Alumni Corner

The Dynamic of a Duo: Alums Grace Cha & Jason Ho

By: Jacob Wilkowsky (Cohort 19 alumnus)

For this edition of Alumni Spotlight, we highlight Grace Cha (Q24) and Jason Ho (Q24). Grace is a
Business Technology Analyst at Deloitte, and Jason is a Technology Analyst at Accenture, both in the
Washington D.C. metro area. Both Grace and Jason majored in Information Systems, graduated in 2017, and both are from Maryland. However, most importantly to the author, both were members of QUESTPress. By the end of their time as QUESTPress undergrads, Grace and Jason were Double Trouble, Thunder and Lightning,
Daft Punk, Peanut Butter & Jelly.

However, not only were Grace and Jason collaborative, they were super effective leaders—eventually assuming outsized roles as team matriarch and webmaster. In this Alumni Spotlight, I hope to sit down with Grace and Jason and identify what led to them being such a productive pair. I also want to ask them about their transition to industry and the team dynamics they now experience in their respective jobs. Without further ado, let’s dive in and explore the dynamic of a duo.

Can you list the top factors for any successful duo?

Grace

For me, humor is key— throwing jokes around and keeping things lighthearted. I work well with people
who make me feel comfortable – and if we can make each other laugh at the end of the day, it helps in
taking a step back and seeing the bigger picture in stressful situations.

Jason

A good duo requires empathy— being able to share each other’s viewpoint and synching up your
thoughts. When you’re acting as a duo, you’re acting as a more diverse individual.

Have you guys developed similar relationships in industry yet? If so, how did they develop?

Grace

In the consulting industry, you almost always work as part of a larger team. When I started at Deloitte, I
joined my team along with another new hire. My co-worker and I have a great dynamic, but we
definitely went through some “storming” before we got to establish that relationship. We worked on
nearly everything together in situations involving a lot of ambiguity, and as much as we got along as
people, we definitely argued over differences in opinions on how to approach solving complex
problems. However, through that storming, we got to learn and understand how we work as individuals
and our different strengths and weaknesses. Today, although we share many responsibilities, we
understand how to divide those responsibilities in a way that works best for the both of us.

Jason

On my project, I work with a lot of people at my level doing cross-functional work. At first, developing that
personal rapport and talking about life outside of work was important for me. Building trust and getting to
the point where you know you have each other’s back is critical.

Were there any boundaries created for you guys in terms of roles as a duo? If so, how were those
established?

Grace

By the time senior year came around, we were both really involved in QUEST. I think the beauty of
QUESTPress is that there weren’t any boundaries in terms of what type of articles to pursue or avenues
to improve QUESTPress. No one would shoot each other’s ideas down. For me and Jason, I know Jason
wanted to learn technical skills, so he worked on the website. I was interested in how to engage QUEST
as a community, so I started writing silly BuzzFeed-style articles. We pursued paths that catered to our
interests and played to our strengths and that created a good dynamic between the two us!

Jason

I wanted to facilitate the technical side of QUESTPress and make everything look nice, which is how I
carved out my role. We both bonded under Bobby Fitzgerald’s leadership as juniors and decided what
our roles were then. Earlier, when I joined as a sophomore, it was a situation where I wanted to become
as engaged as possible in the QUEST community. So I became involved in QUESTPress and QUEST
Recruiting without a seriously defined role.

In your current roles, are there any boundaries created for your role on your teams? If so, how were those established?

Grace

When you’re new to the team, you feel the boundary of being the “new guy.” You have to find out what
your role will be on the team and that means testing those initial boundaries and advocating for the
work that you want to know.

Jason

On my team, it was an interesting dynamic and harder for me to figure out at the beginning. My boss at
the time didn’t encourage as intimate a personal environment as I’m typically comfortable with.
However, when we broke into the personal sphere as a team, I really became more comfortable. What
helped establish a more personal environment was when we began to discuss our “highs and lows” as a
team. Talking about personal lives helped our team coalesce.

As a QUESTPress duo, what was your direction? How was it established?

Grace

Honestly, I joined QUEST because QUEST alum Jaimie Hsu recommended applying. It was intimidating as
a freshman because it was my first time going through a formal interview process and once I was
admitted, I didn’t know how I would measure up to all these overachievers. I thought, “How do I get
involved?” and I wanted to pick something that was fun. QUEST alum Bobby Fitzgerald lived on my floor
sophomore year and suggested QUESTPress. And the rest is history!

Jason

When I started in QUEST, I was a hungry individual and wanted to pursue as many opportunities to learn
as possible. I felt this pressure that if I didn’t give 100%, I’d be missing out. That sense of opportunity
drove me and the direction was less important. Being at QUESTCamp and hearing from leaders about
each organization helped funnel me to QUESTPress and QUEST Recruiting. I joined QUESTPress because
of the great vibe I got. Everyone was very chill. I joined QUEST Recruiting because I wanted to learn how
to speak with people, table, and persuade.

Similarly, how is your direction on your teams established in industry?

Grace

My team and role is for the most part self-driven. We might have some general guidance, but my
manager is generally hands-off. For me, I have trouble dealing with ambiguity, but that challenge has
placed me in a stretch role where I bring recommendations and ideas to the team. For instance, my
team creates data dashboards for our client, and I realized we weren’t tracking feature requests or issues
in a central place. I, then, implemented an agile approach that I learned in QUEST, and now serve
somewhat as a “scrum master” for each of our dashboard sprints. Because my team was open to these
suggestions, I was able to contribute a methodology that has benefited the organization of our team.

Jason

My experience is very similar to Grace’s. A lot of managers are hands-off and we are just put in a general
workflow. There was a period when I was twiddling my thumbs trying to figure out my place at the
beginning. For direction in my role, I keep sticky notes everywhere of all the issues and things that I can
improve. This gives me direction every day. My sticky notes create a trail of breadcrumbs for whenever I
complete a task and have bandwidth to pick something else up.

Any last words on the key for successful teamwork?

Grace

Always find a person on your team who you have a good working relationship with that will vouch for you. If something goes down, you want to have someone who will advocate for your work.

Jason

It is hard to build a relationship just based solely on work. Communicate with other and build relationships that help you learn and establish trust within your organization.

Thank you so much to Grace and Jason for taking the time to speak with me. I first met this
dynamic duo four years ago when they were sophomores, and it is incredible the progress they’ve made
in their careers since. They touched on quite a few concepts in their responses, including the value of
trust, communication, drive, and role-development to name a few. Clearly, these are concepts they
explored as undergrads in QUEST. I can’t wait to see what you both accomplished together in the next
four years. The QUEST never ends!

Jason and other QUEST friends with Grace jumping into the picture 🙂

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