CONVRG Founder Walter Kinzie had a vision for his life’s work at age 7.
The founder of two thriving experiential companies knew that he was going to spend his life building experiences, the kind he saw his father build in his small Kansas hometown.
“My dad was the entertainment chair one year for our county fair. I remember I was in the rodeo arena the night before the fair’s opening night concert,” he said.
“And I remember saying ‘This is what I’m going to do for a living.’ And I’ve loved it ever since,” Walter said.
When it was time to start working, Walter got a job at a big corporation. Despite the size of the company, he felt extremely valued.
“What I loved about them from day one was how much they invested in me and all their employees. They provided so many opportunities for attending trainings, conferences, conventions and universities to learn and grow—to be the best version of you possible,” he said.
So when Walter left that company to start an experiential firm, Encore Live, he wanted to offer his new employees those same opportunities.
But it became apparent that the kinds of educational opportunities he craved for his employees were not available in the world of experience.
“There were some certifications and different things that we could pay 800 bucks and now we get to put some initials behind our name. But it wasn’t contributing to the culture of my organization or making my employees prouder to work where they worked.”
“There were some certifications and different things that we could pay 800 bucks and now we get to put some initials behind our name. But it wasn't contributing to the culture of my organization or making my employees prouder to work where they worked.”Walter KinzieCONVRG Founder
Walter continued to search without much luck until he reached a turning point in 2013. Spending the most money he ever had to attend a conference, he sent himself and most of his team to what he thought would be a game changer.
“We went to this big fancy convention center in New York City and were convinced this was going to be the thing. We thought we would go to this conference, stick our flag in the ground and leave inspired, motivated and encouraged,” Walter said.
“I sat in there for six or seven hours. And in disgust, I left and I sat down on the steps of that convention center. And I started writing curriculum for CONVRG right there.”
“I sat in there for six or seven hours. And in disgust, I left and I sat down on the steps of that convention center. And I started writing curriculum for CONVRG right there.”Walter KinzieCONVRG Founder
That’s why Walter decided to build CONVRG: a place to celebrate the wide world of experience. Not just a conference, not just a media hub, a movement to help advance experiential ideas of all stripes.
That’s why CONVRG’s experiences kick off with CONVRG XX, one-night-only experiments in experience in locations across the United States. Consider it the laboratory for incubating the new experiences people crave. But these exclusive pop-up experiential events will be just a taste of what’s to come. It all comes into focus at CONVRG 2020, our first showcase event, an experience designed for experience people.
“This will not be a ‘fighting for the back row’ kind of conference,” Walter said. “When you walk into this conference and attend the events and experiences within this conference, you’re going to be fighting for the front row.”
Of course, that starts with the design of the conference. We’re taking the traditional conference playbook and throwing it out the window. No stale keynotes. No awkward networking mixers. Every aspect of CONVRG 2020 is designed for how real people learn and meet each other.
“This isn’t going to be mundane breakout rooms, or just speech after speech after speech, slide after slide after slide on a stage,” Walter said. “Using The Hub and The Lab, you’re going to be immersed in experiences that inspire and challenge you to think outside the box.”
“This isn't going to be mundane breakout rooms, or just speech after speech after speech, slide after slide after slide on a stage,” Walter said. “Using The Hub and The Lab, you're going to be immersed in experiences that inspire and challenge you to think outside the box.”Walter KinzieCONVRG Founder
But it’s not just about experiencing something life-changing. You’ll also get a chance to hear from the people who created it and connect with them on a deeper level than just a handshake and introduction.
“You’re going to go on a journey with them, probably getting their phone number and email address. You’re going to continue to learn from these people day in and day out in the everyday challenges that you have,” Walter said.
That journey also continues with your tribe, a hand-picked cohort of fellow experiential dreamers that you enjoy every moment with. Your tribe is comprised of people with whom you already share industries, regions and expertise. With that curated group by your side, anything is possible.
“You’re going to be inspired by the content that we’re going to deliver from the stage, you’re going to learn, you’re going to grow.
And you’re going to do it in a fashion where you’re with a collective group of people who have been hungry for the same information for a long time,” Walter said.
But this change doesn’t start at the event and stop as soon as everyone goes home from CONVRG 2020. This movement will be what inspires you when you’re home.
“You’ll be able to go back home and inspire your company and your team, with an army of people behind you to support you. You’re going to see your ideas come to life.”
“You'll be able to go back home and inspire your company and your team, with an army of people behind you to support you. You're going to see your ideas come to life.”Walter KinzieCONVRG Founder