Beyond Hotels: A Leader in Day Meeting Centers Moves the Needle

2017 Changemaker Chris Kelly has a new goal in mind: full service hospitality in office buildings.

MeetingsNet’s annual Changemaker list recognizes 20 outstanding meetings professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways. Find all the profiles here.

Chris Kelly
President & Co-Founder
For building a network of reimagined meetings and events spaces aimed at creating transformative experiences for attendees

Making Change
Since we launched our on-demand conference center concept in 2009, Convene has been committed to improving the quality of collaboration at corporate meetings and events through the best service and design. Our innovation is running full-service meeting and event venues like best-in-class “lifestyle” hotels. We now have 12 venues in New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., with a 13th opening in Boston this month. Our meeting and event venues are all located in commercial office buildings, strategically designed with the end user in mind—the corporate meeting attendee.

What’s Next?
Hospitality is not just tied to hotels and restaurants, but should extend into every aspect of life, including work. Convene is going to focus on this next by developing partnerships with landlords to infuse full-service hospitality programs into commercial office buildings. This will ultimately improve the quality of life at work for building tenants and their most coveted asset—their employees.

Managing Change
It’s important to be 100 percent committed to your values and hold yourself accountable to your goals. But don’t be afraid to constantly evolve your game plan. While change can be unsettling and disruptive, success in business today requires constant iteration. Interpret the change through your values and always start with the “why.”

Best Business Advice
Don’t stop—keep pushing.

Industry Leadership
I am an active industry spokesperson, and have spoken at WORKTECH, Cornell Baker School of Real Estate, NYU Shack Institute of Real Estate, and MIT Center for Real Estate. I have also been recognized as a Top Entrepreneur by Crain’s New York Business, a two-time finalist in Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards, and have been twice recognized on Inc. magazine’s “30 Under 30” list of Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs. Outside of work, I mentor young entrepreneurs through NYC Venture Fellows and The Peter Thiel Foundation.

Role Model
My mom is my biggest role model. She taught me everything there is to know about values-based leadership.

Got a Spare Hour?
I’ll let you know as soon as I find an hour to spare!


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