Rick Martinez, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member from San Antonio, helps fellow entrepreneurs grow through coaching and training at therickmartinez.com. We asked Rick about his experience at the Inc. 5000 and what one of his biggest takeaways was. Here's what he had to say.

A funny thing happened to me on the way home from the Inc. 5000 conference as I reflected on and reviewed the pages of notes I took at this incredible gathering of entrepreneurial giants. (And when I say "giants," I'm not just speaking figuratively - have you seen Tony Robbins? He's really tall!) After three full days of celebrating America's fastest growing companies, I paused - all of the speakers I had seen and met were all outstanding, but I hesitated in identifying who was most influential to me.

One might think I'd wax poetic about the incredibly powerful session Tony Robbins gave, wowing us all with his insight into personal development and unleashing your full potential. Or perhaps I was most moved by Eric Ryan, the quirky co-founder of Method, who shared his tips and tricks for culture building and connecting with millennials. One might even think I chose Norm Brodsky, the street-smart veteran, entrepreneur and the columnist of an amazing business magazine.

Instead, I realized the most important and impactful person I met at the conference wasn't on the schedule; she was behind the desk. Rose was a staff member at the host hotel, and while Rose is a real person, she is also symbolic of the engine that made this all possible. She represents something pure, hopeful and energetic; as much as I enjoyed the conference and the sheer magnitude of the event, it was Rose and her passion to serve that put the bow on it.

Rose represented to me the grassroots energy that makes good companies great ones. Her smile was genuine, and her desire to go the extra mile for every single person she connected with was obvious. So why is this important? Why do people like Rose make companies great, and what is the true value they bring? While many companies bring employees in and then introduce them to a culture or a way of doing things, Rose was a match from the beginning. She was a "culture fit," and that's what makes people like her so special and companies like hers great.

A hire doesn't always have to be made on skillset, degrees, experience or any other "data" driven metric. Sometimes, the match is made by culture and that can be where the true value they bring is added. As a CEO, if I knew all my employees, partners and staff were of the caliber and quality of Rose, meaning they took care of the customer first, then I would stress and worry a lot less. And isn't that the best value ever for a CEO? Knowing your customers are being taken care of in your absence? I might argue it's truly invaluable.

I'll definitely have blogs to write for weeks about the event speakers, the ideas, the quotes and the conference itself. But overall, my experience at the Inc. 5000 event was incredible thanks in large part to Rose.

Published on: Oct 26, 2016