CEOs on Culture

CEOs, entrepreneurs, all of us have a million demands on our time. Why prioritize attending a Culturati event — whether the annual Summit or a quarterly Connect? A few member CEOs shared their reasons and what they have gotten from the experience.

Ellen Wood, President and CEO, vcfo

Why do you support Culturati?

Corporate culture is very important to the success of 21st century companies. For those of us who are baby boomer business owners, we have been on a steep learning curve in recent years. We are moving from the culture we started with when we entered the work force 30+ years ago, which was generally very regimented, inflexible, and not at all philanthropic, to the priorities of today’s work force. It’s been a refreshing journey, but still a journey.

What have you gotten out of Culturati?

I’ve heard a lot of diverse perspectives and gained thought provoking ideas and conversation.

What do you hope to get out of the next Culturati Summit?

More of the same.

Brett Hurt, CEO and Co-Founder, data.world

Why do you support Culturati?

I’ve been lucky enough to know about Culturati since it was just an idea that Eugene bounced off of me. It immediately resonated, of course. Company culture drives performance like nothing else. Culture is the “operating system” or foundation of a company’s success — you can’t achieve anything with the wrong foundation and without highly engaged team members. I focused more on culture at Bazaarvoice, my fifth startup, more than my prior four and the results speak for themselves. We went from $0 to over $100m in annual customer contract value in just six years from inception, capped off with a successful IPO, and we had $12.7m of the $23m we raised in the bank when we went public.

What have you gotten out of Culturati?

The braintrust at Culturati is truly impressive. Some of the best CEOs and Chief People Officers attend and we share cultural ideas with each other. One important trait to having a thriving culture is to always be learning from others. Eugene and his team have put together a very impressive event — it has becoming the defining event on company culture in the nation.

What do you hope to get out of the next Culturati Summit?

More sharing of great cultural ideas and challenges. More roundtables and more connection. The bar is set high due to the amazing prior events.

Marsh Lavenue, President and CEO, INTERA Incorporated

Why do you support Culturati?

I support Culturati because of the direct applicability of the current trends, concepts and best practices that are discussed during the summit. I have put several ideas gleaned from the Culturati Summit into practice at INTERA and the positive impacts have been significant.

What have you gotten out of Culturati?

The Culturati Summit has expanded my awareness and understanding of corporate cultures in a wide range of industries. It has also broadened my relationships with local business leaders who are crafting high performance, intentional corporate cultures. The actions I have taken since my first Culturati Summit have led to a significant increase in our employee engagement driven in large part to the reaffirmation of our corporate values, the restatement of expected behaviors and mutual expectations and the intentional baselining of cultural metrics that indicate how well we, as a company, are walking the talk.

What do you hope to get out of the next Culturati Summit?

Last year, the presentation by Andy Fleming, a contributing author to “An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization” really spoke to me and where we are headed as a company. The role recruiting and onboarding plays in assimilating new employees into our company’s culture is really key. Over the next 6 months we are developing INTERA 101 for all current and all future hires as an essential part of our onboarding process. It will be a one or two day indoctrination to our corporate history, our values, our culture and our why. In this year’s Culturati Summit, I hope to build on what I learned last year and expand my awareness of best practices regarding the enhancement and sustainability of corporate culture.

Mark McClain, CEO and Founder, SailPoint Technologies

Why do you support Culturati?

As a company founder and CEO, I have always agreed with the Peter Drucker quote “Culture eats Strategy for breakfast”. Culturati is focused on sharing ideas and encouraging leaders to intentionally develop and strengthen their organizational culture. The exchange of ideas and the quality of attendees makes Culturati well worth the investment of time and money.

What have you gotten out of Culturati?

The value of Culturati is both in the concrete ideas I’ve picked up from other leaders regarding their implementation of cultural improvements (communication, diversity, etc.), as well as the rlationships with other leaders who care about culture, and can serve as a resource and a sounding board as new issues or possibilities arise.

What do you hope to get out of the next Culturati Summit?

More of the same. New ideas. New relationships. Better leadership ideas for me and my team.

Jay B. Sauceda, CEO and Founder, Sauceda Industries, LLC

Why do you support Culturati?

We feel that without culture, we have no company. We like associating with and learning from other companies that feel the same way.

What have you gotten out of Culturati?

The connections with other companies that have the same values as us have been invaluable.

What do you hope to get out of the next Culturati Summit?

The challenges of keeping culture true to our company values change year to year and we look forward to hearing how other companies are staying ahead.

Dustin Wells, CEO, Headspring and Co-Founder, Workify

Why do you support Culturati?

I believe a strong culture is critical the the success of any organization. I support Culturati because they bring curated content and members to the table from which I can learn. It’s great to be around like-minded leaders.

What have you gotten out of Culturati?

Culturati has been a great connection to best practices. Specifically, following last year’s event, we are working towards becoming “deliberately developmental”. Learning and development has been a big focused for us this past year and will be a key part of our future.

What do you hope to get out of the next Culturati Summit?

I really loved the casual set-up last year and the break out sessions. I prefer the smaller conversations over the large-room panels. Less panels and more conversations. Also, I really enjoy the CEO dinners.

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Culturati Team

Culturati Team

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Culturati is a community of CEOs, entrepreneurs, investors and other c-suite leaders who practice & study culture building and share our play books.