Q&A with Hugh Forque: General Manager, Houston
Our Houston leader dishes on his new hobby, the recipe for a thriving company culture, and what makes Houston so unique.
What attracted you to Slalom?
After spending 20+ years working in the consulting industry, Slalom felt different to me. From my first conversations, I could sense the level of commitment the team felt for each other and their clients. The ability to live, work, play, and serve in the same community while still having access to Slalom’s global capabilities was a game changer. Slalom offered a unique opportunity to help solve some of our client’s biggest problems while sleeping in my own bed at night.
What makes the Houston business community unique?
For one, I’m not aware of any other city where one industry plays such a dominant role in the community. With that concentration, the business community in Houston can feel smaller than it is, and reputation is critical. Therefore, we must be very deliberate about how we treat our people and how we deliver for our clients. Those that don’t follow through on their commitments will struggle to find their footing in this town.
What have you been hearing from clients lately? Any overarching themes or trends?
In all my years of serving customers in Houston, I can tell you that we’re in a time unlike any other. Our clients are being asked to optimize their core business while addressing the next generation of opportunities. It’s a tough balancing act. Those that strike the right formula of “now vs. next” will win the day.
From a trend standpoint, generative AI is making its way into most conversations these days. It’s incredibly exciting to see some of the early work we’re doing with our clients. During a recent customer event, one of our experts revealed that generative AI will be more impactful than any other technology in our lifetime. While exciting, we must explore impactful and responsible ways to unleash this new evolution in technology.
As you think about the next five years in Houston, what are your goals? What are you most excited about?
With an energy super-cycle on the horizon and an enormous amount of new capital being infused through the world’s energy transition efforts, Houston is primed for unprecedented change and growth. Slalom Houston will invest in solutions, talent, and partnerships to support us through this exciting chapter. Our team is excited for the challenge and opportunity to play a material part in helping Houston thrive in the new world.
We’re seeing significant growth locally in our partnerships with our clients in various industries. Houston is more diverse than most realize and the opportunity to serve a variety of sectors is appealing to our team—and we’re excited to see these partnerships grow.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Control what you can control and don’t give the other stuff too much of your energy.
What’s your favorite Slalom core value and why?
Do what is right, always. If we stay true to that value, we can assure bright futures for our people, our customers, and our community. I’m also very fond of Stay humble and curious. Its value translates well in any business or organization.
What makes a company culture thrive?
People must feel safe and included for any company culture to thrive. Those cultures that find a way to create meaningful opportunities for its people will be the most successful—and you better let them have fun doing it!
How do you recharge outside of work?
I enjoy a good meal with my family, take a beach or mountain vacation, and play golf. I recently started practicing yoga, which has been quite humbling!