December’s Culturati Magazine

We’re over the top about the 2019 Summit speakers announced so far: Candi Castleberry Singleton, Twitter; Grace Zuncic, Chobani; Kelli Mason, New Knowledge; Mayerland Harris, H-E-B, Inc.; Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema; Kelly McGinnis, Levi Strauss & Co.; Ethan Burris, The University of Texas/Google & Microsoft Scholar; Kelly White, The SAFE Alliance; Holly Ensign-Barstow, B Lab; Josh Levine, CULTURE LABx; Mark McClain, SailPoint; Jerry Davis, Goodwill; Saneel Radia, R/GA; Tyson Tuttle, Silicon Labs — and there’s probably another 20 or so very nearly ready to be announced — but geez, logistics and protocols have sure become more complicated in our fourth year from our first. Anyhow . . . you can see their bios and updates as we release them on the Culturati website at

This issue of Culturati Magazine brings to mind the very personal nature of culture — even organizationally. While most cultures today are less top down, there’s no doubt the CEO’s personal style & biases can be the most impactful contributors.

My friend Raj Neogy, a Silicon Valley-based executive coach — as well as an alum of Adobe and Facebook—in this month’s Culturati Magazine writes about the importance of emotional intelligence and postulates that CEOs usually thrive at left hemisphere brain functions such as evaluating, comparing, measuring, problem-solving and advice giving, rather than right hemisphere activity such as creativity, spatial, fantasy and emotional. I haven’t seen the data supporting this conclusion but I’m especially interested in the notion of exercising the right sphere functions since we all get more than enough left sphere exercise on a daily basis.

I met Raj at another culture gathering this summer. Her presentation on the neurobiology of team dynamics was riveting. It confirmed so many observations over the years — even my 1992 employee bill of rights: You have the right to: 1) belong, 2) be safe, 3) be seen and heard, 4) make a difference, 5) be loved. You should sign up for her session at the 2019 Culturati Summit.

The culture gathering where I met Raj was hosted by Jerry Wagner, founder of the Culture Ambassadors. Jerry’s become a friend and we’ve formed an alliance between his organization and Culturati. He’s contributed Company Culture Gardening: Real Example Behavioral Practices to this month’s issue. Thomas Kayser (President, Kayser Associates and former manager of organization effectiveness, Xerox Corporation) writes about behavioral practices as shared values, focusing on 5 areas where it’s critical we define acceptable, expected practices: Communications, Mutual Respect, Collaboration & Trust, Decision-Making and Business Operations.

This month’s CEO profile is Ryan Schmid, President & CEO, Vera Whole Health. Ryan reflects on mission & purpose.

And, Candice Hahn’s a new culturati member. She runs the Austin office of RG/A and attended her first culturati event, a dinner at my house, this summer. I asked her to reflect on culture and Austin. I like her observation on Austin’s DNA in Experiencing Austin’s Homegrown Culture.

If you haven’t yet registered for Culturati Summit 2019 and have received an invitation you should — registration costs increase to $2,000 in January. If you haven’t received an invitation but you are an executive with authority, responsibility and spend over culture, email me if you’d like an invite.

It doesn’t escape our notice that the NACD’s public company governance survey finds that Board oversight of corporate culture is more robust than last year. “Not only do directors report a solid understanding of management’s tone at the top, but they also are developing a better grasp of culture at the middle and lower levels of the organization.”

We’re not only over-the-top excited about programming but also about our breakout year in sponsorships including: Equinor, NACD, Bazaarvoice, Capital Factory, DLA Piper, JDI, Vista Equity Partners, Atlassian, Culture Ambassadors, Google, Hagerty, National Instruments, New Waterloo, Notley Ventures, SailPoint, Silicon Labs, SXSW, Texas Capital Bank, USAA and WeWork. Of course, we’re always appreciative of our founding sponsors: Bill & Cyndi Bock, Jason Cohen, Ron Favron, Alan Gilmer, Dan & Lisa Graham, Greg Henry, Bret Hurt, Gerardo Interiano, Liz & Josh Jones-Dilworth, Mark McClain, John Robinson & Sharon Schweitzer, Autumn Rich, Eugene Sepulveda & Steven Tomlinson, Dustin Wells and Ellen Wood.

Our programming team (Josh Jones-Dilworth, Liz Jones-Dilworth, Rebecca Ewing, Jen Spencer, Lauren Russo and Caitlyn Connor) will have put in well over 500 hours by the time we gather. Autumn Rich & Co’s team (Autumn, Claire Ruwwe, Michelle Alldredge & David Nowlan) also works on the Summit all year — Connect events, planning, invitations, publications, you name it . . . I’m hoping each of them have at least uninterrupted holidays, though I make no promises. Steven and I will be spending the holidays in Jerusalem, having booked an AirBNB in the orthodox hipster region of the city. Much to Steven’s displeasure, I’ll be online in the mornings.

Best wishes to you and yours for the happy holidays. Josh, Autumn and I and the entire Culturati team can’t wait to break bread (literally & figuratively) with everyone attending the Summit in just 52 days.

Eugene Sepulveda is the co-founder of Culturati as well as the CEO of the Entrepreneurs Foundation and a director & partner in Capital Factory. Eugene’s played at the intersection of business, politics and community in Austin and nationally for many years. He can be reached at



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Culturati Team

Culturati Team


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