3 Questions with… Eugene Sepulveda, Culturati Summit

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Last month, Katy traveled to Austin to attend the Culturati Summit – the premiere culture event for corporate leaders – and was so impressed by the caliber of speakers and attendees alike. We had the chance to chat with Eugene Sepulveda, the co-founder of Culturati to find out more. See below for how you can attend the upcoming Virtual Culturati Summit.

Why did you start Culturati Summit?

For years, I’d been meeting with CEOs who were asking about cause-related marketing, brand reputation, recruitment & retention, and diversity & inclusion. I still remember telling my board of directors in 2012 that culture was becoming CEOs’ big question. By 2014 the frequency and urgency of these conversations led me and Josh Jones-Dilworth to bring our favorite CEOs together to share their playbooks and war stories. Our CEO “mini Summit” was so popular that we started Culturati in 2015.

What’s changed about culture in the past 2 years?

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated everything. During the last two years, we’ve spent more time with family, we’ve had less to spend our money on (except home remodeling, but let’s not go there), and we’ve been reflective about how we want to spend our time. We’ve learned to work remotely — many of us much more productively — and, we’ve missed physically interacting with others, especially for creativity & innovation.
So, we’re designing our offices to work like our old off-sites did: spaces where we gather to create, to innovate, to collaborate. We can write reports, perform research, and answer emails from anywhere. There are challenges maintaining cohesion, purpose and direction in our new hybrid work world. We discussed the latest research at Culturati last month. Microsoft and my friend Matthew Duncan, who leads their thought leadership on the future of work, are finding and publishing cutting-edge information on this.

What big takeaways did you have from the in-person Culturati event in April?

1) I knew we’d experienced the COVID pandemic lockdowns differently, but I hadn’t realized how wide the gulf was between executives, managers and front-line workers — nor how wide the gulf between men & women in each of those groups. Men, especially men in executive positions, should not extrapolate their experience on others. 

2) the importance (and quantifiability) of social capital to performance and happiness of our team members. McKinsey & Company is publishing results of their latest findings on social capital in the workplace. 

3) Again, the mental health crisis we’re experiencing. Kathy Farmer from Levi Strauss corralled me about this at Harvard’s SHINE Summit in November. So at Culturati Summit we brought together a panel of experts who spoke about the crisis of teen mental health exacerbated during the pandemic, discussing how we as employers must be prepared to support the families of our team members.

* Images courtesy of Culturati Summit 

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