Q&A with Founder and CEO, Anna Hutson
10 months ago Avenue’s story was just beginning. Anna Hutson, Founder and CEO of Avenue, gives us a little insight into the journey that led her to found and start her own digital marketing firm. As our one year anniversary approaches (March 25th!) Hutson reflects on the past, present, and future of Avenue.
Q: Where did you go to college, and what was your degree?
A: Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Graduated with a degree in Public Relations. #GoZags
Q: What is your favorite part of living in Portland, OR?
A: Easily the proximity to all things outdoors: the mountains (especially Mt. Hood), the gorge and the beautiful Oregon Coast. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the delicious craft beer (especially IPAs) and food options that we are so lucky to have in Portland.
Q: At what point in your career were you inspired to start your own digital marketing agency?
A: Quite literally the day before I decided to go ahead and do it. Decisive by nature, I charted the path forward and there was no turning back. That said, leading up to that tipping point there had been a great deal of intentional evaluation of my vision for my own future, what I am truly passionate about, what makes me happy and what would inspire me every single day for the foreseeable future. What it boiled down to was solved in the final inspiration to start my own company, build a killer team to work with every single day, do great work, empower companies to change the world through marketing and engage with and give back to my community. The team and I are doing just that as we continue to build Avenue together. I couldn’t be more proud of what we have done together thus far, and we’re just getting started!
Q: Describe the process of getting Avenue to this point in one word.
Q: Why the name Avenue?
A: Truthfully, it was the only name that I didn’t hate when I woke up in the morning (after one late night of brainstorming… and logo sketching). I also believe that at Avenue we make it a point to explore all “avenues” of marketing and business to uncover the right solutions for our client’s marketing problems, goals and objectives. No stone is left unturned on our path to generating successful client outcomes.
Q: What has been your greatest challenge in the start-up life?
A: It’s lonely as the sole founder of your own company and difficult to find the right people to talk to about the challenges, hopes, dreams and fears that keep me up at night. As a result, I’ve spent a great deal of time cultivating and investing in building a fantastic, supportive network of friends, peers and mentors to help me navigate the unknown and serve as a sounding board for key decisions.
Q: What is your biggest career accomplishment thus far?
A: The moment I closed my very first deal as an entry-level employee (no prior sales experience) when an opportunity presented itself due to a period of executive-level turnover. After stepping in to take the prospect through the sales process (one I created on the fly), preparing the proposal and sending it, I closed the sale. The real accomplishment was continuing to build the trust, respect, client relationship/results and that account continuously, which helped grow the agency over the next few years and my own career and professional trajectory from that moment forward. It was an empowering moment for me and happened very early on in my career.
Q: Who is your hero?
A: My parents.
Q: When you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
A: Volunteering, reading, hiking or skiing.
Q: Favorite quote?
A: “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” – Maya Angelou
Q: Last question, are you a cat or dog person?
A: A dog person through and through. I’m allergic to cats, although I can’t resist a good cat meme.