Wild Wild Culture
We both came from the tech and media industry — as a User Experience Designer and Marketing Manager, in fast-paced companies and agencies. We were designing for unconscious consumption behaviours — adding more superfluous stuff to the world, rather than serving people’s real needs. Even the most progressive companies, after years of care for their own culture and strategy, are vulnerable to this once they reach a certain size. Just like in our societies, power becomes less evenly distributed and the role and values of leadership are critical to a cohesive vision and the company’s survival.
I am a contemplative person, who needs quiet reflection to organise my thoughts and make meaningful connections between information and ideas. The tech and many other industries are not designed to profit from this characteristic.
I was recommended to adopt masculine behaviours in order to succeed. To be bolder, more aggressive and spontaneous. None of which are natural to me. More importantly, none of these are characteristics I wanted to grow into. That would mean changing the very core of who I am. My ‘feminine’ behaviours are necessary to maintaining an overall balance. You need extroversion to create energy, make decisions quickly and galvanise people but you also need emotive, empathetic voices that spend time evaluating all dimensions of a decision, with a steadier resolve.
I’ve seen many women in leadership but all of whom have adopted the extroverted masculinity that was necessary to their survival. Quantitatively speaking, gender equality is much better, but qualitatively, feminine personalities and behaviours are still deeply underestimated: women mimic men instead of being true to their femininity. The outcome of poor balance is confused, impulsive, inconsistent thinking which is more likely to be motivated by self-gains—compromising a company’s strategic direction.
Individual companies are not at fault — it sits at a much higher level. This is systemic of society’s false truth that, in order to succeed in our economy — to deliver faster and harder — you need virility.
A sustainable alternative
A turning point for us was reading ‘Let my People Go Surfing’, which presents the human-centred philosophies of a truly progressive, sustainable and economically successful business — Patagonia. The founder, Yvon Chouinard, created a structure whereby work and play were not in conflict. He offered flexible hours that allowed people to take advantage of conducive surfing weather—when and where ever that happened. Because employees’ passions weren’t compromised, people had high, positive energy, which benefited their relationship with the company, role and output.
This felt groundbreaking. It was such a different model to what we’d experienced. It agreed with our values on products, systems and nature.
Thereafter, it felt immediately obvious how we could enhance our lives: we enhance others. We can help companies achieve a more positive balance in the workplace. Our agency, Casa Chial, was born.
Everything around us is shaped by what we choose to believe; integrity and balance are central to everything we do. We created Casa Chial, to instil grace in the process that brings products and businesses to life. The format of unconscious capitalism isn’t sustainable. It’s not sympathetic to people’s lives, which ultimately affects the sustainability of your company. Just like machines, people and businesses break when there’s no relent.
We decided to give a voice to a body of values that serves capitalism in a non-obvious way — while being in the service of people. It’s not only more human but it makes economic sense.
“The outward appearance of all things reveals their inner spirit” — Alan Moore.
If a company creates a community which invests in their people first, what they produce will almost certainly be beautiful.