Ric Elias is the CEO and co-founder of Red Ventures, a marketing and sales powerhouse for some of the largest brands across North America. A native to Puerto Rico, Ric attended Boston College and Harvard Business School before beginning his career as part of GE's Financial Management program.
Ric co-founded Red Ventures in 2000, just days before the dot-com bubble burst. The company weathered the storm and by 2007 it was ranked 4th on the Inc. 500 list. In 2010, Red Ventures grew by 62 percent and was ranked #1 on Charlotte's Best Places to Work list. That same year, global growth equity firm General Atlantic LLC (GA) announced a minority investment in the company.
Today, Red Ventures employs more than 1,800 people and has offices in four states. The company has grown more than 30 percent each year for the past three years and is poised to grow more than 40 percent in 2013.
Armed with his favorite motto, "What got us here won't get us there," Ric is constantly finding new ways to improve the company's model, while maintaining its unique culture. Under Ric's leadership, Red Ventures now drives millions of dollars in sales for 14 industry-leading brand partners - each business a testament to the hyper-adaptability of Ric and his team.
Ric's leadership style earned him noteworthy recognition in 2011, when he was named an Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year. His inspirational views on both business and family have been featured on CNN, TED Talks and MSNBC.
Beyond Red Ventures, Ric focuses on creating equal educational opportunities for the more than two million undocumented youth in the U.S. In August 2012, he founded Golden Door Scholars (GDS), a non-profit that creates educational and career opportunities for high-performing undocumented students. This fall, GDS sent 13 students - valedictorians, award-winning artists, athletes and community leaders - to the colleges of their choice.
Ric in the News
The Charlotte Observer, June 2011 - "His quiet impact on progressive work ideas" Since Elias launched the company in 2000 along with Dan Feldstein (the two worked together at direct marketing giant Cendant), he's been on a crusade to liberate employees from clock-punching bureaucracies and an ethos of fear and caution into an atmosphere of risk-taking innovation. You might say he is trying to infuse a bit of Silicon Valley into the Queen City.
CNN, May 2011 - "What I thought when my plane crashed" As I sat in the first row of Flight 1549, just moments before it crashed in the Hudson River that day in January 2009, the things that had once seemed so important no longer mattered. I didn't have to talk to the flight attendant anymore. I could see a very distinct look in her eyes. It was the look of terror. And I was going to die. It was a true miracle that I didn't die that day. It was also an experience that changed me forever.