Michael, let’s start with you: why is this step the right one for you and Quest?
We always tend to be very transparent so a lot of our employees, customers and partners already knew I had been thinking about this step for quite some time. Seeing our vision come to life together with such amazing colleagues and customers has been an absolute privilege. Throughout the years we have always remained authentic and have never compromised on values. We said no a lot whereas most others would have said yes. I’m extremely proud of that, but it also didn’t make our lives any easier.
Managing an impact-driven organization like Quest is so much fun, but it’s also hard. It’s our job to see everything that’s going wrong in the world and then try to change that. I didn’t feel like running that on my own anymore.
In the last year, with a growing team, it also became very clear to me that I am a better entrepreneur than I am a manager. We’re still quite small compared to many, but we’ve reached a stage where bringing structure becomes more important and Diana is so much stronger in that than I am. She already took up a leadership role within the team, and for me her move to becoming our Managing Director feels very natural.
For me personally, this step is about making sure that I get back to doing what I’m best at and what I love doing the most. And those things happen to be what Quest needs the most as well now. I feel like we’re playing to our strengths way better than in the past, thanks to this shift.
What does this mean for your role inside the organization?
Well, I’m definitely not leaving. I’ll just be less involved in daily operations. The main idea is that I get to work more on the organization than in it. I’ll be focussing on our Quest’s own strategy, growth and vision more. That means that in the next year, my focus will mainly be on expanding our sustainability consulting services and team. We’re also hoping this step will allow me to allocate some more time to growing our biodiversity non-profit, Habitats.
For our customers, nothing really changes. I’ll continue to help them with their strategies because that definitely still falls under the category of ‘things that I love doing the most’.
Diana, over to you now: Can you run us through your journey at Quest?
Actually, I started as a freelancer, helping Quest with its growth and partnership strategies. I had just moved to the Benelux region after transitioning into the impact space back in Toronto. I was looking to support impact-driven organizations to scale their communication and sustainability efforts, and Quest reached out. I worked with Michael to find pathways for continuity and consistency for Quest and our clients. Since I joined during COVID-19, we used this as a very privileged opportunity to try our small studio model abroad. It shaped the future of Quest’s presence and projects. Because this is such a small and agile company, I shifted to more client work, team leadership, and strategic opportunities. So when Michael and I sat down to talk about the future of Quest, this was a natural step to collaborate upon that continuity.
What are you looking forward to in your new role as Managing Director?
We’re in a time where we need transformation – both as a society and as an organization. Every day, we see another climate emergency or a news article about running out of resources to support those in need. Our system is not working. Period.
As our conversations at work are about these systemic issues across the globe, it can become debilitating, and almost impossible for us not to feel hopeless. What I hope to do with this role, is not only to establish a better balance for our team to feel hope about the solutions we are building, but expand even further into spaces where we can bend the needle more significantly.
How do you envision this leadership change affecting Quest and where we’re headed strategically?
Our founding team has done an incredible job of turning a dream into a reality and building a team with both talent and passion to make a difference through their expertise. Even only five years ago, the concept of agency meets impact consultancy for good was such a rare and astounding concept. Fast forward to now, this has also become a very competitive space to be in. With this leadership change, we’ll work on expanding our talents and reverting to the basics.
We’re strategists, design thinkers, service innovators, and sustainability experts who won’t budge on making radical change a transparent reality.
– Diana Garcia, Quest’s new Managing Director
We’re all curious – Can you share some of your key priorities for the upcoming year?
I’ve alluded a bit to it, but for now, the two main focuses are reinforcing the team (more on that later) and their resources, and investing in scaling our impact services and ecosystem. We will share a lot of this later these weeks on the impact front. So first things first is taking care of the Quest team and our clients to build a more sustainable future for them.
We know sustainability and B Corp certification are close to your heart. Can you share anything about the future of Quest’s sustainability consulting services and internal commitments (including B Corp of course).
Quest recertified recently, which was an exciting feat for us to see the evolution of our certification grow exponentially. I believe that if businesses truly integrated not only the B Corp framework, but the values throughout every decision-making process, the industry would be closer to its tipping point. But unfortunately, we don’t live in a world where this is a reality. Because of this, I find reporting and legislation coming out about reporting so incredibly important to close this gap. It will help align businesses on impact measurement, tracking, and the communication that comes with these sustainability claims.
What that means for Quest, however, is an exponential push in our impact scan tool and impact reporting services. Both of these are driven by different frameworks (BIA included) and are being adapted to legislation.
This change will better support our impact-driven clients to achieve their goals.
Finally, if you could send a message to our team, our impact-driven clients, and the community, what would it be regarding this transition?
I think for some of our clients, this transition may come as a surprise. Many have seen me in specific capacities. I’m a project manager for some, an impact consultant for others, and even a data wiz for a few. What clients don’t see is the back end scheduling the team, giving feedback on cross-department projects, and having their entire journey in mind from beginning to end. So all this is in the hope of offering better service and expanded impact for both Quest and our impact-driven clients. For the team, I have watched all of us grow into new roles and expertise throughout the last couple of years.
The sentiment is the same for both…