Culturati Summit 2022: Who was there?
By Annie Parmelly, Culturati Team
This year we hosted our in-person Culturati Summit at Campus on Lake Austin for 153 attendees representing 43 cities across 17 states and 4 countries. Our deliberately intimate, invite-only guest list facilitated meaningful interactions and valuable connections among the top thought-leaders in business. The collaborative energy was palpable, and we received inspiring feedback from our members who participated. Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLab, was particularly exuberant:
“I wanted to run through a brick wall when I departed Culturati Summit. The organizers assemble a brilliant set of operators and thinkers who generously and transparently share challenges, encouragement, and inspiration. I formed real connections — partners to build the future of work with.”
So who are the brilliant operators and thinkers we invited?
In short, they’re the change-makers. Almost 60% of the 2022 attendees are CEOs, Founders, Presidents, Managing Partners or other C-Suite executives. Some of the companies represented at this level include; Dallas Mavericks, Microsoft, Indeed, McKinsey & Company, Visa, Dell Technologies, NI, Best Buy, H-E-B, Intel, NXP Semiconductors, Kimberly-Clark, Huston-Tillotson University, LBJ Foundation, Texas Civil Rights Project, Upwork, UT Austin Dell Medical School, C3 Presents, The Chemours Company, Cushman & Wakefield, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, Hagerty, Silicon Labs, Outschool, Vox Media, and Levi Strauss & Co.
More change-makers, including venture capitalists, scholars, and other DEIB executives, took the other seats at the table. Some of the companies represented at these levels include Workday, Hagerty, De Beers Group, Great-West Lifeco, NXP Semiconductors, Schlumberger, United Road, Google, and The University of Texas at Austin.
Members of the media were present, including David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times, Ellen McGirt, Senior Editor of Fortune, as well as the CEOs for Vox Media, IndieFlix, C3 Productions, and more.
This mix of perspective between top decision-makers, educators and other game-changers not only illuminated discrepancies in identifying issues or opportunities within an organization, but also allowed for cross- industry collaboration. Sharing our playbooks and war stories across industries, even across geographies sometimes brings unexpected, valuable perspectives.
This year’s in-person attendee list was more diverse than ever 54% women and 30% POC, plus a meaningful representation of LGBTQ+ individuals. While we’re a slice of corporate c-suite, we see the value and immediacy of amplifying all voices and continue to work on diversity both in our audience as well as our programming. In the words of keynote speaker Cynt Marshall,
“If you really do have a diverse workplace where every voice matters and every person belongs, it is writ that you are more profitable as a business.”
We believe this applies to our Culturati community as well. Our member companies are global leaders in inclusive hiring practices, and part of our mission is to facilitate a space for them to share their playbooks and build for a new era of workplace culture. In an effort to share the discoveries made at the in-person summit to a wider audience, we also hosted an open-invitation Virtual Culturati Summit in June and welcomed almost 600 attendees via the platform Hubilo. (But more on that later.)
Our speaker and moderator demographics were similar to the in-person attendee data: 57% were CEOs or C-suite executives, 15% were scholars or writers, 14% specialized in DEI, and 14% were Directors or Managers. Forty-nine percent of our speakers were women and 34% were POC. Keynote Speakers included Cynt Marshall, CEO Dallas Mavericks; Dr. Brooke Weddle, Partner McKinsey & Company; Dr. Bill Schaninger, Senior Partner McKinsey & Company; Amy Coleman, Corporate Vice President HR, Microsoft; David Brooks, NYT’s columnist & author and Andrea Alexander, Chief People Officer, Rent the Runway. Breakout session leaders included Chris Hyams, CEO Indeed; Ellen McGirt, Senior Editor Fortune; Jim Breyer, Founder & CEO Breyer Capital; Tom Meredith, Partner Brightstar Capital Partners and Kathy Farmer, VP Global Benefits Levi Strauss and more.
Company, Location & Industry
There were 94 companies represented at the in-person Culturati 2022, totaling an employee reach of almost 2 million people. Forty-one percent were Public companies, 48% were Private and 11% were Nonprofits. The largest were Microsoft, H-E-B, Dell Technologies, Google, Intel, Best Buy, and Schlumberger; though almost half of the companies represented have fewer than 500 employees. We’ve discovered over the years that building culture is scalable: while not every playbook works for every company, many of the fundamental elements required for real and sustainable change remain the same.
The top three cities represented at Culturati Summit were Austin, Texas; Seattle, Washington and New York, New York. Not surprisingly, given this information and our past event demographics, the top industry represented was the Technology sector (31%); followed by Business Consulting (16%), Industrial (10%) and Nonprofit (8%). Other industries included Academia, Entertainment & Hospitality, Financial, Law, Marketing, Media, Investment, Real Estate, and Retail.
We had almost 600 attendees sign up for Virtual Culturati on June 6 & 7 this year. There was an overwhelming turnout of women (61%) for the online event and we reached attendees from the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.
Two Culturati members — both former Fellows — flew in from opposite ends of the country to serve as live emcees and broadcast from Capital Factory. Savannah Barker, Head of People at Untapped (San Diego) and Suraj Hinduja, Managing Director at RTRX (Columbus) brought valued insight and energy, and were a hit with our virtual attendees. Additionally, we produced new sessions from Phil Kirshner of McKinsey and Company and Raj Patel, Research Professor at UT Austin to complement our in-person programming pillars: Future of Work, The Great Resignation and Civil Discourse; and throughlines: Social Capital, Belonging in DE&I, Mental Health Crisis and CEO as Chief Communicator. Here is one survey response regarding the programming of the virtual event:
“Most virtual conferences I’ve been to lacked the coherence of programming that Culturati had — while the topics felt diverse, it didn’t feel like a “grab bag” — instead, it felt like the sessions built on each other and complement each other well.”
Ultimately the Virtual Culturati Summit was well-received and leaves us hopeful for our rapidly-evolving digital future. Sessions were viewed over 1600 times during the live event. We saw an additional 325 views across Hubilo and YouTube on recorded sessions in the remainder of June, and (as of publication date) we saw another 135 views in July.
Culturati: On Demand
The ideas exchanged over the course of the in-person and virtual summits were truly “run-through-the-wall” inspiring, and we expect these sessions to live on with our newest initiative, Culturati: On Demand. We are providing all of the 2022 in-person and virtual programming as well as our entire catalog of content since our inception for free to our Culturati members. So lace up your sneakers and stay tuned.