Key Takeaways:

  • Qvest (formerly OnPrem Solution Partners) is a consulting company that primarily focuses on solving problems in the media and entertainment industry.
  • An organization should foster a supportive work culture that focuses on retaining smart people by creating a sense of accountability among colleagues through personal connections and treating employees as individuals with different interests.
  • Mentorship programs are an ideal way to help ensure the growth of the employees as well as the company.
  • Companies should emphasize likability in their hiring process as it could play a significant role in creating a culture where people want to collaborate and help each other succeed.
  • An organization can foster trust and respect by organizing events and training programs, leading to a strong sense of community and a willingness to make sacrifices for each other.

Executive Summary

Hey everyone! Thanks for joining us on another episode of the Leader Show with Lou Carter. Our guest today is Candice Lu from Qvest, formerly OnPrem Solution Partners. In this episode, we will take a look at Qvest’s work culture and how it became a certified Most Loved Workplace®. 

Now, without further ado, let’s get straight to business.

Qvest Helps People Solve Problems In The Industry

Louis kicks off the conversation by asking Candice to introduce her company, Qvest (formerly known as OnPrem Solutions), and how she created it. Candice has a background in media and entertainment and transitioned to consulting through OnPrem, which does technology and business consulting for media and entertainment companies. 

She also notes that OnPrem was acquired in 2020, and they have offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Austin. The company’s prime focus is to help people solve problems in the industry. 

Organizations Need To Foster A Supportive Work Culture To Retain Smart People  

Next, Louis asks Candice about the culture at Qvest and how it manifests. Candice highlights that the company culture is all about retaining smart people by offering support, and getting to know each other as individuals with different interests. 

She also notes that the company wants people to connect and be friends, as this creates a sense of accountability among colleagues. By treating people as people, Qvest has been able to create a culture that extends beyond the company, with former employees becoming clients and hiring their erstwhile employer for their services. 


The founder further mentions that this approach has resulted in a network of alums who continue to keep in touch with and mentor each other, even if they move on to other industries. According to her, it is called “karmic leadership,” where doing the right thing leads to positive outcomes in the future. 

Louis agrees and notes that relationships and the human aspect are crucial to success when it comes to consulting. 

Treating Employees The Right Way Helps Ensure Better Performance

Next, Lou asks Candice to share her experience with her mentor, particularly the first moment they met and how their communication developed. Candice highlights that her mentor was actually one of her co-founders, and she initially felt intimidated by him but was grateful that he took the time to talk to her and give her feedback. 

He would always be present in her meetings and see her progress, and he started to encourage her to speak up and share her ideas. Candice believes that being open to vulnerability and receptive to feedback was key in their mentor-mentee relationship, and it was instrumental in her growth.

Additionally, she explains how beneficial it is for organizations to approach mentees, as she believes that it has a huge impact on the team’s growth. According to her, mentors need to focus on their team to develop them to the point where they can be leveraged to grow the company. 

In the consulting industry, people may feel the need to beat their peers, but leaders need to realize that they are only as strong as their team. Treating people the right way leads to retention, stronger performance, and an overall better output for the company. 

Having Continuous Conversations With Peers, Managers, and Colleagues To Receive Feedback

Candice firmly believes that employees need to be receptive to feedback and mentorship in order to succeed. Even if someone isn’t officially assigned a mentor, they can still receive feedback and mentorship through continuous conversations with their peers, managers, and colleagues. 

She also emphasizes the importance of creating a culture where people feel comfortable being themselves and can rely on each other for support. According to her, mentorship should be built into the experience of working at a company rather than being something that people have to seek out on their own.

Organizations Should Hire Likable People To Help Create A Collaborative Culture

After that, the founder of Qvest discusses the various programs and events that Qvest has in place to bring colleagues together and create a culture of openness and feedback. She talks about their week-long boot camp for new hires straight out of college, which is designed to help them get to know each other and the company, and their ongoing training and development programs.

On that note, Candice emphasizes the importance of likability in their hiring process and its role in creating a culture where people want to collaborate and help each other succeed.

Employees Should Trust Each Other’s Intent And Work Towards Improving Together

Speaking of culture, Lu shares a story about how during the COVID pandemic, her employees volunteered to take furloughs or pay cuts to help their colleagues who were struggling. This act of sacrifice showed a strong sense of trust and love within the company’s culture. 

