22. Michael Ellis - What it takes to build a world class culture

When I learned about Michael Ellis's (Head of Culture for Vinomofo) background, I couldn't figure out why he was so successful given his background. 

This conversation was a deeply personal one for me, as if you had gone back just a few years into my history, I would have told you how I aspired to work with a fast-paced, innovative, and people focused company that was redefining what Culture was in an organisation. That dream would basically have looked exactly like what Mikey has done at Vinomofo. He’s worked with the Founders of Vinomofo to grow it from about 40 staff here in Australia to over 130 staff across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and now expanding into the US Market.

They’ve been featured in the Top 25 Great Places to Work 2016 list, received an award for Most Successful Staff Engagement, and have created one of the most sought-after employer brands in Australia (and one of the coolest offices that has a massive wine bar!!). However, a quick look at Mikey’s history shows that prior to his role starting at Vinomofo just 3 years ago, he had pretty much no HR experience or HR education that you would think someone would need, or at least have, to create what he has done now.

The funny thing here is that I started my university career, with the idea that if I got an HR degree, and plugged away in the Corporate HR world for 10-15 years, I might be finally in the place to do what he’s done - but obviously that was just the traditional success narrative and this chat is all about exploring Mikey’s journey to get to where he is now and how you can to.

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Dustin Elliott