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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.

Creative Spaces: The World's Coolest Pools

Tomorrow marks the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest day of the year. The sun is at its maximum elevation, and that means many of us long to be poolside. Whether we use them to relax, exercise, entertain or simply recharge, pools have long been the crown jewel in home design and social status. We all clamor for fun in the sun, and a pool to cool off in.
06/19/2012 11:58 EDT

Your Start-Up Life: When Is it Time to Fire Someone?

I have two key employees who have been with me for three years, both performing at a C+. I'd love to replace them, but they are both crucial positions and I just don't have the time to search for and train replacements. Should I fire them and suffer trying to find someone better or do I keep jogging along at a C average?
05/10/2012 09:46 EDT

Creative Spaces: Schools That Don't Suck!

Developing a school that not only makes students feel welcome and safe but encourages students to unleash their creative potential is a huge and important challenge. There is no silver bullet for transforming school buildings into an environment that inspires and ignites the creative flame, but an imaginative design can go a long way.
04/24/2012 10:54 EDT

Creative Spaces: Stadiums that Could Teach the Super Bowl a Few Tricks

Most people will be tuning into Super Bowl on February 5 to watch the game. I will be checking out the stadium. Location is not the only important consideration -- design, art, and architecture matter too. How well does the building fit into its neighborhood? A stadium doesn't have to be a faceless behemoth.
01/30/2012 12:55 EST

Creative Spaces: Where to Find Inspiration

Creative workers need peace and quiet and privacy, but they need social stimulation. Can you do that in a fish bowl-style cubicle? Drab furniture, white walls, no natural sunlight, and bland, boring spaces do little to ignite the imagination.
01/17/2012 08:10 EST

Creative Spaces: The Need for Space Outside the Office

Most corporate jobs -- to put it mildly -- are profoundly uninspiring. We've moved from an agricultural society to one that was industrial, then knowledge-based, and now, creative. But the majority of our employers and working environments have yet to adapt.
01/03/2012 07:06 EST

Why Is Shopping Online in Canada So Difficult?

Whatever you desire can be bought online and shipped for little cost in the States, including prescription drugs and toiletries. I can place wine orders online at any corner wine shop in the U.S. and they will deliver it right to the door. In Canada, you'll be lucky if the LCBO wine clerk helps you to your car.
10/23/2011 11:40 EDT