In his role as Director of Innovation for the LAEDC, Chris Rico leads the continued development of an innovation program for LA County, where he will build broad external support and provide thought leadership and strategic direction for the mission of the Innovate LA program, as well as its goals and priorities. Chris manages the day-to-day operations, programs and initiatives of the Innovate LA Program, including LA Innovation Week, the Blackstone LaunchPad Program in support of Southern California’s entrepreneurial economy, and all of the external communications, marketing and social media for Innovate LA. Chris will also be charged with developing new initiatives and approaches within the Innovate LA Program to increase its relevance, impact and influence within the broader innovation economy and business and economic development communities.
Chris has extensive experience creating, producing and executing projects. Chris honed his creative skills during a successful career in film and television development and production in Hollywood. Chris’s film and television experiences, along with his passion for social change, led him to the political arena where he worked with Arianna Huffington as a state organizer, Moveon.org as a lead organizer, and as campaign director for a ballot initiative to promote water conservation and sustainability. Recently, Chris consulted for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on ActivateED, a campaign of leading education organizations to positively impact student achievement. Most recently, Chris worked with Bright Funds to attract more philanthropic donors, and overseeing an open source digital voting project for the OSET Foundation. Chris’s campaign experience and innovative approach to digital and social media have precipitated exponential growth in visibility for every project he leads. Chris is a graduate of Duke University, where he designed his own major focusing on 20th C. Western European International Affairs. He is also a licensed special needs educator in California.