A culture of integrity and service to clients and others has helped Innovest Portfolio Solutions, co-founded by Richard Todd and Wendy Dominguez, steadily grow since its founding in 1996.
When they formed the firm, they adopted 12 bedrock principles, which Mr. Todd said to this day “help us make decisions” and are “part of who we are.”
The principles — such as integrity, hire great people, teamwork, treat people well and work hard — are proudly displayed on a piece of copper in Innovest's lobby in Denver.
Culture was mentioned in many comments by employees when speaking to why they love working at the firm. “Importance of high integrity,” mentioned one in Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management survey.
To help maintain the culture of integrity, Mr. Todd said, “we hire character first;” it is the “No. 1 thing” they look for in new team members.
During one team-building exercise, Innovest employees developed personal codes of ethics, some of which are now published on the firm's website. Ms. Dominguez's code includes: “The ends do not justify the means”; “Always tell the truth, no matter how difficult”; and “Serve others in everything you do.”
Mr. Todd said the exercise was “not just about becoming better investment professionals, but better people.” Innovest executives plan to hold a similar workshop, inviting clients and friends of the firm.
Ms. Dominguez said they were “purposeful in designing the culture,” which includes “working as a team” and “genuine trust.” As one employee put it: “Everyone has each other's back!”
Innovest's office was remodeled in May 2013 creating a bight colorful space. It has “low wall levels to create an open environment” commented Ms. Dominguez.
There is a monthly “service to others” award, which is peer nominated, while positive events at the firm are highlighted in its “We love Mondays” weekly e-mail.
To help foster team building on a personal level, the firm has a weekly lunch club that started in 2006. Ms. Dominguez said if business is talked about, “you get fined $1.” The lunch was cut in 2008 to save money, but was reinstated in 2010. Employees often bring in food to share, including many individuals' favorite soups during “Crocktober.”
Fun and team building also are fostered through closing the office for an afternoon to go bowling or events like “muffins and massages,” which was a reward to celebrate a recent firm accomplishment.
Employees volunteer to be on a donations committee, which helps direct the firm's philanthropic endeavors in a given year. Organizations that were selected to be a focus in 2014 include the Food Bank of the Rockies, SaddleUp! Foundation and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.
The firm also supports inner-city education, providing a work-study program with Arrupe Jesuit High School. The firm has four students in the program, one from each class year, and moved the lunch club gathering to Monday so the students could participate.
Mr. Todd summarized the culture of the firm as “hard work, dedication to clients, and honesty and integrity.”