Candice believes that when people care about each other, they are willing to make sacrifices for each other. Additionally, she discusses the importance of creating a culture of trust and respect and how her company fosters that through events and training programs. 

Lastly, Lu expresses her gratitude for her team and acknowledges that they are not perfect, but they trust each other’s intent and work towards improving together.

Thank you for listening!


Louis Carter : Hey, everybody! Welcome today to The Leader Show. Awesome to have Candice Lu with us today from Qvest, which was formerly OnPrem Solution Partners. She's the founder of On-Prem Solution Partners, which is now Qvest, and what a great thing to have her on today to learn about our culture and what she's done to formulate to create this culture at Qvest and how it became a certified Most Loved Workplace.

So, we're gonna learn a lot from her today here on the Leader Show. Candice, thanks for coming on and joining us.

Candice Lu : Oh, thank you for having me. Don't set expectations too high though, but hopefully we will learn  something.

LC : I know you'll do great on them, we were just talking about confidence and how important it is not only you know, for ourselves, but for others inside of our company, right?

CL : Yeah, agreed.

LC : Tell me more about you and your company, and then we'll drive dive into, we'll talk about confidence and culture, right? Let's see. I want to hear about how you created it, what it looks like, and, you know, what's important to you. I wanna hear about Candice too.

Candice Introduces Qvest (OnPrem Solution Partners) [1:04]

CL : Yeah. Happy to relay. So, I have been in media entertainment really my whole life, and then transitioned that to consulting because I was an Econ major and figured I should do something in business. But OnPrem, we do- and Qvest now- we were acquired in 2020, but we do technology and business consulting predominantly for media entertainment.

So, the studios, the broadcasters, we also do some work around consumer products, but we started out really in New York in Los Angeles. We have an office in Austin also for software development work. But really, our focus has just been to help people solve problems within that space. So that's what we try to do.

LC : Awesome. Yeah. So, help people solve problems in that space. So tell me, is that the pervasive culture, I would assume, right? Helping others, and tell me about what it looks like, how that culture manifests inside a Qvest. What does it look like, You know?

Creating A Culture That Extends Beyond The Company [2:03]

CL : Yeah, I think it's a combination of, it's just really smart people, and so it's really about how do you retain smart people? And I think the basis for us has really been about creating a supportive culture. And so I think that the basis of that, and if you read any sort of book about team dynamics, the fundamental aspect that's really about vulnerability, and it's really about getting to know each other and caring about the fact that we are humans and that we have different interests.

And not to really push that aside and just say, just come here and do your work. We actually wanna know about you. We want people to connect. We want people to be friends. And I think that if you have that fundamental piece together, people are more accountable to each other. So, if I sit here and talk to you about you growing up in New York and me growing up in New York, and we take that time to get to know each other, all of a sudden when we work together, I'm more committed, just because I like you and I know you, and we have commonalities.

So I think fundamentally it's just treating people as people and not forgetting that fact. And we've been very focused on that because it's worked. And, you know, it's allowed us to keep a culture within Qvest, but also when people leave, it extends beyond that. You know, majority of my clients are people that left Qvest and went to a company, and then hired us in. There's something about this environment and keeping that community intact because we support each other that I think has really lent itself to a culture that extends even beyond our company.

LC : And that's cool. You said a culture that extends beyond your company. And tell me more about what you mean by that, because this culture of getting to know each other, being connected, which is part of Most Loved Workplace, feeling that connection, feeling good with each other, understanding that there's more commonality between us than not.  And tell us more about how that is extended for you in your culture, perhaps to your customers, and become a  competitive advantage really for you.

Understanding Karmic Leadership [3:50]

CL : Yeah. Now you know, I think it comes back down to really caring about that person's interests, right. So, if someone comes to me and says, ‘Hey, I wanna be consulting, but eventually I would love to become a COO of the studio’, I say, ‘All right, that's great. Like, let's be in line with what you can get out of this company, and then we can help mentor you.’ And we've helped negotiate people's contracts going into our clients, right?

I think initially, when we started this company, I would take people leaving personally because, you know, it's your baby, and you're like, ‘Oh, I crafted this environment. Why would you leave? And then you realize that people have different paths, and that's okay. And especially if their path is, ‘I want to go to a client,’ and now they become COO or CTO of a major studio, which has happened for us, then guess who becomes our biggest client?

