Synapse Florida, a Tampa-based nonprofit dedicated to fostering the state’s “innovation economy,” is known for large-scale, well-attended events including the annual Synapse Summit at Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, in downtown Tampa.
But with the COVID-19 crisis completely altering the way business networking is done, the organization has decided to embrace virtual meetings for its next event, Synapse Converge. It's scheduled to take place June 9-11 in, well, your home — or wherever you attend online meetings these days.
The three-day virtual conference, which costs $25, kicks off with a “Libate and Learn” session the afternoon of June 9. The next two days are packed with the breakout sessions and keynote speakers one might expect at a typical conference, but augmented with virtual “rooms” wherein, according to a news release, companies and recruiters can meet with talented tech workers who are searching for jobs.
“Usually, March through May tends to be our off-season for strategic planning,” Synapse co-Founder and President Brian Kornfeld tells Coffee Talk. That’s because the Synapse Summit usually takes place in January or February. This year, the event was held Feb. 11-12, about a month before Florida’s economy shut down and businesses began to feel the brunt of the COVID-19 economic crisis.
“We realized there was a whole sector that needed support,” Kornfeld says of the decision to stage an all-virtual conference. “It’s a good time to push the innovation community and ecosystem forward. Innovation tends to thrive during downturns.”
Executives from companies including Vology, Florida Blue, Amazon Web Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers and GuideWell are expected to attend Synapse Converge, Kornfeld says. Attendees can pay an additional $15 when they register, and Synapse Florida will donate a Converge ticket to a student, veteran or individual who’s experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19.
“Buy a ticket for somebody who's lost their job, who might be furloughed, somebody who's been affected by this crisis or somebody [who] may just be looking for their next big opportunity, ” Kornfeld says. “We really want to make this all about support for the innovation community.”
For more information or to register, visit www.Converge.SynapseFL.com.
(This article has been updated to correct the name of the Synapse Summit.)