Company culture is one of the pillars of success at any organization. Yet with thousands of decisions, such as how best to organize departments, fund research and development, and field leads each year, the values that contribute to a strong company culture often don’t make it past an organization’s mission statement. As a longtime member of the Junior League, first in New Orleans and now in Houston, being actively involved in community service has always played a large a role in my life. So when it came time to found a tech company, my business partners and I structured our organization to integrate community service into our weekly routine, which has contributed to the company’s continued success in a number of ways.
When we founded Lucid, a venture-backed software company, we made a conscious decision to make community service a fundamental element of the company, designing a program that would both encourage and allow our employees to get involved on a number of levels. Lucid is based in New Orleans, a city that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. When Lucid began in 2010, the city was still heavily rebuilding, a community cause that we adopted as one of our core volunteer programs. Choosing a cause so closely tied to our city immediately engaged our employees and instilled a company mentality of giving back to the community.
At Lucid, we offer more formal community days, where a large portion of our company volunteers for a half day or more at an organized project, such as the local animal shelter. We also open up our offices regularly for various tech-related service initiatives, such as teaching women to code and other specialized skills our tech team can offer our community. Outside of these organized company events and projects, our leadership encourages our employees to get involved with a cause they are passionate about and to take time (away from the office) to volunteer in the community. Finally, multiple employees have been involved in various capacities mentoring other local start-ups through several incubator and accelerator programs.
Structuring a company around community service has provided numerous benefits for our organization, staff and the community. These benefits include increased networking opportunities for employees, attracting and retaining stronger local talent, creating a visible presence that helped brand awareness, and forming a stronger connection to the community, which continues to create a happier company culture.
About the author: Christy Luquire is an active angel investor, member of the Houston Angel Network and a general partner in the Texas Halo Fund. Luquire co-founded Lucid, a venture-backed software company based in New Orleans, and served for five years as its CFO. She holds a BS in engineering from Duke University and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Luquire has been a member of the Junior League since 2009, and she currently volunteers as a CPR instructor and serves on the Junior League of Houston’s Finance Council.