Five questions for Jim Wiandt about networking, inspiration and Fintech South
Tell me about your background. How did you get involved in the event space?
There’s nothing we like better than throwing a good party! The ingredients are simple: great people, great food and a nice dose of Rock and Roll. I was the founder of ETF.com, where we built a strong community of advisors and investors around ETFs through the most important publications and largest events in that space.
You’re now an investor and Board Member at Brella, the event platform being used by Fintech South. How does Brella enhance the virtual event experience?
Brella enables an event organizer to do so many things that were previously impossible with virtual events. The core of their value proposition is in how they connect people so that you meet exactly who you need to. They’ve also done a great job building out networking and sponsorship tools that enable highly interactive virtual events and an event that is easy to navigate and engage with.
Your new company is called Spark Network. Tell us about that company. What is your mission?
The essence of Spark is in facilitating thinking outside the box. We aim to bring Spark into events by connecting musicians and chefs and architects with entrepreneurs, investors and other professionals in ways that enrich both in an environment that is inspired, fun and larger than life.
Spark Network is partnering with Fintech South to do some exciting things. Can you tell us about those? What can attendees expect?
We’ve worked hard to bring Atlanta and Georgia, together with its peerless cultural and culinary history, to life. At the opening reception, we’ll facilitate the performance of three local bands and throughout the event we’ll take attendees through Georgia’s absurdly spectacular musical history through short features between sessions. We’ll also profile (and allow attendees in the Atlanta metro area to order directly from!) several iconic Atlanta restaurants. We’re bringing the fun and bringing the Spark! Atlanta made that easy for us 🙂
COVID-19 has shifted in-person events to virtual. Once we recover, what do you see as the “new normal” for events? Will it be a hybrid model?
Well – there will ALWAYS be a “Plan B” that is 100% virtual going forward, and we don’t believe ANY event in the future won’t include SOME virtual aspect to it. There is very little we like about COVID-19, but we LOVE that it’s helped to drive technological innovation!
Jim Wiandt is the CEO of Spark Network, a group of publications, research and events that build and strengthen the impact-focused community, as well as work through media to promote and grow businesses that align with Spark’s impact-focused goals. He is also a Board Member at Brella, the networking and engagement platform that serves as Fintech South’s foundation for 2020’s virtual event.
Glen Sarvady is a 20-year fintech veteran, Managing Principal of 154 Advisors, and a founding director of the Technology Association of Georgia’s Fintech Society.