Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Wall.
Hi Katie, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was a theater geek for most of my life (and very proud to say that I still am), and being around artistic, creative, and unique people has been incredibly influential to where I am today. I graduated from CU Boulder with a degree in theatre performance and moved to Los Angeles just out of college to learn the entertainment industry. It was there that the embers of TheCultureBiz really began. Upon moving to Colorado, I continued my career as a performer and facilitator for health care giant, Kaiser Permanente. My work in the community through Kaiser Permanente helped me hone in on the benefits of storytelling, connection, and the value of a truly engaging, well-facilitated conversation. I started my own facilitation consultancy, using my unique skills to help build psychological safety within teams through play and connection, creating meaningful experiences. In order to be high-performing, teams need to focus first and foremost on the people and make it a priority to help them connect and build trust to drive synergy. As a facilitator, I have worked with many organizations of all kinds, and each time I facilitate a play-based activity with a meaningful debrief to connect the activity back to work challenges, I see changes in engagement, trust, and connectivity. The many benefits of play, even in short doses like TheCultureBiz provides, prove that teams can’t afford not to play. Many of us are at work more often than we are at home, and work should be a place where we want to be, feel supported and believe in our team members. It is also imperative, now more than ever as we navigate the work world in a time of crisis, to hone in on connection and culture. I know play is the perfect avenue to build and maintain team culture, and TheCultureBiz is on a mission to help teams cultivate their unique cultures through play. Play is proven to relieve stress, improve brain function, boost creativity, provide energy and bring us closer to others. Building culture through play can also increase workplace happiness, reduce stress and help retain the best talent. In short, I want work to be a place where everyone is encouraged to use their diverse skills and strengths!
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Developing and launching TheCultureBiz has not been a smooth road, as many start-up founders can agree, especially when an extreme global crisis is thrown into the mix. We were set to officially launch our product in May 2020, and due to the pandemic, our initial launch plans were not possible. My co-founder, Courtney Jacobson, and I quickly pivoted to all virtual offerings to help teams navigate culture and connection building in the new work-from-home reality. We are really proud of our commitment to helping teams during an incredibly challenging time, and we have used the feedback and learnings gained during this time to make our product truly outstanding and original. However, as a primarily founder-funded company, it is costly to repeatedly make changes to our products and services. We lost momentum that we had spent months working to build because everyone shifted to working at home and our product was initially developed as an in-person experience. Many of the COVID grants were not available for companies that launched when we did. And, while I was working on building and iterating the business and continuing to stay relevant, I was also helping my kids learn virtually at home (I have two elementary-aged children). My co-founder and I met virtually every free moment we could (while holding down other jobs as well), and tried to remain creative and flexible. There were moments when I was paralyzed by the unfortunate timing of our initial business launch, but I believe so strongly in the value of play and connection at work, and knew that the need was even bigger because of the challenges of the pandemic.
As you know, we’re big fans of TheCultureBiz. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
TheCultureBiz is a women-owned, Colorado-based, and first-of-its-kind business. All the activities that we provide in our team-building activity crates and workshops are completely original to TheCultureBiz, designed specifically to help fuel connection, communication, innovation, and fun at work. Our signature products are approachable, affordable and convenient, and help build in the ritual of play and strengthen the muscles needed for regular culture building, brainstorming, and innovation in digestible bites. What sets us apart from other team-building experiences is that we help connect the activities back to work challenges. We want teams to both have a fun, playful, and memorable experience with their colleagues, but also to be able to practically apply what they just did back to work. We know company culture used to be a luxury for some companies, and so powerful for those that chose to cultivate it. Now, we know it’s a necessity: with all the return-to-work hesitancy and change, teams need to connect after such a long time apart, and we believe strongly (and have witnessed it first hand) that play is an amazing tool to help.
What do you like and dislike about the city?
Moving back here from California over 10 years ago, I was immediately struck by how friendly everyone was when I got outside. Colorado is just full of happy, kind, and helpful humans, who also love being outside. During the pandemic, it seemed like absolutely everyone was outside walking with their families (furry and human) or hiking in the mountains. As a performer myself (and supporter of creatives of all kinds), I also love the unique and robust arts and culture scene in Denver. There is great music (and incredible venues), amazing theater with uber-talented local performers, a dynamic arts scene, and some mind-blowing food. I love how many entrepreneurs I meet regularly, and each person is so supportive of other businesses as well. One positive about the pandemic is that I’ve really taken the time to explore how beautiful our state is. I’ve seen so many new cities and towns in Colorado, and am grateful for the chance to explore beyond my neighborhood. I love heading to City Park and watching people riding bikes, running, rollerblading, and playing lawn games. I just took a morning to explore around Union Station, and I absolutely LOVE that area. There is so much to see, eat and do, and just around the corner is the incredible Milk Market area.
There isn’t much not to like about Colorado. The only thing that I miss is the ocean!
- CultureCrate (10-15 minute activities) designed for team meetings, happy hours, retreats, and offsites. Includes 3 X 15-minute activities and one 5 minute activity. One-time crates starting at $16.80 per person. Subscriptions starting at $16.25 per person.
- RetreatCrate (30-45 minute activities) designed for team retreats, longer meetings, and offsites. Includes 2 X 45-minute activities and two 5 minute activities. One-time crates starting at $20.95 per person.
- Interactive workshops (virtual or in-person) available. See website for more details (www.theculturebiz.com)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.TheCultureBiz.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theculturebizcrates/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCultureBiz/
Kalen Jesse Photography