September Culturati Magazine

As our governments fail us . . . companies are stepping up . . . . Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, Starbucks, Target,

H-E-B, Whataburger and Chipotle are among the national retailers that have banned the open carry (some any carry) of firearms in their stores. Walmart had previously stopped selling handguns and military-style rifles such as the AR-15, raised the age limit to 21 for the purchase of a firearms and ammunition, required a “green light” on a background checks rather than the federally required absence of a “red light,” and now videotapes all firearms sales. After the mass killing in their El Paso store, they’ve also discontinued the sale of short-barrel rifle ammunition and all handgun ammunition. Polls show well over 80% (most polls 90%) of Americans favor universal background checks for all gun sales, but today’s GOP leadership lacks the political courage to take minimal steps to end this epidemic of human slaughter ravaging our country — brands are taking a stand.

My dear friend, The University of Texas System’s Julie Goonewardene now serves as Chancellor Milliken’s Senior Advisor as well as the System’s Chief Talent and Innovation Officer. She’s been a confidant and supporter of Culturati since we launched. We sat down for a conversation on culture, leadership and purpose — we’ve included parts of this conversation in this month’s magazine. I especially remember one quote: “if the culture in a public sector organization lacks purpose, then you slide into a bureaucratic inertia.”

I’m struck by this graphic from Josh Bersin of Deloitte, HR In the Flow of Work. It’s included in O.C. Tanner’s report, 5 Culture Trends for 2019: What’s new in workplace culture. It’s the most succinct depiction of so much of what we talk about at Culturati events, the integration of facilitators enhancing workplace experience and workforce performance — integrating the tools to facilitate connectedness, recognition, collaboration and accomplishment. Purpose is next in this mix.

In a recent survey of Austin tech companies — 58% EF member companies — 100% of respondents agree culture building is a priority and all but one respondent considers purpose a priority, discusses it with other employees and stakeholders.

Overwhelmingly, executives feel purpose most drives team engagement — values comes in as number two, followed by mission, then vision. Interestingly, non-executive employees with responsibility for community engagement rated values first, then purpose.

Culturati fellow, Matt Wood (vcfo’s Controller), shares his perspective on competing for employees with multinationals by offering personalized and meaningful workplace experiences — read David vs Goliath: Small Businesses Competing for Talent in this month’s issue.

We announced last month Stuart Crabb, Facebook’s former global head of learning, as a keynote speaker at the 2020 Culturati Summit. Thought I’d share his piece, I am a Human Being — Not a Human Doing. I love Stuart’s reminder on the fourth source of human energy — our common humanity— and that in order to feel it, you have to give it away. Plus, his reminder that we must build a bank of spiritual energy. These days, I’m mostly banking mine from our farm at the intersection of the Gulf coast and the prairies & lakes regions of Texas . . . especially while listening to music or playing croquet or sitting on the dock watching the stars with my husband, siblings, nieces, nephews or godchildren.

We literally just inked our second to-be-announced keynote speaker, alas, my co-founder, Josh Jones-Dilworth, will behead if I preempt his committee in announcing her. We’ll announce several keynotes over the next few weeks . . . and undoubtedly one or two just before the Summit since this is how this work.

Autumn Rich (Culturati’s producer) and I are off to Houston this afternoon for a Culturati dinner being hosted by AmRisc and our friends Brian Reed and Laura Beckman. The Toronto Culturati dinner is on the books for October 22. We had super dinners earlier this year in Columbus, San Francisco and Traverse City.

Finally, we sold out early bird renewals and registrations—actually plus 3 but who’s counting. And, we’re launching our fall Culturati dinner series next week through October. The Early Bird Culturati dinners are being hosted by Lynn & Tommie Meredith, Amy & Joshua Baer, SXSW’s Todd Hansen & Brad Spies, C3’s Emmet and Catherine Beliveau, Panacea Collective & Autumn Rich, and me & Steven Tomlinson. I hope you early registered and will be joining us at one of the dinners. If you didn’t but you will, shout at me; I’m easily won over.


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




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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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