It's those people, and then they end up hiring us because they trust the fact that we are really in there for the right intent and that we've always had their best, kind of, you know, their best purpose in mind.

So, I feel like when you're locked into people's interests, even beyond, you know, and if they wanna stay here and become an EVP or whatever else, we have that path. But for a number of people, consulting is transitory; you know, a lot of people end up doing it, going to business school, whatever it is.

And for us, it's about maximizing that time together and being honest about what everyone wants, and then that has really lent itself to this environment where majority of my clients are people that used to work with us, and we were very open about the fact that one day they might leave and go do something else within the industry.

So, it really has, you know, I call it “karmic leadership”. It's this notion of doing the right thing, and it coming back to you, and it really has for us in that way, that we have alums that continue to keep in touch with us. You know, that again, our clients, and even if they're not and they go into different industries, we're still mentoring them. And there's something that's really impactful and feels really good about that.

LC : Mm-hmm, and you think about that when, from the beginning of my career too, starting in consulting, and going back to those consultants that I'd worked with and keeping them as my friends ,and throughout the years, and working with, that's just, I think it's brilliant Karmic Leadership. Great concept. Do the right thing, and the right thing comes back to you.

CL : Absolutely. And honestly, that has proven out to me in my career. I never thought I would be a partner at a consulting firm when I first started out. I never thought I'd be an owner or a founder or anything like that, but I just found that I just created the right relationships, right. And then it's all kind of laid itself out in a way that has given, you know, given back. We started with, you know, the four of us founding this, and then it's turned to almost 400 people at this point in the span of 10 years, and that, I think, has a lot to do with the fact that we're really good at relationships.

I mean, we're obviously good at what we do also, but I do feel that we've been really good about just the human aspects of it.

LC : Let's talk about that: four founders, 10 years, phenomenal growth! Tell us what start, how'd it start? How did, as a founder?

Early Days Of Qvest [6:42]

CL : Yeah. So, you know, the four of us and really there are five of us now that are partners, but we all worked together in a firm really coming out of the big four, you know, and the tech side. And we worked with a small company, and then we got acquired at that point. And then during that time, we saw the culture that we had built, again, based on the same principles, really start to erode a bit just because of this larger firm coming in. And I mean, they gave us numbers, and we were all a number, not a name.

And, you know, all the different things that I was talking about, there just wasn't really focus on it. And so we knew what we lost. We knew what we wanted; as you said, you know, at, that original firm, everyone that came in was my best friend, and we all grew up together.

I was in my mid-twenties. All of a sudden, we were getting married at each other's weddings, at each other's baby showers. And that there was something about that was just so magical. And, again, these are still some of my best friends today. Were those folks that I started with. So we knew kind of the secret sauce in terms, and it's not even that much of a secret, it's just hire likable people, don't have egos, right? Just don't hire jerks, and just know each other. And then, all of a sudden, people were committed.

So, starting this company for us wasn't really that big of a stretch because we knew what we had. We built a larger practice within this larger firm, so we had the experience. So, you know, kind of setting out and doing it on our own, but keeping the things that we learned that we wanted, that, you know, to keep intact on the cultural side was really a no-brainer. So, the five of us have worked together for 20 years at this point, kind of rolling out into this new company wasn't really that new an experience for us because we had all worked together, but we were junior at that time, and then we just got to a point where we were senior enough to be able to do this.

LC : So, you really kept this core culture that you had with your, basically, not just your friends, your colleagues, colleagues and friends. So, you had respect and you had friendship. Yep. and you, that microcosm of four to five, you built based upon that. Was there a way that you could determine who was great for a relationship coming, going forward with this core group of four to five?

And perhaps somebody who just didn't fit as well, right? Which is fine. It's okay. Maybe you're not a great fit, not the right thing. what does that perfect candidate look like for you in Qvest?

How Qvest Selects The “Perfect Candidate” [9:10]

Yeah, you know, for us, really, it's an alignment and values. And I think that's what we had at the core. Even though, you know, we, the five of us take personality tests and we'll all represent each column. So, we're very different in our styles, which means that we balance each other, but the core of who we are as humans.

