Ric Elias


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 2009, Elias was a survivor of Flight 1549, an event which drastically changed his life and led to his widely viewed TED Talk “3 things I learned while my plane crashed.” Elias is cited as aspiring to create the “Google of the East Coast” within his company’s culture and facilities.

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. To date, GDS has sent 45 students - valedictorians, award-winning artists, athletes and community leaders - to the colleges of their choice



“Putting to practice his small business, open-door policy, Elias has created a company culture that allows employees to succeed while generating exceptional results for their industry-leading clients.”
– Ernst & Young LLP, 2011

“[Elias] is 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.”
– The Charlotte Observer, 2011 http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/stories/2007/11/05/story2.html