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2023 BizBash 40 Under 40: Russell Wyman

Russell Wyman, 38, is the co-founder and CEO of GruupMeet.

2023 BizBash 40 Under 40: Russell Wyman

Russell Wyman, 38, is the co-founder and CEO of white-label event management hub GruupMeet. He’s based in Dallas/Fort Worth.

What my day-to-day looks like:
My day begins by first checking in with my team to ensure we are working effectively and efficiently, and by checking my emails to ensure that GruupMeet remains responsive according to our customer’s evolving needs.

I spend most of my mornings ensuring that my team clearly understands what is needed to be successful with clients. This often entails making sure development updates or changes are appropriate and fitting to our customer’s needs. I find that our customers appreciate and receive the most benefit from timely and collaborative efforts from my team, which is why I strive to communicate and ensure each client is comfortable with GruupMeet prior to noon. After lunch, I spend my time analyzing software programs GruupMeet uses to help maintain consistency and reliability in development, such as Bitbucket and Atlassian. 

At the end of each week, I compile questions to share with my team to make sure we are proactively working to achieve our customer’s objectives and remain competitive within the event tech space.

My career journey:
I intended to work in the advertising industry after being named as one of the American Advertising Institute’s “Most Promising Minority Students” in 2007, but continued into the events industry after having completed an inspiring and hands-on internship with a Dallas/Fort Worth-based DMC. As the marketing coordinator for this DMC, I was able to lead and directly impact the company’s sales plans through creative initiatives that entailed CSR and digital efforts. We were one of the first destination management companies leveraging digital as a marketing channel, and I gained unique experience working with email marketing and websites that has served to benefit me throughout my career in events. 

I then moved into sales, which is where I experienced the confidence and success needed to eventually create GruupMeet. After departing from the DMC in 2012, I founded GruupMeet shortly thereafter based on experience within the industry. As the co-founder of GruupMeet, I quickly understood that I needed help leading and growing a B2B tech software company. Accordingly, in 2014, GruupMeet received an initial investment and was accepted in Tech Wildcatters’ nationally ranked accelerator program. Participation in Tech Wildcatters led to an equity capital investment in 2015 from the founding team of MetroPCS, previously one of the nation’s fifth largest telecommunications companies. Without this support and investment, GruupMeet would not be in existence today, nor would it be able to support its customer base of leading brands, which appropriately includes the DMC client I initially started with, Ultimate Ventures.2023 BizBash 40 Under 40: Russell WymanWyman recalled when "GruupMeet received an initial investment and was accepted in Tech Wildcatters’ nationally ranked accelerator program" in 2014 (pictured). He attributed the participation in the event to the platform's success today.Photo: Courtesy of Russell Wyman

What inspires me:
Being a problem solver inspires me. Solving problems is what originally inspired me to love working in the events industry, and it is what continues to inspire me. I believe a great business leader is a great problem solver. Thus, I seek to work with fellow problem solvers and see each opportunity to solve business problems as a source of inspiration.

After all, I essentially founded GruupMeet in response to event disasters and stress levels, and seek to create frictionless experiences for both organizers and meeting attendees. GruupMeet simplifies event communications and manages travel disruption, ensuring that business attendees are engaged, and in-person meeting experiences are enhanced. So, disruption and event disasters are everyday occurrences—or opportunities—for our business. Accordingly, we believe increased flight disruption and the need for a convenient and flexible communications solution have complemented GruupMeet’s strengths and unique market position.

My most memorable event:
GruupMeet has been fortunate to have earned the trust to experience many memorable events, including events in conjunction with the Super Bowl and the World Cup. Still, an event that stands out was a group that flew into Vatican City and was relying on GruupMeet’s arrival text message alerts. Prior to the event, I didn't even know much about the group, including the arriving flight’s destination. At first, I had no clue as to whether or not we would be able to achieve this client’s objectives and fortunately, we were successful. It was the caliber of this event and the level of trust that was needed in the GruupMeet platform that makes it continue to stand out among the rest as a memorable event.2023 BizBash 40 Under 40: Russell WymanWyman said he "founded GruupMeet in response to event disasters and stress levels" and seeks "to create frictionless experiences for both organizers and meeting attendees." Thus, GruupMeet's offerings include event consultations, content sharing, cloud hosting, branded pages, payment portals, and chat and text support services.Photo: Courtesy of Russell Wyman

Some impressive stats I’m responsible for:
My team’s average tenure with GruupMeet is more than 8.5 years, which is a stat that I find impressive. 

I also find the average number of attendees—485 per client event—impressive, as well as the stats related to our client’s “lifetime value” and years with GruupMeet.

What’s next for me:
Earning the CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation is next for me.

My ideal day OOO:
My ideal day OOO is not much different from my ideal day in the office. 

Ideally, I seek to learn something new, to make an impact related to achieving a customer’s objectives or an employee’s goals, and to have done something worthy of earning another’s trust. My ideal day is to make a difference.

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BizBash's 2023 40 Under 40 list is sponsored by VDA, a Massachusetts-based experiential marketing and event design agency that specializes in custom live, hybrid, and virtual experiences designed to drive business growth through client collaboration and creative thinking.