Academy of Culture Ambassadors

Our Purpose

Accelerate the growth of kindness and purpose in workplaces.

Who We Are

The Academy of Culture Ambassadors is a non-profit 501c3 corporation. This tax exempt status underscores our commitment to doing good for humanity. Our purpose, “To accelerate the growth of kindness and purpose in workplaces,” is of utmost importance in all organizations—without people, they don’t work!.

Local Chapters & Culture Clubs

Academy City Chapters

The Academy of Culture Ambassadors has City Chapters in Omaha, Denver and Kansas City. They hold amazing local meetings using a format similar to that of traditional association chapters, i.e., organized meetings with featured speakers.

This model will continue for those interested. But Culture Clubs may form separate from a local city chapter or they might evolve into becoming a chapter.

Culture Clubs

The model is similar to that of the time-honored book clubs. It combines learning, social time, and networking all rolled into one. Groups meet at coffee shops, lunch cafes, wine and cheese bars, someone’s home, or someone’s office.  Simple, easy, fun, and no cost. No arranging of speakers, AV equipment, finding a place to meet, and food.

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Those attending a discussion time will have reviewed a timely culture article, book, or video that is the discussion topic for a meeting.

The get-togethers are organic. The mix of people attending a certain group might change from time to time. More groups spin off from existing groups. Each group has a volunteer facilitator that chooses place, time and topic to be discussed.

The format for meetings is not fixed. But a typical format is for 4-8 people which accommodates cafe table sizes. Each meeting lasts about one hour.

If you would like to start a club, send Jerry Wagner an email including your city’s name. As we get contacts in a city, we do e-intro’s and form groups.

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The Workplace Wisdom Retreat

Workplace Wisdom Retreat

The Academy sponsors the Workplace Wisdom retreat. This is a group of workplace culture professionals who join together in support of a common cause. That cause being to share expertise on how to create and sustain humanistic workplace cultures.

The interactive format includes all participants including all speakers as participants. The retreat emphasizes friendships with like-minded people and taking home fresh new implementable ideas.

We don't have a call for proposals to present. All speakers are by invitation. If you are interested in presenting, please let us know.

Visit Wisdom '19 Website

Transparency Consoles

Transparency Consoles

Software named Transparency Console(c) is being developed. The software allows transparency of business data for employees which is essential for employee engagement, retention, innovation, and wellbeing. The interface and its content are designed, created and maintained by employees with no IT background. Each console will be created from scratch and the console at every company will be different. Shown here is a mockup of a possible console. When a cell image is double clicked, the contents are opened for employee viewing and interaction. We love to talk about this stuff. Give us a shout.

Culture Expertise

Culture Expertise

We have expertise to offer in these areas:

An example of our work was just written by Culture Ambassador Dan McDonough and published in the prestigious Culturati magazine.

Dans article entitled Facing the Culture Building Challenge can be seen online. The article describes his work with Ability KC in Kansas City, MO. The graphic recording shown below is from that work.

Words of Wisdom

Each six weeks we feature a prominent leader giving “words of wisdom” for creating and maintaining positive workplace cultures. Here are examples of those who have been or are planned to be featured:

Subscribe to Words of Wisdom:

Company Culture Gardening

The Academy thinks of company culture being like a family vegetable garden. Both need nurturing, cultivation, fertilizer, sunshine, water and the plants that will produce the desired result. The Academy is publishing chapters for what will become a book called “Company Culture Gardening”. We will publish them one chapter at a time. When finished we’ll put them into a book.

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If you have an idea for a chapter that you would like to write, Jerry would love to visit with you about it. Send a note with your idea for a chapter. The following are example chapters:

  1. Company Culture Garden Behaviors
  2. In the Culture Garden of an Enlightened Organization
  3. Real Example Behavioral Practices
  4. Native Americans as Culture Gardeners

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Social Media

Our company Facebook and LinkedIn pages are really good. We carefully curate what goes there.


Culture is art and science. We honor art including poetry from our special friend Stewart Levine who is our poet laureate. He will publish a different poem for us at the beginning of each month.

See more of Stewart’s work on his web site.

