WCWI interviewed Zach Blumenfeld and Nick Lombardino, co-founders of CultureCon, a Madison-based organization on a mission to inspire positive change in organizational culture. This conversation with Zach and Nick embodies the spirit of one of WCWI’s guiding principles in action – bravely act together. WCWI and CultureCon align on our philosophies that if we can be conduits for people to share ideas, inspire one another, unite and support connections, and empower people to be culture change agents and wellbeing leaders within their organizations – we’ll continue to see a ripple of positive impact in our workplaces and our wider communities. Nick and Zach are full of good energy and awesome insight with Nick’s passion for social impact and Zach’s entrepreneurial ambitions – and their shared passion for making work more fun and fulfilling for everyone. They’ve dedicated the purpose of CultureCon to creating space for everyone interested in making positive changes in organizational culture. We talk about what organizational culture is and how organizations and individuals alike can bravely act together on the continuous culture journey.
“So much of how we built our employee experience framework was derived from conference experiences and educational resources that I got from WCWI. I have a lot of gratitude for the gift of education and inspiration I received through your organization over the years.”
Sneak Peek into the conversation:
Marissa: "Final question: living in a disruptive era, covid variants, great resignation, quiet quitting, continued social issues, when you think of all these things, what are you seeing as the most important places to focus? Acknowledging that things are complicated and complex, what should people be thinking about right now? What can they be doing to bravely act?"
Nick: "At the root of it is an individual's need to feel motivation and inspiration, try and solve problems, and be a force for good. And in today’s world, given the sophisticated social media algorithms and 24/7 news cycles telling you every reason to be afraid or upset, my advice-which helped me personally is to “work to find the good news yourself”. There’s a lot of it out there but unfortunately tends to get buried behind social media and news items. Two resources have my lens of excitement and eagerness to want to participate in solving complex problems: 1) the good news network, and 2) uplifting news (Reddit)."
Zach: "Topics are deeper currently based on the pandemic. Organizations are melting pots of diversity that change as people come and go. As a human, change will affect your experience. Focus on the human level and go on a continuous cultural journey. Recognize how far you’ve come, and what were you doing 3-6 years ago. We’re all on a continuous journey together. But we need the collective to come with us. Celebrate opportunities that are still before you."
Change the Narrative of Employee Wellbeing: WCWI's Podcast
“Organizational culture is the acceptable behaviors within an organization. So much of that comes from the leadership level in establishing shared beliefs and values, but then how those beliefs and values are then disseminated through the organization through communications and processes, systems and structures, which is where the complex nature comes into play.” – Nick Lombardino
“If you want to change culture or someone’s life you need to figure out where they’re coming from. Start small but start somewhere and build on that. It starts with yourself and how you take ideas and information back to your leaders.” – Zach Blumenfeld
Co-Founder Nick Lombardino
Born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, Nick Lombardino is an imaginative social entrepreneur and community builder with extensive experience scaling organizations that drive positive change for individuals, companies, and communities. With widespread professional services experience, Nick has been in leadership roles spanning marketing, business development, operations, HR, and finance.
In addition to his work at CultureCon, Nick is a faculty member at Edgewood College, teaching Social Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. Prior to joining CultureCon full-time, Nick was a member of the leadership team at FarWell, responsible for creating, developing, and implementing the organization's EX strategies.
Co-Founder Zach Blumenfel
Zach Blumenfeld’s motto, Make What You Do Matter, speaks volumes about how he leads his life. His commitment to working to improve the lives of others are qualities that influenced the start of CultureCon. In addition to CultureCon, Zach was also Co-Founder/COO of ThirdSpace, a workplace culture software, as well as a founder of numerous other startups.
Zach is passionate about fixing the broken workplace. He speaks at events across the globe including The University of Wisconsin Innovation Conference, DisruptHR, and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) on topics that include: culture, engagement, innovation, generational differences in the workplace, and connecting your team to the mission of the organization.
CultureCon, now a Certified B Corporation®, is on a mission to inspire positive change around organizational culture. Through community events, custom courses, consulting services, and virtual learning, we deliver experiences that provide practical tools and motivation for our customers to become cultural change agents within their organizations. Our customers include business owners, CxOs, HR leaders, senior executives, Directors, Managers, individual contributors, and anyone who has a vested interest towards inspiring positive change around their organization’s culture.
Connect with CultureCon: LinkedIn | Website
We Bravely Act Together
We are courageous in our work to widen the scope of well-being and to transform Wisconsin’s workforce. We strive to see through all lenses and to be driven by empathy and compassion. We seek diverse perspectives and ideas and we make space that is welcoming for all. If we have to call on our bravery, we’re doing something right.