eBay President and CEO John Donahoe and author and LiveOps chairman Maynard Webb recently teamed up to deliver a light-hearted, insightful and seemingly candid conversation on workplace management and behavior during a Churchill Club event. What might seem like a snooze of a topic to some was actually one of the most inspiring discussions I’ve had the privilege of hearing.

In fact, issues related to workplace behavior and management is a hot topic today. For instance, Mr. Webb said that more than 50 percent of people in the U.S. are unhappy in their jobs. This is significant considering many of us spend the majority of our time at work.


That being said, there is hope for creating and maintaining a workplace that people enjoy. Below I’ve listed my top takeaways from their stimulating conversation that got me even more excited to be a part of the culture at Airfoil:

  • You own your attitude. “There’s nothing that stops you from getting where you want to go besides you,” Mr. Webb said. Personal accountability is important when it comes to creating a culture. Besides, there’s nothing more infectious than a good attitude. Be confident in your position and your temperament at work; your coworkers and leaders will notice. 
  • Hard times hone character. “You build character when the whole world writes you off,” Mr. Donahoe said. So, if your IPO tanks, the media positions your company in a poor light, or even if business is simply tough coming out of the recession, keep working toward success and pay special attention to what you learn during the tough times; you’ll only get better. 
  • We’re all in it together. “There’s a line between empowerment and entitlement,” Mr. Donahoe said. Employees can and should feel empowered in their work. If a team has the same sense of purpose, along with similar values and behavior, it’s likely it will work well together and toward the same end goal. 
  • Mentorship is essential. “You don’t tell people what to do; you pull it out of them,” Mr. Donahoe said. One of the biggest takeaways of this conversation for me was the importance of having a mentor. Luckily, Airfoil provided me with a dedicated mentor, and this person has and continues to help me grow and prosper professionally. My mentor allows me to benefit from all of the ingredients that Mr. Webb said are important for an effective mentorship. That is, I trust my mentor; I am able to ask questions and be asked questions; and I can reveal my own vulnerabilities. 

We may not think about company culture on a daily basis. However, this conversation has reminded me that I’m contributing to my company’s culture every second of every day I choose to go to work.

Jamie Favazza (@JamieFavazza) is an account coordinator at Airfoil, a high-tech PR and marcomm firm with offices in Silicon Valley, Detroit and London.