And I think that was really tested through COVID; through everything is that we had gone through, we're very similar when it comes to integrity, right? Just doing the right thing So, this is about we wanna sleep at night.

So, our decisions always come down to what makes the most sense around that. And there isn't any sort of second guessing around hidden agendas with the five of us. You know, like we definitely come to the table, and there's definitely conflict and friction because that's how healthy relationships should be, but at the end of the day, we end up committing and then moving forward.

But our values are very similar. You know, when it comes to the human aspects of it, we don't have to think twice about the fact that they're gonna do the right thing about the fact that, you know, three of the other founders are men. They all have daughters, and they come at it when  like gender equity and pay equity. And they've come to the table with that even before, you know, I had

So, there's just a commitment to the human side of it that, honestly, if you don't have that and we question your motives and we question, you know, you're not gonna fit in. And there have definitely been people that have sold well but just didn't align with our core values of just doing the right thing of rolling up your sleeves not having ego, right?

The humility aspects of it, really focusing on developing people and not just about shining on your own There really is this motive of just getting everyone else to succeed with you and doing what it takes to be able to do that. If I'm taking meeting notes to enable an analyst to facilitate a meeting, I'm gonna do that. There is an ego around here, but it's for the best for the company.

So, it's just that value alignment and it, you can just tell, you can always just tell when someone doesn't fit. That when someone can manage well up, but there's a wake of bodies [laughs] that lay kind of behind them. That's not what we want, you know? So, it has really boiled up for us in a lot of different ways, where you just notice people not fitting from a core value perspective.

LC : Not willing to do the things that they know need to be done because of their job description.

CL : Yeah, yeah. Yep. Exactly.

LC : You know, you mentioned develop people. And I want to hear more what you mean by develop people.

Candice Explains What It Means To “Develop People” [11:37]

CL : Yeah, you know, I think I was fortunate in the fact that I had great mentors, and one of my, you know, co-founders, I always credit him with really breaking me out of my shell and with the whole confidence factor, right? When I came out of school, I was 20 years old. I was always the youngest person around. You know, I think culturally, I grew up in the Philippines. I was always taught to kind of respect people, you know, respect people that were older than me, never really talk. And I just didn't have that confidence. And I remember, you know, he would tell me like, "Why don't you speak, your deliverables, your documents? They're all fantastic. I know you have great ideas. Why don't you speak? And so I was lucky in that he saw my potential, and he put me in positions where I had to speak.

And it got to a point where I ended up becoming confident in myself. because I had no choice but to prove it to myself. So for me, it really is about developing that in, you know, we hire straight out of undergrad, and there are a number of people, especially women, that I find that just don't have that confidence, even though the transcripts read it.

And for us, it's really about developing people and understanding where their strengths are and really allowing them the autonomy and the freedom to make mistakes, supporting that, but getting them to that point where they can prove it to themselves so that they have the confidence to be able to take the next step.

And I think that's been the most fulfilling part of my journey, is just seeing our first analyst, who we hired in 2013, who's now a senior manager who's a practice lead for us. And just seeing how she's developed through all this in a way that, you know, I feel like I got that advantage when I was younger, but I don't think enough people do.

So, it's really, again, that's back to just taking that time to just get to know people, get to know their strengths, aligning them with their strengths, and then giving them opportunities to fail. And it's okay. But just knowing that they're gonna come out of that stronger and supporting that I mean, I have found that if you just hire the right people and you just give them kind of the support and then you back off, they rise to the occasion each and every single time. So, you know, I think as a mom, as someone who's just very passionate about seeing people develop, it's been so rewarding for me.

LC : Absolutely. Want to go back to the 2013 analysis as well as your experience getting that mentor. What, tell me, so when you, can you think back to, or think back to, when you had that mentor, the first moment you met your mentor and what happened around it? What was it like for you, and how did that relationship begin and what was the communication like?

Candice Talks About Her Mentor [14:16]

Well, so my mentor, the one who I was mentioning, he's actually one of my co-founders. And so when we started, or I started for him working at that company, it was right out of business school. And I remember meeting him, and I was intimidated because, you know, here's a founder of the company taking his time to talk to me about everything. And then the way that it worked on my project is that he was always, you know, on my status meetings, always in my meetings; we're not a company where we kind of sell the work and then you don't see us anymore as a partner.

