Kenji has always been a straight shooter and an enthusiastic promoter of all things outdoor. What may not be obvious to those meeting him today is that his rise through the ranks of responsibility and influence came organically. This isn’t evident because he carries himself as a consumate professional, but that professionalism is steeped in grass roots experience, starting in sales on the floor at A16, and then deliberately moving forward and up. That’s his track record, which reflects his attitude: onward and upward.
From business fundamentals to nuanced communications, Kenji is an independent creative thinker with an impactful voice, who ushers in change and breathes new life into antiquated offerings while making the best use of available resources. The mission of this agency is to help organizations grow through effective event strategies and authentic and inclusive communication.
The outdoor industry may very well be on the brink of one quantum jump now; bringing a healthy, positive, accessible and affordable activity to millions of ready-to-move Americans who have been left out.
Left Out Until now.
This might just be the quantum leap we can create, together. We just need to find our voice, one organization at a time. Kenji Consults brings that voice out in organizations open to change, diversification and growing a bigger pie.
Kenji Haroutunian is an independent agent for change focused on events and the great outdoors experience. Kenji’s acumen for business comes from 33-years in outdoor org management and teaching outdoor skills (including advanced climbing and wilderness navigation courses) during/after completing his Geography/Environmental Policy degree at UCLA. In 1999 he began working for Outdoor Retailer, building an authentic brand story and growing the business into one of the premier b2b shows in the world. In 2011 he was elevated to Vice President for Nielsen Expo, directing the Outdoor Sports group. Kenji has spearheaded industry-focused programs, like FundSource OR, the Project OR design competition, Green Steps, The OR Virtual Design Center, Backcountry Base Camp, and the Business of Backcountry Forums, all of which help attract core athletes, media and designers to the show and adds to the bottom line. A 2010 Access Fund ‘Sharp End’ awardee, Kenji serves on the Board of Directors of the Access Fund, is President Emeritus of the Friends Of Joshua Tree and is a founding director of TeccSociety, an events-industry technology organization.
THE FOUNDERS STORY
The global Outdoor Market is one of the most resilient, entrepreneurial, innovation-driven, tight-knit business communities in existence. While we’re an open family, initiatives and progress are made faster when there’s an independent, trusted person to make the connections and open the doors. Relationships matter deeply in this space – and make all the difference when creating a 2.0 brand concept, new product, key association or point of entry, or in readying for a game-changing launch. I’ve had the privilege of growing my career in this amazing market from retail associate at A16 over 30 years ago, to holding an eight-year global market leadership role for the outdoor industry, as Show Director for Outdoor Retailer Winter and Summer Markets (as well as other niche properties of Nielsen/Emerald). I’m now on the Sharp End again, able to offer my experience base, creative solution-oriented approach, and three decades of proven service as the founder and CEO of Kenji Consults.
- Aim for a level of success that makes progress and positive change the new normal. Instill Kaizen principles in outdoor organizations to propel mid-long term growth and a powerful, sustainable industry.
- We don’t take ‘This is just how it is’ as an answer. If it is good for the brand, then there is a way to make it happen using scale, creative structure and incremental investment as programs unfold.
- We do best when we ascertain risk, overcome obstacles with highly creative approaches, connect people and lead teams and stakeholders in a connected and sustainable way.
- Think like a climber reading a first ascent: see the line, assess the risks and obstacles and take the lead on the toughest pitches for the team and for clients.
- Often, the line we see is not the line everyone would take, which is how I bring my definition of success to my clients and partners. We take a more inclusive, ecotone-based approach to growth and balance.
As my team was visioning the 2015 Utah Recreation Summit, I knew I wanted Kenji on board to offer his unique perspective on how businesses can benefit from the use of events like Outdoor Retailer to power their businesses and the outdoor industry. He has a strong presentation voice and he was an excellent complement to the speakers in this year’s lineup.
Kenji’s commitment to colleagues, clients, and the Outdoor Industry as a whole has been exemplary. His positive, solution oriented outlook is inspirational and serves as a model for personal and professional integrity.
As an avid athlete and outdoorsman, Kenji not only works in but also lives in his customer’s marketplace. This gives him invaluable insight for his customers and a keen insight into the mind of his customer’s customer. He is the go-to-guy when you need an effective and realistic trade show and event plan. His experience is money in the bank.
