My business partner and I started working together somewhat serendipitously. In 2008, I quit my corporate job as Vice President of Sales for a prominent management company and was ready for my next adventure in consulting, hoping that it would allow me to have the work-life balance that I was so dearly craving. Bill Scanlon, on a similar path to mine, had recently founded Strategic Solution Partners and was breaking ground in the industry by offering 3rd party task force services, a solution that the Hospitality Industry was not completely ready to embrace: Who would have thought about bringing someone outside their company to fill a leadership role while looking for a perfect permanent hire? Pretty much no one at that time.


Bill was part of my network and I had reported to him for a few months as my SVP of Sales, so he knew I had a drive for results and a strong work ethic. He called me because Wyndham Hotels was giving him a chance to show what his company could do and he needed a Director of Sales & Marketing in Puerto Rico. I spoke fluent Spanish and was ready to go, so that is how our now 14-year partnership was born that summer of 2008. Looking back, this is when we started creating the company culture too. Intuitively, we both had selected the other based on shared values of integrity, drive to excel, and a yearning desire to create a company that put people first.


For six years following that first task force assignment, Bill and I partnered in growing the company. We did it all: recruiting, sales, admin, and customer success. The first additions to our team were a Director of Finance and an Administrative Assistant who eventually grew into an exceptional Operations Director. Both of them came highly recommended to us by people we trusted for their strong work ethics and drive for results. Sounds familiar? Bill and I interviewed them and we felt that they were a good match for our company. This was when our “company culture,” began influencing our hiring decisions, internal processes, behaviors, and relationships. We led by example and were small enough to have a relationship with everyone on our team.

However, this hands-on approach to sharing our company culture with new team members became unsustainable as we grew. In 2018 we already had a team of 13 that we wanted to expand to 20 in the following year, so we knew that Bill and I couldn’t handpick, nurture, and lead everybody new according to a set of unspoken values. We needed to delegate these responsibilities to other members of our team while making sure that they would clearly articulate our culture to every team member so that it could be used as a “filter” for any strategic decisions.

As you grow, having a clearly articulated company culture gives your teams a Northern Star that can guide them in the direction that you want your organization to go in, even when you’re not there. And because we couldn’t be involved in every aspect of the company anymore at this point, we needed to make sure our teams had it and could carry the same torch Bill and I had carried up until that point.


So, we hired a Canadian boutique company to articulate the values that were behind our instinctive behaviors and established processes. In order for them to do that, we had a working session with a large group of our core team members, during which they were asked to describe their experience of working with SSP and define what they felt were the values of the company. It was magical to hear each member of the team mention respect, excellence, fairness, honesty, drive, and focus on ethics because that’s how we had treated them and that’s how they had seen us treat our almost 500 contractors and over 800 customers.


This working session and the effort that Bill and I also put into verbalizing our mission, vision, and values provided us with a set of guiding principles that would keep our teams on the right track. From that point on, everyone in the company knows why we do what we do, how we do it, and what is important to us. Every single decision, every single hire, coaching session, and strategy are filtered through the same set of values and all our team members understand who we are.

These values also translate into the internal processes: we are 100% remote and all our core team members are part-time for example. This reflects our value of work-life balance and our focus on appreciating the people we work with. We believe that personal and professional goals can co-exist in our team members’ lives and we provide that flexibility in return for their excellence and integrity in all their dealings within SSP.

Since 2016, SSP has been awarded the Fastest-Growing Private Company distinction by both Inc Magazine (for three consecutive years) and Financial Times Magazine. We have also seen our team increase from four to thirty-four along with a massive incremental annual revenue growth, and I truly believe that having a clear strategic direction as well as a well-defined set of values has played a great role in SSP being as successful as it has been.

In closing, a clearly defined company culture that serves as the filter through which all your business decisions are made and supporting processes are created, ensures that a well laid out business strategy gets executed by a team that understands the ethos of the company, therefore ensuring success.

This article was originally published by on August 3, 2022