Business conferences have been spreading around the world at a remarkable rate, bringing tech, business, political and entertainment leaders to one place for talks, workshops and networking. They can be somewhat dry, telling the same story over and over with the same themes. Many are led by established brands, but others are developing into global powers, bringing in executives, CEOs, CMOs, and more all to one conference. WORLDZ brings in those thought leaders, but with a bit of a twist. It aims to create a year-round community for those involved and offering attendees access to executives from some of the biggest companies in the world like Marvel, Samsung, Calvin Klein, Atlantic Records, Volcom, LVHM, Ducatti,, T-Mobile and more. We chatted with WORLDZ co-founder Roman Tsunder to find out how they created the conference, its mission and how they get all of these people together.
Other people speaking at the conference include RZA, Mike Posner, Rob Dyrdek and Tony Gonzalez, in addition executives from Live Nation, Magic Leap, Taco Bell, Citi, Xbox, Gap and more. WORLDZ will take place in Los Angeles October 17-18. You can pick up tickets and find out more about their year-round programs here.
Why did you set up this conference?
WORLDZ is a year-round community, and the upcoming Summit is our largest annual gathering, which is quite unlike a “conference.” We created WORLDZ with the mission of uniting tomorrow's leaders with leading CEOs, CMOs, and Icons to create the world of tomorrow.
What sets this conference apart from other business conferences with others with people in tech, media and business?
Unlike most business conferences, WORLDZ is mission-driven and a 10-year journey to unite tomorrow’s leaders with CEOs, CMOs and cultural icons designed to connect, educate, and inspire our attendees/members in both their personal and professional lives. WORLDZ is the only summit where you get the top thinkers, leaders, and doers from all major industries together in one place, and the projects & collaborations that happen because of that are the “magic” that makes the difference. We call it the “business of culture.” The WORLDZ community consists of top companies from over 70 major industries with a focus on the “passion” industries driving culture. We will have over 120 billion in media buying in one room. Most conferences focus on a single vertical, industry, or topics.
How do you pick the speakers?
We have a curation team that researches the cultural and business leaders across 70 diverse industries from space travel and sports, to fashion and music to surface the voices that are creating tomorrow’s world.
What are some of the more difficult negotiations you may have to face when getting a big name exec at a big company to come? Is it harder to get a CEO or EVP from a big company, someone from a smaller company or an entertainer / sports figure to come to the conference?
Our top speakers, who we call Masters are insanely creative and talented people, and they also happen to be very busy. Most of our relationships with speakers is based on long-term friendship and trust. Once the trust is established, it comes down to schedules and availability. Most of our speakers come back year after year. Our speakers carve out time to come to WORLDZ and speak about their vision for their craft and industry. They speak in the spirit of sharing knowledge, making new connections, intersecting with people they might never otherwise meet, and opening their mind to learn new things.
We will have more than 350 speakers and masters at WORLDZ this year, and it's an event for speakers themselves. Every speaker is treated equally, and they, in turn, interact with our community members on a level playing field vs. remaining backstage or sequestered in a VIP Room. We have ten speakers for every one attendee/member of our community and mentorship is a huge component, so all speakers are accessible to everyone.
Beyond speakers, what else can someone do that is maybe more interactive if they don’t want to listen to people drone on about business lingo for hours, however interesting and insightful that may be?
At WORLDZ, every attendee gets to pick and customize their own adventure. Our 'main stage' is like an IMAX theater experience - where we showcase some of the world's top talent with TED type speakers. Everyone has the freedom to ask 1:1 questions during our In-Conversation salons with leaders like will.i.am, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Deepak Chopra. WORLDZ also provides "Meet the Masters" for 1:1 mentorships. We have also created a 'MasterCourse' workshop where you can learn the tools of success from the world’s foremost Masters, and our Cultural Hub is a destination where you can experience Pop Up activations from brands such as Mattel, Facebook, Viacom and many more. And last, but not least, WORLDZ Mentorship Lunches are a unique opportunity to be mentored and learn from your business and cultural heroes. There are endless options to be inspired based on the adventure that you choose.
What types of commitments do you have towards racial and gender diversity for your panel speakers?
WORLDZ has double the gender equality numbers of any other summit community because we want to be a beacon of guidance, showcasing how business can represent both culture and humanity. When you see the caliber of our lineup, masters like Sophia Amoruso (Founder, Nasty Gal & Girlboss), Moj Mahdara (Founder, Beautycon), Raja Rajamannar (CMO, Mastercard), Marisa Thalberg (Chief Brand Officer, Taco Bell), Brenda Freeman (CMO, Magic Leap), Tammy Ma (Fusion Physicist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), and so many more, you can see we, as an organization, are delivering on a very important commitment to diversity and inclusion.
When a regular attendee leaves the conference, what do you hope they will get out of it?
We hope they’ve made friendships with people who can help them in both their professional and personal lives. We want them to walk away with the tools to excel in their job, get a raise, launch the next revolutionary startup, and achieve greatness.
Who are you most excited to see or what discussions are you most excited to see?
Terry Virts from NASA talking about Space Travel; Krishna Andavolu from Viceland speaking about the Future of Cannabis; Jesse Coulter, the CCO of Samsung will discuss storytelling and creativity; and Tony Gonzalez will talk about achieving greatness through life hacks. Jen Rubio from Away will also be speaking about how we reinvent what the future of travel, retail, and commerce.
If you weren’t putting on WORLDZ, what would you be doing?
Creating unexpected positive moments or alternate reality experiences. I live to help people participate in once-in-a-lifetime journeys.