July Culturati Magazine

Reminding myself: “… one thing is certain, when you come out of this storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about.” — Haruki Murakimi, Kafka on the Shore

While managing through this chaos, we have to simultaneously keep our eye on emergence. Regarding managing through the chaos, recall Jeremy Hunter’s three principles of awareness and practice of managing to the Green Zone.

Popspot’s Caitlyn Conner (also a Culturati Fellow and the Entrepreneurs Foundation’s former program manager) shares her story, Reconnecting and Supporting Employees During Prolonged Crisis. She notes that while team engagement is at an all-time high (Gallup May 2020), more employees are struggling with their mental, social, and financial wellbeing. I love her suggestions: Give Everyone a Nudge, Don’t Skip (or Skimp) the Celebrations, Re-evaluate the Benefits You’re Communicating, and Start Listening.

Notley — our friends Dan & Lisa Graham established this holding company as an engine for social good, accelerating innovative ideas to change the world. They leverage the profits of traditional investments in real estate, venture funds, startups and donations to fund their growing community efforts across various sectors of need. I’m proud to be joining Notley as an Advisor. And, this month, we’re proud to feature announcements about the launching of two Notley initiatives — Notley Tide and Get Shift Done.

Notley Partner Kelli Mason writes about Notley Tide as a way to provide sustained support for 5 race & social justice organizations, an answer for the need to do something in the midst of our commitment to ending police violence against Black Americans and to finally commit to equal opportunity and justice for all Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual preference or religions — how cool was the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ including transgender people from employment discrimination btw? We’re also committed to helping our corporate partners build more inclusive hiring practices, lead regular allyship trainings, and provide their employees with meaningful ways to lend their professional skills to racial justice work. More about Notley Tide here.

Lawton Cummings, also a Notley Partner, leads our HomeFront initiative, and she’s just launched Get Shift Done, a program to keep Austin workers working, provide income and feed families. It connects underemployed and furloughed hospitality workers with food banks who need volunteers, and pays the workers for their time with donated funds. Lawton write about the program here.

Culturati Fellow Mitch McKay writes about the roll out of Culturati Network, Culturati’s Linkedin platform to help connect Culturati members with a talented pool of applicants who value corporate culture. Now more than ever, Culturati members’ talent & experience prioritizing culture and employee engagement are critical. We’re hoping the Culturati Network will further connections, collaboration, and help grow exceptional teams.

Through Capital Factory, I’ve been sitting in virtual roundtables with Black entrepreneurs & founders. Joshua Baer is viscerally committed to leading in Austin in helping break the barriers of diversity and inclusion in Austin’s tech startup world. I’ve been impressed how many Black founders in Texas are part of Capital Factory. We are launching a Black Founders Meetup hosted by CF director Marcus Carey and Josh has announced another $100k Black founders challenge. My other best friend Josh (Jones-Dilworth) recently hosted a roundtable of Austin CEOs to develop strategies and priorities to address Austin’s racial inequities. Josh Jones-Dilworth also chairs DivInc, a tech incubator serving primarily female and BIPOC entrepreneurs with a mission to bridge the gap between underrepresented entrepreneurs and the resources they need to build profitable, high-growth companies.

I’m deeply disturbed by a statistic shared with me by my friend Joah Spearman. Joah says not more than 20 Black entrepreneurs in America have raised more than $5 million from venture capitalists. He excludes Black entrepreneurs partnered with White or Asian co-founders. This is an abhorrent statistic. While I haven’t been able to verify the number, to everyone I’ve asked who I trust to know, they find it credible. More on this in future issues of Culturati Magazine.

In today’s Austin City Council meeting, Mayor Adler has invited epidemiologists to address how we can reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 in Austin to manageable levels so that we might reopen businesses, even schools in the fall. We already know it will require much better mask & social distancing compliance than we’ve practiced under Governor Abbott’s April reopening. Look for Mayor Adler to devise a 35-day plan.

Finally, I’m honored to have been voted in as Chair of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Advisory Board during yesterday’s meeting. It’s the toughest environment the travel & hospitality industry has experienced in decades. We’re lucky to have such an outstanding staff at ABIA.

Please . . . wear masks, socially distance & stay safe.


Eugene Sepulveda

Eugene Sepulveda is the co-founder of Culturati® as well as the CEO of the Entrepreneurs Foundation, a director & partner in Capital Factory, and the Treasurer & a Sr. Advisor to Austin Mayor Steve Adler. Eugene’s long played at the intersection of business, politics and community in Austin and nationally. He can be reached at Eugene@ABPorter.org




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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.

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