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. It drove me crazy! I would sit there and rage inside at the lost opportunity for hands-on learning, for meaningful connections and relationship building, for harnessing the wisdom in the room.
In February of 2016, after attending yet another conference full of missed opportunities, 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! Thus, 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 + 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.
Susie Chang is the Operations Manager 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 management roles, Susie successfully developed diverse and collaborative teams. She is also certified in Whole Person Coaching and is working on 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 is an experience designer at IDEO, where he has been igniting the culture of innovation since 2004. With a BA in Psychology and a deep understanding of contemporary design and business systems, Alan uses human-centered design to turn everyday rituals into magical movements of collaboration and innovation. His versatile skills in experience design have shaped airport systems, consumer electronics, workplace digital tools, pharmaceuticals, and international innovation labs. Widely recognized for his expertise in community building, Alan advises global tech leaders seeking to build innovative and inclusive workplace cultures. He believes in the power of transparency, storytelling, and live prototyping, and 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, supporting adaptable workplaces and outstanding talent.
Cherie Healey - Possibilitarian
Cherie is a Possibilitarian. She helps leaders get what they want so they can change the world. Her people are the ones who crave more, the big lights who refuse to settle. She will help you develop your personal brand, get into alignment with who you are and why you're here and become your highest, best self. Then in no time, she’ll upgrade what you’re here to create, refining your brand, messaging and offering. A Board Certified Coach, Founder of One Woman Effect and the Bring It Group, Cherie blends a lifetime of study with great Masters in spirituality, strategy and transformation. She’s a business owner and entrepreneur with degrees in Marketing, Communication and Strategic Intervention and has worked with corporate leaders for 20 years to rise up and make a difference in the world.
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 - Head of Corp Recruiting, Diversity & Inclusion, Yelp
Rachel Williams has 3 years of experience at Yelp, most recently assuming the role of Head of Diversity and Inclusion in 2014. She is currently focused on building Yelp’s diversity initiatives to accelerate action. 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 is thrilled to be able to narrow her focus on Diversity and Inclusion, a very important element of the employee experience and a passion for Rachel. She returns to Yelp after most recently 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.