Krisztina Holly, known by colleagues as Z, is an entrepreneur, engineer, and innovation expert. In 2009 she created the first ever TEDx event, TEDxUSC, which so far has inspired over 6,000 similar events globally. Z most recently served as vice provost for innovation at USC and was founding executive director for two university centers for innovation, the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation and the USC Stevens Center for Innovation. These initiatives expanded the innovation ecosystems in Boston and LA and helped spin out 39 startups based on groundbreaking university technologies.
Between startups she spent nearly three years in documentary production for clients such as the Smithsonian, Harvard Business School Publishing, and the National Science Foundation. Her first startup was computer telephony pioneer, Stylus Innovation, acquired by Artisoft in 1996. Named Champion of Free Enterprise by Forbes in 2010, she is currently an advisor to the Obama administration and the World Economic Forum. Her work has appeared in BusinessWeek, The Huffington Post, CNN.com, Forbes, Strategy+Business, Science Progress, BigThink.com, and Mountain Bike magazine. She earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from MIT. Z is an adventure traveler, skydiver, backcountry/telemark skier, shark diver, mountain biker, and authentic food aficionado.