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Our gears get bogged down
Caught in a vortex leaving a frown
Needing movement up down left right
Hard to get unglued stuck in fright
Longing resolution drives what we do
Our voice of vision makes music too
Indecision serves in a way
Included in the price we pay
Repeating voice clogs the mind
Time energy a challenge to find 
Present pain not strong enough
In limbo till it gets too tough
What answer caught in this vice
What action turns things nice
What single step begins return
What movement cools the burn
For this challenging place of heart
Quiet voices make peace with your art
Let silence teach as you learn
Trust responses honor the yearn
You have answers and what to do
Inner guidance carries you through
Careful knee jerk reactions and moves
Follow the wisdom of your grooves 
How do you process the dissonance
when feeling stuck? What voices do
you listen to and how do you decide
which to follow?

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Denver Chapter

Denver Chapter

The Denver Chapter of the Academy of Culture Ambassadors is community of leadership professionals actively working to create and sustain positive work cultures. We host three to four events a year featuring speakers and authors, panel discussions with experts, and hold discussions on practical ways to bring greater humanity, purpose, civility and kindness into the workplace. Our group is open to anyone with similar interests, and we welcome you to join us for one of our upcoming events.

Upcoming events:

Wednesday, March 20, 2019, 4-8 p.m.

Speaker: Fireside Chat with Claudette Rowley, author of the Amazon bestseller Cultural Brilliance: The DNA of Organizational Excellence, will be speaking about and signing her new book, and leading a discussion on a step-by-step process for intentionally assessing, designing and integrating a culture change process that’s iterative, each success building on previous successes, resulting in organizations that evolve in ways that decrease stress, inspire learning, and promote organizational health. Come join us for a fun, informative, and short presentation, and drinks and good conversation with colleagues in the Denver area seeking to build positive, engaging, purposeful, compassionate cultures.


Hotel Teatro Study – a beautiful, booklined space with a fireplace setting and soft seating perfect for casual conversations. Drinks and small bites available for purchase.

1100 Fourteenth Street, Denver 80202 (in the heart of downtown, your choice of valet parking or convenient self-parking next door at the Denver Center for Performing Arts)

The Study at the Hotel Teatro, comfortable, casual conversations warmed by a large fireplace and adult beverages.

Coming in May, 2019:

Expert panel discussion on Millennials and Generation Z in the workplace. Millennials now comprise the largest generation in the workforce (35% according to the Pew Research Center). With 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day, Millennials now outnumber Boomers in the workplace, and the pace is increasing rapidly. Millennials are now shaping the work culture in many organizations. In fact, they are increasingly running the show. Gen Z is coming next in even greater numbers. Is your organization ready? What are the characteristics of these two powerhouse generations in the workplace? How do their values shape – and impact – organizational culture? Come listen and have a casual conversation about creating a positive culture that works for ALL generations, and capitalizes on the best each has to offer. Your bottom line will thank you. Check back for date and location.

Coming in September, 2019:

Expert panel discussion on various organizational culture assessments. Come learn about the array of culture assessments in use in today’s organization, and how they have helped shape positive culture change in local Colorado businesses. Check back for date and location.

Denver Chapter Leadership Team

Laura Belsten, PhD, MCC (Chapter President)

Laura is a Master Certified Coach (MCC) in private practice in the Denver area for over 20 years. She founded CEO Partnership – Coaching Executives & Organizations – in 1997, and specializes in leadership and executive coaching, primarily in the C-suite, with a focus on positive organizational leadership, organizational communication, highly-functioning and high-performing teams, and social and emotional intelligence. Laura is also the founder of the Institute for Social & Emotional Intelligence, and author of the Social & Emotional Intelligence Profile. She has trained and certified hundreds of coaches worldwide on bringing sustainable social and emotional intelligence practices and positive psychology principles into the workplace. Laura’s doctorate is in Human Communication, with an emphasis on Leadership and Organizational Communication, from the University of Denver. She is as Past President of the International Coach Federation – Denver Chapter.

David Colorosi, PhD

David is a licensed Corporate Psychologist that leads the Denver Market for Colarelli Meyer and Associates (CMA), a Business Psychology consulting firm.  As part of CMA, David offers his clients assessment services for selection, promotion and development, executive coaching, teambuilding, and training services.  David’s has deep interest in organizational culture.  This has been shown through this extensive research on the measurement of culture.  David is the owner/author of the Corporate Safety Culture Survey, a validated measure of corporate safety culture, designed for organizations operating in high risk industries. David has a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver.

