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BW Events Tech

Without further ado, I'd like to pass it to the coolest CEO on the block, Chris Sykes.

I didn't ask Jihan to say that, but good morning, everyone.

It's great to see so many new faces here today. It's great to see a packed room, and it's great to be together again in-person.

Our last time doing this event was 2020. Uncon 2020, for those of you who remember, who attended, it was very much of its time.

It was a virtual event, by necessity, and it was the early days of COVID. It was May 2020.

One of my most vivid memories from that event was the day before the event, we held an emergency meeting because word had spread that there was a way to change your background on Zoom to have a custom background.

And we figured we needed to get on board.

I'm very glad those days are behind us, but it's also crazy to think how far we've come, both in our ability to support virtual events and our understanding of the virtual event landscape.

I will say, it's intimidating to be planning and executing an event for a group of people who plan and execute events for a living.

I'm sure there will be things that you all can criticize us for in the way we plan and execute today.

My only ask is that if you have negative things to say about us, please say them behind our backs. Thank you.

Before we get into this morning's program, I want to take a moment to revisit UnCon's purpose.

Which is why we're all here.

UnCon is really intended to be a celebration, both of events, and of the people who run them. It's our chance to give back to our customers, each of you, to thank you for your partnership, and to learn how we can grow together as partners over the coming year.

Most importantly, I hope it's a place for all of us to make new connections and reconnect with people we've met before. That's always what's excited me most about events. All the potential for networking and friendship, and the ideas that are sitting in this room.

I hope that focus on networking comes through in details as small as your table assignments, which were carefully put together from folks on our team based on everything we know about you from working together.

And I hope you'll leave today with at least one new friend.

UnCon, which is short for Unconventional, was founded as a space to celebrate all the ways we do events differently.

To tease out the sparks of brilliance that will become industry trends six months, a year, to two years from now.

The people in this room have the power to define the future of our industry, and I hope that UnCon will be the start of the next brilliant wave of event innovation.

From the space we chose, to the city we picked, to the school bus that you rode in here on, to the school bus food truck that will make the pizza that we're gonna have for lunch.

And I checked with my team and confirmed that those are indeed two separate school buses.

We've chosen everything about this conference to be different from any other conference that you'll attend.

And it's my hope that you'll walk away inspired from this event in the same way that we're inspired by you.

One of the biggest traditions that we've decided to buck for Uncon 2023 is event swag.

Impactful events is what we're all aiming for, but my hope is that that impact can avoid being a negative environmental one.

So thank you to everyone who brought a piece of unused or unloved swag to donate to Rose Haven.

They're a local women's shelter that we've partnered with.

Rose Haven opened twenty-five years ago as a space for women and children experiencing homelessness in Portland, and they've continued in that mission to this day.

We have Liz Stark, who's Rose Haven's development director.

She'll be joining us over lunch, near the Unswag station at of the room for those who wanna meet her and learn a bit more about Rose Haven. Now, I know that some of you in the room are disappointed by the fact that we're not giving you some Swoogo swag.

And I didn't want everyone in this room to walk away feeling empty handed and short-changed. So I'd invite all of you, if you haven't already, to take a moment to open your inbox You should have received an email from us this morning from Unconventional IRL, through our partners at Loop and Tie. And that email is an invitation to redeem a gift. In this case, that gift is a fifty-dollar donation that Swoogo wants to make on your behalf, to a charity of your choice.

Whether that's securing clean drinking water for someone around the world, or making a donation to Rose Haven right here in Portland, it's my hope that you walk away from this event feeling like you had a positive impact.

I'm really excited for the positive contribution we can all make together through UnCon.

Lastly, I'd like to thank and recognize ...

Lastly, I'd like to thank and recognize each of you.

You, our customers, and partners, are the reason we exist as a company. You're the reason we're here. Thank you for working with us, and thank you for making all of this possible.

Now, I've been talking for about five minutes longer than I ever hope to talk in front of a room. That ideal number is somewhere between never and thirty seconds. So I'm now gonna pass the proverbial mic on to Leonora Valvo, who's Swoogo's founder.

She couldn't be with us here today, but I believe she's joining us virtually.

Leonora are you there?