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Recap of MiniCultureCon Milwaukee 2019

Updated: May 13, 2020

Written by Nick Lombardino and CultureCon Guest Writer, Mike Maniaci


MiniCultureCon Milwaukee 2019 Group Selfie

On Thursday, October 24th, 2019, more than 60 #CultureGeeks gathered at Good City Brewing to experience MiniCultureCon Milwaukee 2019. Having hosted our inaugural MiniCultureCon Milwaukee in 2018, we were thrilled to see a 40% increase in attendee headcount. Our #CultureGeeks represented organizations across wide ranging industries, and although titles were diverse, each attendee came with the intention to make connections, grow perspective and become more positive culture change agents at work.

MiniCultureCon Milwaukee 2019 attendees represented forward thinking organizations from across Wisconsin and beyond

Attendees received inspiration from four "MiniKeynote" speakers , each with their own unique backgrounds and subject matter expertise including, but not limited to, mindfulness, employee engagement, DE&I, emotional intelligence and change management.

Our speakers included:

· Jennifer Pulvermacher, Senior Advisor at FarWell

· Kristin Strunk, Organizational Development Manager at Harley Davidson

· Michelle Spehr, Health and Wellness Consultant at BSG | HJG

(From left to right: Nick Lombardino, Kristin Strunk, Jennifer Pulvermacher, Nate Bossow, Michelle Spehr, Beth Ridley, Zach Blumenfeld)

After taking time to reflect on MiniCultureCon Milwaukee 2019, we've captured some key takeaways from our speakers and attendees:

1. Pause for Space

In Jennifer Pulvermacher's presentation, "The Power of a Pause: Cultivating Agility Through Mindfulness," she compared the human brain to a snow globe. Our minds are often filled with random, distracting thoughts that are competing with one another to hijack our attention. More often than not, we're aren't aware of this hijacking, and we fall into an unhealthy cycle of negative thought energy - worrying about things in the future or fixating on things that have already happened. This "snow globe effect" dramatically reduces our ability to be creative, make decisions and build healthy relationships. Using regular mindfulness best-practices, we can become more resilient humans with increased capacity for awareness, concentration and creativity.

2. The Value of Micro-Cultures

In Kristin Strunk's presentation, "Micro-Cultures: The Benefit of Starting Small," she highlighted how prevalent micro-cultures are inside organizations and how, if setup correctly, they can provide incredible value. By definition, a micro-culture is a subculture created to align the visions, goals and strategies of the members of a department or group. The subculture should always align with the organization's values, but it can also take on its own unique personality. To create healthy subcultures, it's important to work within one's group to reflect on current-state behaviors and systems, and then model ideal future state. Exercises to help with this process include "Start/Stop/Continue," "Best Team Reflection," and "Worst Team Reflection."

3. Find Your WHY

Michelle Spehr presented “Find Your WHY: Creating Cultural Alignment Around a Shared Purpose,” in which she explained that teams that are aligned behind something that made them feel proud of their work strongly contributed to a positive organizational culture. She highlighted that projects that involved caring for each other, going the extra mile for customers, supporting the community, and servant leadership are examples of projects that can lead to a shared sense of purpose. She encouraged everyone to develop their own WHY statements to help them find purpose in their work.

4. Authentic D&I Takes Courage

In Beth Ridley’s presentation, “Level Up Your Cultural Competency: Tips to Go from D&I Cheerleader to Change Agent,” she discussed how hard it is to go from talking about Diversity and Inclusion to living it. During her “real talk,” she shared her personal experience breaking down barriers with someone through real, honest conversation and a concerted effort to include this person in her life outside of what workplace D&I initiatives directed. Beth emphasized that really getting to know someone is the only way to overcome our biases and to start building real relationships based on trust and friendship.


This event would not have been possible without the generous support from our friends at FarWell. FarWell is a flexible advisory firm in Madison and Milwaukee that helps organizations successfully plan and implement strategic change initiatives. Their Core Capabilities include Change Strategy, Project Management, Process Optimization and Culture Alignment. To learn more about FarWell's services, success stories, and thought-leadership, please visit

(From left to right: Regan Burnham, Milena Mandic, Nate Bossow, Mike Maniaci, Steve McQuin, Jennifer Pulvermacher and Nick Lombardino)

For more inspiring and empowering topics related to organizational culture, become a #CultureGeek and join us at our next event! Tickets go fast. Get them here before they’re gone.

Make Connections. Grow Perspective. Change Culture


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