We know the secret to building a winning company culture

VFP COO Doug Johnston

Our COO, Doug Johnston, presenting to the team in four locations during our mini bubble covid all-hands meeting in small working groups.

VFP Consulting COO Doug Johnston reveals the secret we’ve all been wanting to know: how he built his team’s winning culture, despite being a 100% remote company.

There’s been a noticeable shift in workplace culture over the past few years, with many companies reforming their former views on company culture — or lack thereof. In short, many organizations are realizing that their “can’t do” attitude towards company culture just won’t cut it anymore. The workforce is now made up of 50% Millenials and this generation wants to work for companies that share the same values

As COO of VFP Consulting, Doug Johnston understands the importance of strong leadership in growing a business. He’s been building scalable, large-capacity teams in enterprise environments for 20 years and has witnessed first-hand what can make or break a team. 

Having a strong company culture is integral to a company’s bottom line for it affects every part of a business. Without aligned values and goals, employees will start to drift and question their overall happiness at their workplace and this can have serious consequences for your business. Recruitment, productivity, and financial performance will all suffer as a result. 

Johnston brings a unique approach to employee management that’s based on a remote company culture focused on growth, sustainability, and loyalty. So what’s the secret to building a strong team and thereby, a company culture, from the ground up?

The VFP team at a recent company meet-up in Vancouver, Canada.

Make organizational health and living your core values your top priority

In a world of financial results, key performance indicators, and rapid change, it’s critical to recognize that one priority must remain above all others. “The overall health of a company — alignment, engagement, and trust — should be top of mind for executives that want to build a winning culture and company,” Johnston explains. “Without a healthy organization, you’ll be hard-pressed to get the sustainable business results you’re looking for. It’s foundational, and if you neglect it then nothing else matters.”

Johnston’s approach is straightforward: whether remote or not, you need to have a good sense of your company’s values. “VFP stands for vision, focus, and passion, and we have a great definition of exactly what that means that we talk about every day. We expect everybody who wants to be a part of this adventure to understand what we stand for,” Johnston says. “We want them to bring our values to everything they do in their jobs, every single day.” 

Too many businesses think culture revolves around free beer and foosball tables, but in reality, it’s rooted in something a lot more personal.

Doug Johnston, COO, VFP Consulting

Johnston has noticed company culture thrives when employees start to take pride in their work. “People start to feel connected to the results of the business through their individual contribution, and the value they know they’re bringing to customers. People realize that they’re part of something special and that their contributions are meaningful.  Culture starts to take on a life of its own, which is exactly what’s needed. Too many businesses think culture revolves around free beer and foosball tables, but in reality, it’s rooted in something a lot more personal.”

Create a communication plan

While having your employees aligned with your organization’s values and goals is an important first step, many companies fail to recognize that success goes beyond a splashy meeting and slogans written on a wall. It’s critical that culture is at the forefront of everything a company does, every day. At VFP, Johnston implemented a multi-tiered communication strategy to preserve and strengthen the health of the company.  As the company grows, it becomes more difficult to keep everybody aligned and happy and effective communication becomes key.

VFP’s team lives and works all over the world, so staying in sync is no small feat.  In addition to monthly All Hands Meetings and standard weekly operational meetings with teams, even more, important are the one-on-one meetings that happen weekly between every VFP employee and their leader. “This is where the personal connection happens,” says Johnston. “It’s a chance to take everything the company is doing and make it relevant for an individual. We help them understand how they fit and how they can grow.  And as importantly, it’s our chance to get feedback on things we might not be seeing given how spread out we are.”

Team meetings, whether in person or online, happen without fail once a week to stay personally connected with one another on company projects and goals.

Johnston also created VFP Consulting’s much-buzzed-about ‘Virtual Friday Parties,’ where the company comes together in an unstructured, weekly video happy hour to connect with one another in a casual environment. “We shoot the breeze on what’s going on around the company and tell some funny stories. You’ve got to have a sense of humor in this line of work,” Johnston explains with a laugh. “You spend a lot of time away from family, and there’s a lot of pressure to get things done. We’re operating in a world of ambiguity and it’s our job to bring clarity. You have to enjoy the people you’re on this journey with.”

Johnston acknowledges that effective communication starts at the top. It’s crucial that the executive team lead by example in order to maintain engagement. It’s the key to having your employees continue to push forward. “Disengagement can be a fatal blow to a company. I’m unapologetic for constantly reminding our team of what we stand for.  If I don’t constantly show that culture matters to me, how can I expect others at VFP to buy in?”

