Quality Time with Qwick: What Retta Kekic Wants You to Know About Data Points, Personal Connections, and Company Culture
Qwick Co-Founder and CEO Jamie Baxter recently kicked off a series of “Quality Time with Qwick” interviews. In each conversation, he and a top company executive discuss corporate culture, leadership, life at a fast-growing startup, and what it’s like to be part of the Qwick team.
In this Quality Time with Qwick Q&A, Jamie talks with Chief Growth Officer Retta Kekic.
Jaime Baxter: Tell me about your role at Qwick.
Retta Kekic: I started as Qwick’s VP of Marketing, and I’ve taken on exciting new challenges as my role has expanded. Now, as Qwick’s Chief Growth Officer, I oversee both traditional marketing — that’s top-of-funnel acquisition for the Professional and the Business Partner sides of the marketplace — and funnel activation. Activation includes getting Professionals from sign-up to orientation and getting Partners from sign-up to posting their first shift. I’m also involved in retention and in growth hacking, where we experiment and test ideas, as well as Qwick’s geographic expansion into new markets. As a part of our Qwick team expansion this year, we’re adding some team members in marketing operations who will keep quality data flowing through our marketing channels, to our database, and to our product, and they’ll be involved in growth hacking and campaign measurement, too.
JB: What other initiatives have you been involved with at Qwick?
RK: Curt Roberts from Kickstart is an investor we work with. In 2020, he helped us create a new measurement framework. We’d previously used objectives and key results, or OKRs, and that felt disjointed. Each team had its own goals, and it didn’t always feel like we were marching down the same path.
Curt helped us create our North Star goal: to complete 3 million shifts in 30 U.S. cities by the end of 2024. This unified goal really helps teams align cross-functionally, and now every individual can see how their daily work helps Qwick reach this goal. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s been eye-opening to see how people come together when we all know what we’re trying to achieve.
JB: You worked in several industries before landing at Qwick. Talk about that path.
I started my career at Banner Health. It was a wonderful place to grow, but eventually, the bureaucracy became a challenge. I wanted to move faster and innovate more.
I then went to Uber, where I fell in love with startups. I started as the Phoenix marketing manager, but I got to test and do experiments that, once proven successful, were implemented nationwide or globally. I loved how fast we moved, and I loved seeing the immediate impact of our work. But when it started feeling too corporate, I was ready for another growth-stage company.
As I looked for my next opportunity, I started consulting and Qwick was an early client. I thought the idea was brilliant, and as I got to know the team and the company culture, I knew I wanted to be here long-term. People who work in the food and beverage industry are often treated poorly, but at Qwick, we get to make a difference. We give them the respect and kindness they deserve. We provide higher-paid opportunities and flexibility that they haven’t had before. And we also treat our Business Partners well. We go above and beyond to help them solve core staffing issues and wider challenges.
JB: With that long-term experience in mind, what advice can you share with other marketing professionals?
RK: When you’re new to an organization or building out a marketing plan, it can feel intimidating. I like to start with the foundation. What key things need to be put into place? If we’re focused on email marketing, for example, do we have the right tools? Do we have the right automation setup? A good strategist sees where we want to be in a year and works back from there, one step at a time. Focus on achievable elements that can be addressed today, so that you’re climbing hills instead of mountains.
Reach out to your customers, too. It’s easy to make assumptions about how people use your product, but you’ll learn more — and devise better marketing strategies — by listening. At Qwick, we’ve been reviewing how we talk about our value propositions. For example, we don’t charge fees when a Partner hires one of our Professionals full-time. Our Partners told us this is incredibly valuable and it makes perfect sense, of course. They’re in a labor shortage, and Qwick offers a great platform for vetting, working with, and hiring great people. Hearing that from our Partners changed how we create our messaging.
JB: How has Qwick been a good fit for you, professionally and personally?
RK: Qwick is a great place to work because of the culture. I truly believe that it’s one of a kind. We are a tech company, so we move fast and we’re growing rapidly, but we don’t follow the same methodology as other companies.
Our executive team reads books together, and those books influence our decisions. “No Rules Rules,” which is about Netflix, and Brene Brown’s books have been major for us. They’ve informed everything from not having expense or PTO policies, to supporting team members experiencing hardships. An amazing example is how some team members were seriously impacted by recent hurricanes. Some lost their homes. We heard about their challenges, and several of us sent money so they could get hotel rooms. Everyone here has your back, inside and outside of work.
We really live and breathe Qwick’s cultural values. One value that speaks to me strongly is, “We are human.” These are not just words on a poster. It’s written in our cultural values to act with compassion to ourselves, our team, our families, our Business Partners, and our Professionals. We view each other holistically, and we act accordingly.
JB: When someone interviews for a role with Qwick, what do you look for?
First, I want a forever learner who is always adding to their skill set. Startups evolve rapidly. If someone isn’t willing to learn or try new things, a startup might not be a good fit.
I also look for someone who is adaptable. We want team members who see opportunities and tackle problems, even if that changes their day-to-day focus.
Finally, be a good person. I want someone who is trustworthy and kind and adds to our team. Be someone who calls me out if something goes wrong. If you’re excited to learn the skills that a role at Qwick requires, you can be successful. You can be part of something that I believe is changing the world.