Nick Lombardino, CultureCon
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Nick Lombardino, co-founder, CultureCon.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
Most rewarding: Designing communities and learning opportunities that help inspire positive change around organizational culture.
Most challenging (but also rewarding): Coordinating wide-ranging logistics for the return of our annual, flagship conference, CultureCon 2022, hosted in Madison, Wisconsin!
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
My father, Matt Lombardino. For 25 years, he poured his heart and soul into Break Away Sports Center, which he just successfully sold in January. As the company’s manager and co-owner, he ensured his employees and customers felt a deep sense of community and that they belonged — focusing on preserving customer safety and teaching the sport across all age levels. Despite turbulent times and incredible self-sacrifice, he brings immense creativity, humor, and levity to all interactions.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
It was always a life goal of mine to teach at my alma mater, Edgewood College. That dream came true last year, when I was asked to teach “Social Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management.” In addition to helping students understand how to ideate and grow altruistic organizations, the course is designed to help them discover their unique strengths and intrinsic motivators.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
I’d share Annie Dillard’s quote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Point being, our daily routines hold a large influence on our life’s trajectory. We owe it to ourselves to cultivate the right daily habits and relationships that bring our best self forward as often as possible. Regularly exploring our unique strengths and intrinsic motivators is what makes life fulfilling.
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
Having lived in Dane County my entire life, our pride in our community is what makes it special. As residents and as a workforce we’re human-centered, often setting the standard for innovation, quality of life, and collective well-being.
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
I love cooking Lebanese food, which I get from my mother’s side of the family. Tabbouleh, baklava, and hummus are regular favorites. When the pandemic first started, my wife and I started a food (anti-)delivery service. Each month, we’d choose one of our favorite recipes, make A TON of it, and then send an email blast to friends and family when it was ready for pick up at our house. It was a way to combine our love for food with our love for community, all in the laziest way possible.
What are your guilty pleasures?
(Deep breath) I’m an avid cribbage player. Yes, cribbage. I’m a card-carrying member of the American Cribbage Congress, and in 2017, I played in the Cribbage Grand National Tournament.
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