These days, you can accurately measure financial performance, customer satisfaction, and even productivity. But how do you know when your company culture is having a positive effect on the company?

Our team is made up of people who love the work we do.

Attitude counts

Data is important, and measuring things like employee satisfaction can be useful, but sometimes you have to put it aside and look at the employees themselves. Building a team that operates well together and follows a company’s core values is difficult but it’s also integral to a company’s success. Johnston is a big believer in attitude as the top trait in people who work at VFP. 

“When we’re hiring, we hire for attitude first and experience second because we know it counts. It’s something that is constantly being looked at throughout the year to make sure people are looking at their jobs and their results the right way,” Johnston elaborates. “We make sure that the attitude we liked when they came into the position hasn’t slipped. If it has, we try to figure it out. It’s important to recognize that constantly realigning at all levels bubbles up to the results of the business.”

Organizations that put company culture at the forefront of their priorities will have a leg up on other companies in the industry, especially in the coming years when an entirely new generation of employees will dominate the workforce. With different values and attributes to consider, companies will need to adjust appropriately to ensure business growth down the line. 

Tell us: what is your business doing to put company health and culture top of mind?

Raul Acosta

Sales Director

As an agile, focused and collaborative team player Raul strives to consistently take a holistic approach and make an impact with each networking experience and partnership forged.


With 15+ years of experience in sales strategy, application sales, and relationship management, he excels at solving complex business challenges through data-driven insights, superior customer service, and relevant Salesforce expertise.


As a former trusted advisor at Certinia and Salesforce, Raul has successfully implemented strategies that drive revenue, align business units, engage target audiences, strengthen brand image, maximize productivity, develop people, transform processes, and improve overall customer experience, showcasing his commitment to clients, partners, and colleagues.

Michael Kelly

Engagement Director & Head of Project Management

Michael, with a background in project financial management and analysis, has spent over a decade in various project management roles. Leading clients, project teams, and fellow project managers, he ensures successful project deliveries and implementations. Michael’s PMP Certification enables him to stay current with the latest industry standards and project management practices.


Passionate about his field and role, Michael finds fulfillment in successful projects, tangible results, and meeting client needs.


Throughout his experience in engagement management Michael has successfully led over 25 clients, projects, and go-lives. He has overseen a project budget portfolio of $25 million per year, managing 21 separate project engagement efforts concurrently for his client base. In his career, Michael has hired, trained, and personally managed a team of over 50 project managers.


He has also contributed to the development and training of new agile project methodologies in multiple companies.


Currently, at VFP, Michael has played a crucial role in implementing the new agile methodology across all active projects for their client base in 2023.

Greg Plaisance

Managing Consultant

Throughout his career at VFP, Greg has progressed from the role of Consultant to Senior Consultant and currently serves as a Managing Consultant.


With 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, Greg possesses a diverse skill set that spans Retail Banking, Post Audit, and Consulting. He holds 3 Salesforce certifications and 2 Certinia certifications, showcasing his expertise in areas such as Accounting, Revenue Recognition, Billing, and leadership strategy. Greg’s extensive background equips him with a deep understanding of financial processes, enabling him to offer valuable insights and guidance to clients within the industry.


Passionate about process improvement, efficiency, and leadership he helps companies by managing the systems that support their core objectives, allowing them to focus on their key goals.


Greg aims to build VFP into a premier consulting firm that is highly sought-after by both clients and professionals as a desirable place to work.

Kristin Hubbard

Managing Consultant

Kristin, a seasoned Salesforce and Certinia professional since 2011 specializes in Financial Management, specifically focusing on areas such as Billing, Revenue, and Accounting.


With a degree in Accounting, Kristin began her career as a Billing Specialist, where she actively contributed to the implementation of Salesforce and Certinia, showcasing her problem-solving skills and passion for process improvement.


Recognizing her abilities, she transitioned to the role of Certinia Administrator, playing a crucial role in the system’s global rollout. Later, as a Business Systems Manager, she assumed responsibility for the entire Salesforce platform. Motivated by her love for the job and a desire to help multiple organizations, Kristin pursued consulting, specializing in Certinia ERP and leading consultant teams for approximately eight years.


Since 2018, she has played a vital role in planning and executing the Florida Dreamin event. Recognized as a Salesforce MVP in 2023, she holds 7 Salesforce and 1 Certinia certification, demonstrating her expertise and dedication to growth.


