Culture

Building a Global, Purpose-Driven Outsourcing Organization

David Sudolsky

When you hear the word Boldr, your mind doesn’t jump to, “Boeing Online Diagnostic Reporting,” but that’s where our name comes from.

My father, an Aerospace Engineer, spent his career patenting a revolutionary design that captures real-time diagnostic information about airplane health status. The connection to where we are today may not seem obvious. His patent isn’t related to Purpose-Driven Outsourcing nor did its premise captivate my mind as a young child.

So what did?

 

my father the original boldr and my brother mikey and me
My father, “the original Boldr” and my brother Mikey and me.


Growing up, any time I asked for a material item, my father’s response would be, “We will get it when the Boldr patent comes through.” My brother and I became obsessed with this patent that would solve all of our problems, and most importantly, get us that remote control car. This patent became a central pillar in our home, a gauge of stability, and its success was, at times, a leading indicator of my father’s own happiness. As my brother and I grew older, my father shared more about his work, asking us to read articles submitted for publication or wanting our feedback on a recent patent presentation. This provided a front row seat to my father’s innovative mind, grit, and passion. To me, he was an omnipotent force. He patented his vision, and was bold in his persistence. And he invited us to play a role in Boldr.

In 2017, at 26-years-old, I started my own business, and I wanted to pick up where my father’s dream left off. My father was instrumental in forming my worldview. He showed me the energy and focus required to build something you fundamentally believe can have an impact. He was a model for true perseverance in the face of adversity and (sometimes shitty) corporate politics. He stayed optimistic and never stopped asking questions; always fueled by potential.

In homage to my father and all that he taught, and all that he built, my business needed to be called Boldr.

Our First Outsourcing Office in Manila

In 2011, studying International Business in Hong Kong allowed my worldview to continue evolving and expanding. Asia’s economy was exploding, and I wanted to be a part of it. By 2013, the Philippines ranked one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Outsourcing was one of the greatest contributors to this economic surge; I didn’t yet realize it would also become a fundamental drive of my career.

I first traveled to the Philippines back in 2013 for an International Logistics Company. Collaborating with creative individuals and Manila’s driven community was inspiring. As a privileged Mexican-American entering another culture’s developing sphere, the wealth inequality and lack of resources was oppressive and heartbreaking. This juxtaposition of brilliance and scarcity highlighted that talent is equally distributed, but the freedom to exercise it is not. Like my father, I fundamentally believed I could make an impact on the community level.

What started as a three-week trip became a six-year journey. I moved to Manila and immersed myself in the outsourcing world. With my mentor and close friend, Jeff Bauer, we laid foundations for our own outsourcing business.

The work and the adjustment were challenging. At first, to be honest, Manila and I didn’t vibe. I was isolated from loved ones, pushed outside of my comfort zone, and forced to navigate the uncertainty of my environment. For the first time, I was creating something out of nothing on my own. It was in these moments of discomfort that I channeled my father’s grit and perseverance to work toward building my own Boldr.

our very first office in the philippines had front row seats to the most beautiful sunsets
Our very first office in the Philippines had front row seats to the most beautiful sunsets.

The Next Evolution of Outsourcing: Purpose-Driven, Impact-Focused

Jeff and I spent months conceptualizing this ever-expanding industry, and asking ourselves what was missing. When building our model, trial and error was our daily grind, and we struggled to grow our business. After three years of working on this initial venture, we capitalized on helping companies streamline internal processes through outsourcing. Though our business found its footing and gained momentum, something still wasn't right.

Our approach lacked a conscience.

My father’s approach to innovation taught me to delve deeper, question everything, and work from the bottom up. Yes, we paid our team members a fair market salary, but we lacked a unified culture and well-defined purpose to align team members with the executive team. We could justify our work to ourselves, but we were still extracting more from the economy and the people than we were returning. Our approach lacked a conscience, and reflected all that was wrong with outsourcing.

Related Read: Evolution of Business Process Outsourcing: From Tactical to Human-Centric

When I discussed these systematic cultural and value-driven changes with Jeff, he was on board. We had clarity and felt excited about the path forward. Unfortunately, shortly after this conversation, Jeff passed away suddenly. Excitement quickly turned into utter devastation. Overnight, I had lost my friend, my mentor, my partner.

me and jeff my business partner and sous chefMe and Jeff Bauer, my business partner/sous chef.

I spent most of my professional career working with Jeff. Our collaboration was defined by a balance of working hard and incorporating fun at all times. He taught me how to live fully and with intention. While my father and his teachings developed my instincts and drive, I can undoubtedly say that Jeff co-piloted me onto my current path. Since Jeff’s passing, I think of him daily and reflect on my gratitude for his contributions to my personal and professional development.

I needed to continue the ethos of our partnership, carry out our shared vision, and build the Boldr of our dreams.

I had never thought about the idea of one's legacy before Jeff's passing. Until this point, my biggest motivator was financial gain. I was “waiting for the Boldr patent to go through,” measuring success through the money in my pocket or the remote control car. Exposure to the fragility of life allowed me to engage with my own core values as a person. I used this self-exploration to fuel Boldr's vision: helping people grow and connect.

Related Read: Go Beyond Expectations with a Purpose-driven Business Model

With four years of living in the Philippines under my belt, I reconnected with the inequality and lack of opportunity that originally pulled me to Manila. Boldr had an opportunity to play a role in bettering the community.

Being Boldr: A Mission-Driven Outsourcing Company

Through connecting the personal to the professional, the question shifted from, "how can we infiltrate the outsourcing market?" to "how can outsourcing do better for its Company, Clients, and Community?" I created a new team and gave the name Boldr new purpose. We continued asking questions, “how can we make outsourcing better?” “If you owned a BPO, what would you do differently?” “What investments would you like to see in your local community?” From these conversations, we learned the significance of giving back and reinvesting in education for Manila’s youth. We defined core values and tied them together with a purpose: Curious, Authentic, Dynamic. The purpose? To help people grow and connect.

core values


Boldr's growth in this value system would not have been possible without the support of three major players: Redwood, Level5, and Interfolio. These companies believed in Boldr’s mission, and in me, as a newly-minted CEO to get us there. They not only gifted support and mentorship, but also graciously provided three months' advance for our services. I will be eternally grateful to Al Reynolds, Chris Kenny, and Steve Goldenberg for their friendship, support and generosity.

At Boldr, we’ve invested heavily into our People and Community by hiring HR, Learning and Development, and Impact leaders since inception. We’ve prioritized giving back to our Community and working to improve our team members’ overall experiences.

The best part? Our model works. Our retention is 4x better than our competitors’, and our employee engagement scores continue to rise above and beyond expectations. We’ve experienced rapid growth since Day 1, and our existing Clients continue to be the leading source of new business.

day 1 selfie
Day 1: Team Selfie

Our Rule of 3: From 3 Clients to 300 Team Members in 3 Years

From the time my father minted the Boldr name, to now, three years into Boldr’s growth, I have learned that personal and professional success is driven from living in accordance with one’s values. By incorporating my father’s passion and focus, I hope to embody his innovation, perseverance, and work tirelessly to achieve impact. By remaining Curious, Dynamic, and Authentic, Boldr fosters connection and growth with Company, Clients, and Community -- and continues to honor Jeff’s influence and legacy.

Boldr always was, and will continue to be more than a name. Boldr holds my family’s dreams and my extended family’s spirit, giving me all the fuel needed to fly.

If you’re interested in working with us or want to learn more, simply reach out below.

32 Degrees Case Study

Curious to learn more?