Ryan Kunkel

Fabulous People: Ryan Kunkel

Ryan Kunkel is the president of WNDR Global, which recently opened WNDR Museum Seattle. “WNDR Museums (currently in Chicago, San Diego, Seattle and Boston) are community hubs that feature interactive art and technology exhibits. They also facilitate year-round programming focused on collaboration and community action.” Learn about Ryan Kunkel…

Hometown: Chicago

First job: When I was 14, I started helping my neighbor’s small business set up bounce houses for birthday parties. It was the beginning of my “experiential” journey!

Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: I love spending time in and around Seattle whenever I get the opportunity. Hiking around Snoqualmie, boating on Lake Washington and escaping to Vashon Island are few of my favorite adventures around the this stunning area. 

Your biggest accomplishment and why: Raising a substantial amount of money for the children of St. Jude Children’s Hospital is by far my proudest accomplishment. Through dozens of initiatives, we were able to fund the first-ever proton therapy center designed specifically for kids. That facility has made a tremendous impact on kids (and their families) who suffered from very serious forms of leukemia.

The biggest obstacle you overcame: I have a tendency to get out over my skis – ha! When we launched our first major music festival (Firefly), we had no idea what we got ourselves into. We had to conquer an endless list of massive obstacles (that I’m happy to share over a cocktail or five), but we ultimately pulled it off.

Someone who inspires you and why: This one’s tough. I’m where I am because of the wisdom and strength of those around me. If I have to pick one person, it would be my partner, my wife, Kristi. My long days are her long days, and she’s the rock through all the wild ups and downs of this journey. 

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: If you’re looking for a traditional 9-to-5 job, this industry is not for you – it’s a fun, exhilarating, grind. The specific skills needed aren’t taught in school. Creativity, scrappiness and grit are perhaps the most important.  

Favorite quote: “The time is always right to do what is right.” -Dr. King

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: Hmmmm – it’s odd, but I don’t watch TV. I’m not anti-TV, it’s just been my life hack to squeeze an extra hour or two out of a day. Someday when life slows down, I’ll find my trashy TV vice. Suggestions welcomed! 

What makes someone fabulous: Authenticity and heart. Own who you are and raise up those around you.

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