Kristin understands the value of embracing technology and streamlining processes to reduce costs and enhance profitability. With expertise in Salesforce and Certinia, she guides organizations to implement efficient systems, optimize operations, and achieve financial success.

Ty alibhai

Managing Consultant

Ty is a seasoned consulting leader who has focused his experience over the last 15 years on the Salesforce platform and solutions in its ecosystem. He brings 20+ years of business knowledge, consulting experience, and a knack for successful Salesforce and Certinia implementations in the quote-to-cash space. Ty has successfully implemented technology solutions such as Salesforce and Certinia to over 100+ customers over his career and has led/managed consultant teams of 5-10 people.


Graduating from UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School and with a strong background in Computer Science, he launched his career in technology consulting. He focused his career on the Salesforce platform after experiencing success at Salesforce in the early 2000s and growing that knowledge with consulting partners the latter half of his career. His knowledge spans multiple industries, solutions, and market segments from SMB to Enterprise level experience.


As part of his role at VFP, he effectively manages a team of consultants, empowering them to achieve their career objectives. He also leads project teams and ensures the seamless adoption of technology, thereby driving client success at VFP.


Driven by a strong desire to make a positive impact on customers’ lives by simplifying their experience with new systems he excels as a leader, mentoring consultants and guiding project teams to successful outcomes.

Nick Anderson

Managing Consultant

A global Salesforce and Certinia consulting and implementation leader, Nick is an expert in his field with more than 8 years of experience on the platform, specializing in Quote to Cash and Professional Services Automation best practices.


With a focus on mid-market and enterprise accounts, Nick brings a deep knowledge of best practices to all aspects of client projects including change management, business process documentation & improvement, system configuration, revenue recognition and managed services.


With an extensive background in International Business and PSA solutions, Nick is the driving force behind the VFP consultants, helping the team tap into their full potential in order to deliver excellent results.


Never one to back down from a challenge, Nick embraces his ever-changing environment and encourages customers to do the same as a way to drive further success down the road. He stresses the importance of clear communication and building strong working relationships in order to effectively articulate a vision for the future of a business.


Using his own years of consulting experience as a touchstone, Nick’s focus is on developing talent and ushering in customer success for the VFP team across the board.

Doug Johnston

Chief Operating Officer

Building scalable large-capacity services teams in enterprise environments for more than 25 years, Doug is focused on operational excellence and builds high-quality and high-growth companies and teams.  

As COO, Doug’s responsibilities encompass overseeing all facets of customer services including a Project Management team, internal operations, and a team of expert consultants. His primary focus lies in fostering a high-performing team and culture, guiding its development, providing support, and offering coaching to optimize efficiency.

Doug’s diverse experiences in industries including software services, government, private sector, medical, and beyond have led to the development of a global team, overseeing projects ranging from small initiatives to multi-million dollar implementations and long-term relationships with clients.

With unwavering determination, Doug strives to establish a top-tier consulting firm in collaboration with VFP’s CEO, Stephanie Taylor. Together they shared a vision that transcends software implementation, aiming to provide value, challenge conventions, and leverage expertise for optimal outcomes. Though strategies shift with growth, the core objective of building an exceptional company remains a constant in Doug’s journey. 

Doug joined VFP in its infancy, with a goal to grow the team and scale the operation – which is now doubling year over year, based on a passion for people matched with a deep sense of purpose. With 2x INC5000 placements under 1000, team growth of more than 10,000%, high customer success ratings and stability within the team, his leadership has proved vital to positive growth and long term stability for VFP. 

Stephanie Taylor

Chief Executive Officer

A sought-after leader with a 20+ year history working with global Fortune 500 companies, Stephanie is a business process expert with a deep and well-recognized expertise in the Salesforce and Certinia ecosystems, with a focus on Quote-to-Cash, ERP, CRM, and Financial Management.


Stephanie founded VFP Consulting to offer companies with access to a 360 approach to not just implementing but managing their technology investments over time, from aligning people, process and product needs to long term management that maximizes the investment and fuels growth and business needs over time. 


Front-line experience overseeing 100+ projects and relationships with diverse clients, from mid-market enterprises to billion-dollar enterprises, Stephanie’s expertise spans high-growth businesses, private equity, mergers and acquisitions across various industries. Her leadership at VFP places a premium on the core values behind the name – Vision, Focus, and Passion.