Ken Farber

Ken brings the experience of 30 years of focus on Leadership, Training and Development, Human Resources, Finance and Accounting. Serving as a C-level HR Exec he has crafted and delivered coaching, consulting and employee development programs for clients ranging from pre-IPO startups to well established public corporations. His greatest reward is in working with teams to co-create the best outcomes through building on shared values, integrity, and trust, creating connections that result in ownership and authentic, sustainable leadership. Results born of intention rule the day!

LaVada Taylor

LaVada is the Business Manager at the Receptionist a start-up in Denver's Rino area that specializes in visitor management.  As Business Manager she wears many hats, including responsibilities for Finance, Operations and Human Resources. Throughout her career, LaVada has been passionate about people and the way they are treated. She believes everyone brings talents to the table, and everyone should be valued, supported and noticed.  LaVada is curious, creative and open to new ideas.  She is an avid reader, a painter, and loves to share stories with others.

Toti Cadavid

Toti is a seasoned branding, communications, and leadership strategist, a bestselling author, speaker, certified coach, and founder of U=Fulfilled, a branding and leadership development company that helps business leaders and their teams build real, personal, leadership and corporate brand value. She is also an Adjunct Faculty & Executive Coach at the Center for Creative Leadership, an Adjunct Professor of Sales at CU-Denver, and co-author of Pebbles in the Pond: Wave Four which reached bestseller status in nine countries. She holds a Bachelor’s in International business, and two Master’s degrees, one in Marketing and the other in Organizational Development, and is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Executive Management Program.

Cynthia Forstmann

Cynthia has a passion for storytelling. As an Archetypal explorer, she works with individuals to uncover and connect the hidden symbols, patterns and passions that give their lives and work meaning. As a founding partner at CultureTalk, she helps organizations design cultures, brands and communications programs that are driven from a place of authenticity and deep awareness. Cynthia facilitates strategic focus groups with executives, boards, marketing and HR directors and other leaders who share a stake in the culture and communications of any group. She has led award-winning rebranding projects, and designed strategic communication and team- building programs to recruit, retain and engage top talent. Known for her warmth and humor, Cynthia speaks to diverse audiences about the power of story in creating culture, inspiring purpose, and enhancing fulfillment.

Contact Information

For additional information about joining the community of the Denver Chapter of the Academy of Culture Ambassadors, or to inquire about upcoming programs, please contact Laura Belsten at 303-838-1100 or


Omaha Chapter

Omaha Chapter

The Omaha Chapter continues to drive forward the Academy’s mission of bringing together a community of socially minded workplace culture ambassadors that have an exemplary reputation for sharing practices of excellence for superior workplace joy, productivity and innovation.  The Omaha chapter currently meets quarterly and connects community members from all avenues of business.  Whether you are a business of one or 1,000, have an amazing workplace culture or are striving for one, we welcome you to join us.

Every meeting is hosted by an organization that spotlights their culture adventure.  Through the art of storytelling and the science of tools, each company or individual shares their contribution to the company culture movement.  Questions and pondering are encouraged!

Leadership and Members

Stephanie Roob The Omaha chapter is led by Stephanie Roob, a Director at QLI, the Nation’s premier post-hospital rehab center for brain injury and spinal cord injury and EIGHT time Best Places to Work winner.  Stephanie is also the Secretary for the National Academy of Culture Ambassadors.

Other Omaha committee members include Laurie Pieper, Director of Human Resources at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Pernell Toney, Director or Talent Analytics at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska and Christy Johnston, Senior Director of Culture and Engagement at Medical Solutions.

To learn more about the Omaha Chapter and to join the mailing list, email Stephanie at or

Omaha Chapter Photos

CrossFit Omaha owners Stacie and Dustin Tovar share their success as business owners and with personal branding

Mike Wolf speaks to a full house as he talks about what it takes to be googly at Google

A panel of staff from LinkedIn discuss what it takes to ensure an exceptional culture

Dusty Davidson, CEO of Flywheel, gives guests a behind the scenes look at growing a three person company to triple digits

Global speaker, Jason Lauritsen, talks with a small break-out group about the culture movement in business