I mean, we're very involved with our team. And so I had all these different check-ins with him, and then he would just see my progress, and he would always see the way that I would work within meetings.

And that's when he started to give me the feedback of like, "Why don't you talk <laugh>? You know, you have a lot of really good ideas, like, why don't you talk?” So, you know, I think it's also just being open to that vulnerability with someone. And I think I was lucky in that he kind of, you know, just enabled this environment where I felt comfortable enough to be able to talk to him. And I don't think a lot of companies enable that.

So, I was fortunate and that he gave me that space and he gave me that feedback, and I was receptive to that feedback. And then I just got opportunities to be able to prove myself. But I think a lot of times, you know, people don't take that mentorship path because they think it shows weakness or whatever it is, but for me, it had been, you know, pretty instrumental in my growth.

LC : So, fast forward to where you are today. and I'm wondering now when if, when you look back at that experience when he came to you, do you see it differently? In other words, if you, now, if it was you of the now going to you, there's reasoning, different reasoning. So what, Tell me more about that reasoning now that it would be for you than it had been before.

So, basically, to leaders, because the leaders want to know, well, why is it that we should approach mentees?

Why Should Mentors Always Be Approachable [16:14]

CL : Oh, because at the end of the day, it's beneficial for your firm, right? If he hadn't done that, who knows where I would've been. Who knows if I would've evolved to that person who then, you know, manage projects well for him who ended up selling projects for him. If you don't take the time to be able to focus on your team, they're not gonna develop to the point where you can, you know, ultimately be leveraged, right?

In order for you to be able to grow. Everyone has to grow with you. And I think that’s the kind of the fallacy a lot of times with consulting, as people feel like, well, I have to kind of win and I have to kind of beat my peers. And as you know, as a leader, you have to realize that you're only as strong as your team, and you're only gonna be able to grow your company if people step up.

And if you don't really, you know, kind of put fuel to that fire and get people confident and get people able, it's a detriment to you. So you can be the most capitalistic person in the world at the end of the day, treating people right? It's still gonna serve you <laugh>, because that's gonna lead to the bottom line. It's gonna lead to retention. It's gonna lead to, you know, just a much stronger path.

Where now we've surrounded ourselves, our leadership team is predominantly people that we've worked with since they were analysts or we worked with the previous company. As soon as we started this company, everyone was like, "We want to join.” And there's something really rewarding about building a team and having the DNA, and really that filter of, do you have the values set?

And then now you're surrounded yourself with people that you should just trust. You know, they're gonna, you know, showcase that value. They're gonna treat people, right? And you're gonna continue to grow this company in a way that's gonna be comfortable for you. Because growth is never that comfortable. But when the right people in place and you know your values are intact, it's not as scary.

LC : And you think back to sort should we, can we say his name? It's your mentor and…

CL : It's Frank Leal. I mean, he's, you know, one of my co-founders,

LC : Frank Real?

CL : Leal

LC : Leal. So, hi Frank!

CL : Yeah, no, his ego is gonna get even bigger.

LC : Where's Frank? There's no ego.

CL : Yeah, no, you're right. You're right,

LC : You set that up. So, Frank, you know, thinking about Frank, he was the owner then, right? So you go back. So to other leaders and owners now or even other employees, it's this mind shift and saying, okay. It's okay, when somebody approaches or helps you, they're not just, they're not micromanaging you; they're forming trust with you.

So, you can be at your best and represent the company, sell more. Effectively become even higher performing for themselves and the company. So, mentorship is a good business choice. What happens in circumstances when people aren't open to mentorship, or they want to, and you'd mentioned this, you'd alluded to this, which is there's so much kind of competition, right? They say, I can do this. I have this; I don't need this kind of thing.

And, you know, we move away from that kind of mentality. What happens then? Tell me what are some circumstances where you've seen kind of a turn around or what may a turn around look like.

What Happens To People Who Aren’t Receptive To Mentorship [19:36]

CL : At the turn around? Oh, so I think your first question is What happens if people aren't receptive to mentorship? And I think instance, when people aren't receptive to feedback, because I think from that perspective, it's really like, I don't need it because I'm fine. And I will tell you even where I am now, I'm not fine.

