The Culture Conference was born out of my deep frustration at the current paradigm of conferences, where we consider it “normal” to invest lots of time, money, and energy in attending an event - only to end up disengaged, overwhelmed by information, and ultimately finding it more interesting to check our email than to listen to presentations. I wanted to grab the lost opportunity for hands-on learning, for meaningful connections and relationship building, for harnessing the wisdom in the room.
In February of 2016 I decided that it was time to stop complaining and start creating. I figured if there was all this life force running through me, I might as well use it for good! The Culture Conference was born. I imagined it as a new paradigm of conference based on experiential education that would be dynamic, fun, and immediately applicable to the participant’s life and work.
Part personal transformation, part professional development, it is about embracing and celebrating the whole person, and to recognize that change begins within. When we have leaders who are willing to take responsibility for the culture they create, then we have the possibility to make real changes at scale.
I am so proud of and humbled by the amazing community that has gathered around this event, and the people who continue to pioneer the field of culture. To us, this concept of culture - the how we do what we do, why we do it, and the who we do it with - are the things that matter most.
I look forward to continuing this grand experiment of creating culture with you.
Founder + executive Director
Jenny Sauer-Klein is an experience designer and master facilitator who specializes in dynamic learning experiences that help companies engage their employees and bring their culture to life. She has designed and facilitated offsites and programs for companies like Airbnb, ESPN, Toyota and Samasource, as well as running her signature Experience Design Training for internal teams. She is also the founder and director of The Culture Conference, an invite-only event for 175 business leaders who are committed to building a positive culture in their own organizations. In her previous career as the co-founder of AcroYoga, she successfully scaled a thriving culture into an international brand, community and organization with millions of practitioners including Hollywood celebrities and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. She has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, and Inc., as well as Tim Ferriss’ new book Tools of Titans.
Danielle Gordon is an idealist with over 15 years of experience making meaningful and fun experiences happen for others. She is known for her creative thinking and putting ideas into action that have attracted, kept and delighted customers. As an Experiential Marketer she has traveled the US with the “Wheel Mobile” and “Brain Bus” in search of contestants for two popular TV shows. She transformed spaces where music hopefuls for Nashville Star could audition and take a step toward their dreams. She brought together like-minded individuals to cheer for their favorite teams, sing along with their favorite bands, and laugh together in a crowded room for a wide variety of clients and companies including Sony, Ticketmaster, Live Nation, and Paramount Pictures. In her most recent role with Yoga Journal Events, she directed all marketing operations including event planning, strategy development and community building that contributed to the success of five annual yoga conferences across the country. Danielle is a certified Yoga Therapist, trained in grief counseling, a self-taught chef, globe trotter, and an accomplished kiteboarder.
Susie Chang is the Director of The Culture Conference and brings over ten years of leadership and program management experience supporting both local and international communities. Prior to joining The Culture Conference she was the Executive Director of GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles, the first affiliate of the country’s largest non-profit solar installer. Previously, she was the Country Director in Tajikistan and the Education Program Officer in Afghanistan, managing education and cross-cultural exchange programs for an international development agency. Throughout her leadership roles, Susie successfully developed diverse and collaborative teams. She is a facilitator for corporate teams, is certified in Whole Person Coaching, and holds a Master Certification in Intuition Medicine from the Academy of Intuition Medicine.
Marisol MacGregor is a lifelong learner of Inside Out development. She's a transformational coach and People Development Specialist within emotional intelligence, strengths-based development, and inclusion.
She works with diverse executives and managers at top tech companies and leading-edge startups and has consulted for various companies within emotional intelligence, including Zendesk and Logitech. She’s also managed Global Learning & Development Programs within Zendesk, a Fortune 'top-10 tech company to work for’, shaping global, companywide manager development, employee engagement, and performance feedback programs.
Prior to finding her sweet spot in People + Culture Development, she spent 7 years focusing on people while in Product Management and Marketing lead roles for forward-thinking global tech companies, including at a face-recognition company acquired by Google.
Meet the curatorial team who is helping to influence the impact of this event.
Alan Ratliff - Experience Designer, IDEO
Alan Ratliff has been designing culture-shaping experiences for IDEO and its clients since 2004. With a degree in Psychology and a deep understanding of human-centered design, Alan leverages his skills in facilitation, live prototyping, and experimentation to turn everyday rituals into magical moments of collaboration. Together with his teams, he has reimagined the airport employee experience, designed new workplace tools, and architected the studio environment and talent development within innovation labs.
Widely recognized for his expertise in community building, Alan collaborates with leaders seeking to build innovative products and inclusive workplace cultures. He is committed to the idea that more inclusive design practices and methodologies lead to better solutions. Alan founded IDEO’s LGBTQAI employee group in 2005 and has since launched resource groups for other underrepresented populations. He’s passionate about understanding and designing for the unique needs of emerging talent in today’s world.
Cherie Healey - Possibilitarian, Founder of The Luminaries
Cherie works with leaders in tech and entertainment to help them create workplaces that solve the world’s biggest problems.
She does it by elevating their skills in mind AND heart so they can become the leaders of the Imagination Age, tap limitless creativity and innovation and inspire a new way to work.
Cherie’s been working with corporate leaders for 20 years to develop brand and people for a better world.
Through 1:1 coaching, Workshops, Speaking and Custom Designed Retreats, she lights the way at orgs like Google, X, Genentech, Nike, YouTube, Apple, GoDaddy, Fox Entertainment, I Heart Media and more.
Christine Lai - Collaboration Catalyst
Christine Lai is a cross-sector collaboration catalyst, connecting ideas, passions, and people for positive social change. She most recently served as Chief of Staff for Delivering Happiness, an organization focused on creating more successful companies by building sustainable work cultures through the science of happiness. She was selected as a 2012 ProInspire and StartingBloc Fellow and has experience in education, hospitality, and sports. Christine is a yes-mad [a.k.a. global citizen] and loves spending time enjoying good company, conversation, and cuisine. She is inspired and invigorated by communities and bringing people together to do epic things.
Rachel Williams - Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, StubHub
Rachel Williams is the new Global Head of Diversity + Inclusion at StubHub. Having grown up in San Mateo, CA, Rachel often found that she was one of only a couple faces of color in her classrooms. This early awareness of her own differences inspired her thirst for increased diversity and inclusion at a young age.
With a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley and more than 15 years of human resources experience in a variety of industries including technology, life sciences, consumer products and retail, Rachel has honed her expertise in recruitment, organizational development, and strategic change activities. She was the Head of Corporate Recruiting, Diversity & Inclusion at Yelp after serving as the Head of Talent Acquisition for ClearSlide. She has also held talent acquisition roles at SolarCity, Peet's Coffee & Tea as well as an executive search consultant for venture capitalists.
Willie Jackson - Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Equity Impact Group
Willie Jackson is an inclusion strategist who empowers thoughtful organizations and the leaders who run them. He is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Equity Impact Group, Founder and Publisher of Abernathy, and a frequent speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and multicultural millennial leadership. A graduate of Florida State University (Information Technology), Jackson lives in Oakland, California.