I have worked with Kenji as a fellow member of the Adventure 16 retail team, and then when he was a sales person for Outdoor Retailer. I now work with Kenji both as a member of the media reporting on the trade shows he manages and as an exhibitor. Kenji’s commitment to and understanding of the outdoor industry and to the companies he serves as the director of Outdoor Retailer is remarkable. Few can match his passion and desire to ensure his company both benefits and serves the industry in all that he does. He is a strong advocate for the outdoors and his vision is certainly a strong reason the Outdoor Retailer show continues to be successful.
Kenji Haroutunian is an old friend, and a respected colleague. I worked with him for five+years while at Outdoor Retailer, and he was nothing short of professional, innovative and action-oriented. Kenji fittingly has risen through the ranks at Outdoor Retailer to become Show Director. When I heard of his appointment as director, I knew that the industry was in for a positive change. Kenji has ushered in a fantastic, fresh approach that brings tools and insights found only in an entrepreneurial mindset. I would have expected nothing less, coming from the authentic background he brings. We are fortunate to have him directing such a critical aspect of our industry.
As a young woman entering the world of outdoor adventure Kenji gave me the chance to lead at Adventure 16. I have to credit this opportunity not so much to my own talents but to Kenji’s ability in bringing out the best in everyone. He has a gift for inspiring others to achieve more than they thought they were capable. Kenji continuously strengthened his joie de vivre by giving selflessly to his staff, his students, and his environment – a rare quality that he has carried with him for over 20 years in the outdoor industry. I was proud to work for Kenji then, and am prouder now to call him still a trusted friend and advisor.
Kenji is a leader without trying. He is a business magnet; meaning companies and people are naturally attracted to him. He has a rare talent in business today, he does the right thing for the people and companies he serves. He is honest. He is a friend.
If you’ve read Gladwell’s “Tipping Point,” you understand how valuable the “connectors” are — those who have a special gift of bringing people together. Kenji is my connector to the outdoor industry. He has the eyes and ears of some of the most influential buyers, retailer, and press in the industry, which is why he’s the Group Show Director of OR. And while juggling these responsibilities, he still manages these relationships with intregrity and sincerity. He treats me as if I am the only one who calls him with industry questions or advice.
Kenji is a guy who you immediately realize is a lovely/virtuous person, who is extremely rewarding & fun to work with, with lots of powerful ideas. Plus, I dig the way he interacts with others both professionally and personally. There aren’t many earthlings that ride the ball the way he does. It’s why I like to stand next to him and/or man hug him every chance I get. Any organization or individual that has the chance to work with Kenji should jump without hesitation because he will certainly provide positive results times ten. I guarantee it.
Some of our clients
As a model for his team and for retailers and guide/outfitters across the country, Kenji has actively participated in outdoor non-profit advocacy, assembled diversity discussion groups, actively engaged in written forums for recruiting and outreach changes, and steered one of the nation’s largest trade show producers to more generously contribute to key industry partners. He managed all this while actively supporting organizations who protect natural spaces and repeatedly delivered excellent financial results while increasing his company’s service and relevance to its audience.
Years in the Outdoor Industry
Years of Content
Years Non-Profit / Advocacy Leadership
Years of Sales/Marketing
Kenji Consults Services and Specialties
Why Kenji Consults?
As longtime director of two top-fifty trade shows in the country (and many events and services beyond), Kenji’s experience has afforded him a truly independent viewpoint to best understand the ebbs and flows of business trends, successes, failures and the tools that can be applied these days to make a difference.
29 Years Of Experience
Realizing successful outcomes with a combination of thorough empirical analysis and the ‘magic touch’ of custom authenticity gained in decades of market immersion.
Creative Event Producer
Driving value for organizations by creating and managing face-to-face activations, authentic market touches and measurable market-centric programs.
Disciplined Business Consultant
Helping companies achieve their goals by establishing baseline metrics and growth targets with a simple toolkit to stay on track.
Passionate Diversity Advocate
Taking organizations from talk to action when it comes to growing a larger audience, and integrating diverse voices and faces into the team.
Motivating and educating audiences on how to maximize a business events’ performance to drive bottom-line results.