Like, I always need mentorship, right? I think I won't always need that sounding board because we're not perfect and we're trying the best that we can. But to be able to have that objectivity is pretty critical. And I can't really think of any person within our company that has succeeded without just that openness and reception to change within themselves and within, because, you know, everything evolves.

I mean, even in the generations of folks that we now hire, it's a different approach that you can't just be the same person, the same type of leader, all the time.

I mean, your values can stay intact, but you always should be changing and improving. So, you know, I think there has to be openness to that. And even those, you know, that have said, oh, I don't really wanna mentor, they do end up getting some sort of mentorship, even if it's not as official. There's still feedback that we're providing.

You know, we are very much a culture of communication. I think that's what got us through COVID and got us successfully through COVID because we tell people all the time what it is; we're gonna tell you when it's bad, we're gonna tell you when it's good because then no one's blindsided about anything. You know, so for us, it's about reviews and feedback and people, people shouldn't be surprised, right?

There shouldn't always be continuous conversations with everyone. So, even if you don't have an official mentor, you are getting mentored whether you like it or not. Because even if it's your peers or people working for you, or, you know, people managing you, you're gonna get feedback from us.

LC : So then the key to, what you said and what I heard is that it's built in to the experience.

CL : Yeah. Yeah.

LC : So it's, it's not necessarily like, Oh, I reject it or not. But you get to have this development. And it's a gift. The gift of feedback.

CL : Yeah. And, you know, what we also really try to do is create like a culture, you know, within our company, even if it's our new campus hires, and we hired about 50 last year, where we end up doing a training with them and they all come, you know, together. But for us, it's not as much about learning our methodology, it's really about just having each other.

So now you know that you're kind of walking in deep with this other team of 49 people that are going through the same experience as you. So, they become each other's sounding board. So there is still kinda that the peer mentorship and kind of, you know, even just the questioning of, am I doing this right? Like, they are relying on each other, and we want that.

So, I think we build that in, kind of like it or not <laugh>, that is always gonna be a constant, you know, world of support for people. And I think it also starts with people just feeling like they can be themselves. And I think that is something that we really lay out is, we want you to feel authentic; we want you to feel who you are because why hide that? Like, what's the point of hiding that for us?

LC : Sure. Reminder to everybody. We're talking to Candice Lu, the founding partner of Qvest. It's great to have you here again. And it's funny, Candice, do you know this gentleman? He says hello, boss. Do you know Fabrice?

I do not.

But yeah. Ok. I don't know if it somebody who works for you. Ok. So I just saw the comments. I thought it would be kind of funny to show it. Anybody has any questions or thoughts, or comments for Candice please do so in the comment section, and we can address those, of course.

So, this culture of feedback, continuous change, you know, it's so easy for an employee to blame a leader, right? For you know, their material. They trust me or they don't trust me. And, you know, I don't know where they're coming from. And oftentimes, it's the person that they're looking inside of their own sort of requests or needs for kinda balance, which is perfectly understandable. We want leaders; everybody wants that are consistent, not material that can be understood from a certain, you know, viewpoint at 360 easily so that it's not as scary to work for them, you know. I was curiously, how do you create that, as you talked a lot about honesty. And you talked a lot about, you know, your culture and how you've had this sort of respect founding culture since, you know, for 10 years now.

And you have constant feedback. Are there other programs or ways people get together? You've mentioned, your entry people from college having a program for them. What do their programs look like? What can people expect when they sign up and they become an employee straight out of college? What can they expect for that experience?

Finding Different Ways To Bring Colleagues Together [24:34]

CL : Yeah, I mean, straight out of college, you know, as I mentioned, it's a week long bootcamp that we have everyone come to Los Angeles. So our teams from Austin, New York, they come in, and you know, again, it's Consulting 1O1, you know, industry 1O1, all of that. But really, for us, it's about, we just want you to get to know each other and also get to know our team.

It's all internally led. So, every instructor that goes in there, it's one of us, whether it's a manager, it could be, you know, analysts from last year to kind of talk about their experience. It's really just about them getting to know the firm, but also for us to get to know them. And then we have events during that, you know, during that time we have happy hours, you know, they're out there getting to know each other.

And then beyond that, we have formal training, whether it's, you know, project management training, sales training. There's a lot of different opportunities for professional development. But I think the basis of our culture is also, you know, through COVID, we had a lot of virtual events, but we have events all the time.

