Rana Florida CEO, The Creative Class Group & Best-Selling Author, Upgrade

As Chief Executive Officer of the Creative Class Group, Rana Florida manages new business development, marketing, consulting, research, and global operations serving such diverse clients as BMW, Converse, IBM, Cirque du Soleil, Audi, Zappos, and Johnson & Johnson— to name just a few. She brings to this leadership role more than two decades of experience in corporate strategy, communications, and marketing, having directed global strategic communications for HMSHost, the world’s largest airport developer, as well as having executed marketing initiatives for such premier brands as Disney and Starbucks and events experience working with The Atlantic, The Aspen Institute, and The Knight Foundation.

Well known as a writer on business and leadership—for Fast Company, Inc.com, and the Huffington Post—Rana has also served as a guest business analyst on The Today Show and MSNBC’s The Cycle, has been a Fox News contributor for several years, and has been featured in the Business section of The New York Times and in interviews for the Wall Street Journal, Market Watch, CNN, The Globe and Mail, and other major media outlets.

Her one-on-one high profile interviews have covered notables—from President Bill Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama to tennis great Andre Agassi and NBA owner (and TV star) Mark Cuban, from chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mario Batali to singer Nelly Furtado and fashion designer Tory Burch, from the United Nations Director of Girl Up to world renowned architects Peter Marino and Zaha Hadid—and many more.

The thought-provoking chronicler of Creative Spaces for HGTV and the Huffington Post, highlighting public and private spaces that epitomize creativity, innovation, and design, Rana is particularly interested in the public-private intersection, and today serves as Juror on Design for Marketing Magazine Awards and Director of the FIU-Miami Creative City Initiative, a collaboration demonstrating how creativity, culture, and design can drive a regional economy.

She is also heavily involved in philanthropic work. She is currently an appointed member of the United Nations Global Network on Digital Technologies and Sustainable Urbanization for UN Habitat and serves on the board of directors for the Olympics Committee, Canadian Freestyle Ski Association. She also continues to work with the Design-Exchange and Girls E Mentorship. She previously lent her expertise to the boards of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Airports Council International in Washington, D.C., the Council for International Visitors, the The Founders Junior Council of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Isabella Blow Foundation.

Rana’s corporate board work includes board member for the online retailer Shop.ca, juror for the Marketing Magazine Awards in Design and Chair of the Travel & Leisure Rebel Awards, Le Miami.
Rana holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and a MBA in marketing and management.

Her book, Upgrade—Taking Your Work and Life From Ordinary to Extraordinary (McGraw Hill, 2013) was a ‘Business Best Seller,’ by Tattered Cover, the largest independent bookstore retailer in the U.S. and The Globe and Mail, Editor’s Pick.

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