What Culture Looks Like at Unbabel

July 6, 2021

As an expert in languages and cultural nuances, we get asked this question a lot: What does culture mean to your company? So here’s a quick recap of the Unbabel team’s community initiatives, looking back at our work in Q2. We’ll put out a new installment at the beginning of every quarter!

Unbabel team community activities: collage of different people engaging in surfing, chatting and working

At Unbabel, we pride ourselves on enabling language equity with technology and research, one step at a time. And this journey is reflected not only in our work but also in our company’s culture. With a hybrid workforce spanning several countries and locations, and the added context of working with languages, the People team at Unbabel has a lofty challenge ahead: Bringing together all our employees, regardless of language or location, and motivating them to excel every day in order to have a remarkable impact from their corners of the world.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the Q2 initiatives the Unbabel team participated in — and how we’re starting the new quarter on a positive note.

Prioritizing replenishment and healing 

Earth Day was a great reminder that sometimes it’s the little things that can have a big impact. This year’s theme of restoration was personally translatable: As the world slowly started to open up again and we felt the start of spring, the real pillars of our work became optimism and rejuvenation. In April, we encouraged the Unbabel team to consider several ways to support the floating rock we call home, like donating to environmental causes or buying from sustainable sources.

Bringing mental well-being to the forefront

Even before Mental Health Month rolled around, we’ve always prized self-care and wellness at Unbabel. Especially during the recent challenging times, our regular sessions on empathy, kindness, diversity, and more, have been safe spaces where our employees could engage, learn, and share their own experiences.

So in May 2021, we were excited to zoom in even more on mental health awareness. The Unbabel team found plenty of value in immersing ourselves in our culture with special opportunities like online pilates and yoga sessions and weekly surfing classes. 

We also invited some wonderful people to illuminate causes and concepts that could fundamentally change every one of our lives. 

One of our most memorable conversations was with Charlie Morley, lucid dreaming coach and expert. In his virtual AMA, he helped us explore the art of becoming fully conscious within our dreams to enable lasting changes to our body and mind.

Unbabel CEO Vasco Pedro sat down with Mungi Ngomane, human rights activist and author of Everyday Ubuntu, to learn more about diversity and how it can bring people together if we try hard enough. This illuminating discussion was a necessary reminder that if we want to have an impact on the world, we need to understand what is stopping us from getting to where we want to be. 

“[Ubuntu] is all about acknowledging the inherent dignity and worth of every human. The things [about someone] that are different from you are things you may not understand. Because, like you, they’re human. And they’re deserving. Conversations about diversity and inclusion start from this notion that we’re all worthy.”

— Mungi Ngomane, author of Everyday Ubuntu

Embracing everyone as they are

The month of June, marking the global celebration of Pride, helped us revisit Unbabel’s core beliefs: universal understanding and complete acceptance of everyone.

By empowering each other to show up as ourselves and embrace our differences, we create an environment in which people get their best work done. As an organization dedicated to breaking barriers of all kinds, it becomes our responsibility to persevere through groupthink or echo chambers to foster an environment where creativity and innovation can truly flourish. 

Our team had the honor of meeting with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation to better understand how the organization makes an impact on the community through advocacy, direct support, and awareness.

During what proved to be an incredibly moving experience, we decided then and there that our celebration of Pride would not be complete without volunteering for the organization. 


Last year, we had a front-row seat to the United States’ fight against systemic racism. Our response, as an organization, was to support the protests against police brutality by sponsoring a donation match that would benefit organizations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as recognize Juneteenth as a paid company holiday. 

This year too, we stood by our decision to be among the many organizations formally acknowledging the historical significance of June 19th by closing U.S. offices on Friday, June 18. 

A peek into Q3

With the first half of this year behind us, we feel energized and able to keep the momentum alive throughout the remainder of 2021. We’re eager to do our best to support back-to-school initiatives, breast cancer awareness, and more during the upcoming months.

Several articles equate the pandemic situation with running a marathon; they discuss the start of the race being filled with motivation and drive before hitting what is referred to as “the wall” of fatigue at around the 20-mile mark.

Similar to where we find ourselves now, with freedom and “normality ” within reach, the ongoing uncertainties and ever-moving finish line still cause anxiety and fatigue that make these last few miles feel even more challenging. 

So as we start this new quarter, let’s take some advice from a marathon runner: Imagine the finish line — think about seeing each other in person, going to restaurants, and traveling again. And stay positive!

About the Author

Profile Photo of Leah Buccellato
Leah Buccellato

Leah Bucellato is Chief People Officer at Unbabel, where she oversees the onboarding, engagement and development of people across the global organization. She is a commercial HR professional with 14+ years of proven experience working for some of the most recognised and awarded creative, media, and tech companies. Prior to Unbabel, Leah helped Media Art Lab (MAL), the creative advertising agency for Apple, grow their London office from 20 to 200 people, and managed the Italy, Spain, and France offices. She led the implementation of the HR function, and set up processes for recruitment, induction, retention, benefits, and employee relations at App Business, a specialist app software company. Additionally, she led the HR team and created the global HR strategy for BBH, the global advertising agency that produced campaigns for top brands, including Audi, Axe, Google, and Virgin.