I think that for us is just, again, it's just that ability to just get to know who everyone is. And so we have quarterly events in person. We have you know, events that, we have all these different ARG groups, you know, that represent various kind of areas of our employees that we end up having events for that.

So, for Black History month, we have actually a dinner tonight that we're doing. We had that for API month last month.

So we just always have events to be able to get together. You know, people, our folks like to hang out with each other. And I think that's what we, that's kind of our, some of our interview metric is like, do we want to spend time with this person hanging out and grabbing a drink? And if the answer is yes, beyond, are they also smart and can do this <laugh>, that's part of it because it's that likability, it's that ability, you know, for us to think beyond ourselves and want that other person next to us to also succeed. So there's gotta be that likability piece of it for us. But there's a lot of different ways to be able to get together within this company.

LC : Mm-Hmm. It's interesting what you said, the likability factor too. It's, you know, it transcends everything, doesn't it? You know, that love factor, we call it, right? The most Loved Workplace culture And that love factor, it means that you'll find the best in others and you'll collaborate with those others. Yeah. And you'll help them get to their best sense of self.

CL : Yeah

LC : And then, at that point, we found that people are more willing to defend them.

CL : Yeah, absolutely

LC : And because they have shared values and they have done the right thing together. Yeah go ahead.

Sacrificing Jobs For Each Other As A Way To Reciprocate Love And Trust [27:22]

CL : Well, you know, you reminded me of this time that we had during COVID when, you know, at that point it was a bit scary. I mean, it was really the first time in the 20 years together, we were like, oh my gosh, clients are pulling projects from us. This is kind of, we don't know what's going on with the economy. And we were telling our team this, you know, we were having town halls every week,saying, here's what's happening.

And at that point, we were like, would anyone want to volunteer to furlough? Because the last thing we wanna do is just come out and lay people off and tell people that they're being furloughed, not thinking we would get that big of a response. Cause at that time, like, who would want to do that? But out of 200 people, I think we got 32 volunteers to furlough.

And the responses that we got were, "I don't want to," but "if it helps someone else within the company that can't, I will happily do it." You know, there was this sense of doing it above and beyond themselves and really for the team, and even our team of analysts that had just come on board, you know, they were like, "We will take pay cuts. I mean, there was this, like, such a team orientation around how do we get through this together?” That really for the first time as a leader, I was so humbled by the fact that people would do that for us, right? That it was just, it was really for the firm and for everyone else around them. And I think at that point I was like, I think we hired the right people <laugh> from, you know, from a heart standpoint.

So I think that, you know, that's the notion of if people start to care about each other, that's kind of how it manifests itself in the way that they will do that for each other. They'll sacrifice their own jobs for each other, you know, which is pretty cool. And then you fast forward to, you know, we were doing okay and we're like, "Just kidding. We don't want, we don't need, anyone to furlough. But just the fact that we did that and we got through it together, we became even stronger out of COVID.

And honestly, the feedback that we had gotten around just like, "Thank you for doing it in that way and the communication, but for me it was like, "Thank you back" for just being the team that, you know, would do that for each other.

LC : It's amazing, isn't it? What people will do for and with each other when they have that sense of respect, trust and love for each other. It's real, It's a, people don't recognize that it, it's an actual thing you know, it can happen and it does happen in your company, it does. And it happens in many different atmospheres. I mean, healthcare, I've seen it happen in numerous industries where it's, as long as it's a tight knit group.

And I mean by that as a culture that truly cares. And that it is clearly what you've done. And coming from a founder certainly you have all those aspects that are directly from your sense of self, right? And that who you are and how you've become successful, which is it says volumes about you and your company.

CL : No, I appreciate that. You know, I think we're never always gonna get it right. Right. You know, I think we will make mistakes along the way, but I think the important thing is that people trust our intent. And I think that's what's important is if we trust each other's intent, that we're able to kind of see through anything. But it's not to say that <inaudible> perfectly. We're trying, though.

LC : You're doing a great job, and certainly, being a certified Most Loved Workplace says a lot about you.

CL : Oh, appreciate it.

LC : Candice Lu, The founding partner of Qvest here with us today, it's been a pleasure having you, wonderful time with you today.

CL : Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.