications agencies on behalf of our clients, our stakeholders and our people by operating as a parent and collaborator in performance-enhancing activities such as trading, content creation, sports, digital, finance, proprietary tool development and other business-critical capabilities. The agencies that comprise GroupM are all global operations in their own right with leading market positions. The focus of GroupM is the intelligent application of physical and intellectual scale to benefit trading, innovation, and new communication services, to bring competitive advantage to our clients and our companies.