Krisztina 'Z' Holly

NEW EXCLUSIVE
  • Engineer & Tech Entrepreneur
  • Curator of First Ever TEDx Event
  • Founder, MIT & USC Innovation Centers
  • Operating Partner, Good Growth Capital

MIT-trained engineer and tech entrepreneur Krisztina “Z” Holly, curator of the first ever TEDx event, has been at the forefront of innovation throughout her career. She started her career as a serial tech entrepreneur in Boston and Silicon Valley before spending over a decade building pioneering innovation centers at MIT and USC. The White House subsequently invited her to help spread her novel model across the United States. Today, she invests in early-stage complex science and technology startups as an operating partner at Good Growth Capital and is a sought-after advisor and speaker to organizations around the world. She has been recognized by Rolling Stone, Forbes, WIRED, and Entrepreneur Mag for her ability to scout and cultivate talent and catalyze global initiatives. With a proven track record of fostering innovation, Z’s insights come from real-world experience.

Z has spoken at Davos, the White House, YPO Entrepreneurial Energy, NBC Universal, and the National Academy of Sciences Innovation Summit; she has facilitated numerous sessions for the World Economic Forum with heads of state and CEOs of Fortune 100 companies. She regularly appears as a public expert and interviewer, leading conversations with tech “rockstars” such as Biz Stone and Tim O'Reilly, interviewing world-famous extreme athletes, and facilitating panels with university presidents and global leaders. Z’s authentic style and tailored messages resonate with a wide range of audiences, from students and aspiring entrepreneurs to academics and top executives

 



Krisztina 'Z'  Holly headshot
Past Hosts Include:
  • World Economic Forum
  • The White House
  • United States Conference of Mayors
  • International Women's Forum
  • Young Presidents Organization
  • TEDx
  • Etsy
  • NBC Universal
  • Milken Institute
  • SXSW
Krisztina 'Z' Holly on Serious Tinkering | TEDxLASalon - Get Sharable Link
Talks & Conversations with Krisztina 'Z' Holly
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Hosting & Emceeing

KRISZTINA “Z” HOLLY has emceed numerous events, often with over 1,000 attendees, including curating and hosting the first-ever TEDx event (TEDxUSC) for four years. Whether guiding a panel discussion or leading an awards ceremony, Z’s professional touch is her ability to make surprising connections, ...

KRISZTINA “Z” HOLLY has emceed numerous events, often with over 1,000 attendees, including curating and hosting the first-ever TEDx event (TEDxUSC) for four years. Whether guiding a panel discussion or leading an awards ceremony, Z’s professional touch is her ability to make surprising connections, harness the audience's curiosity, and ask tough questions respectfully. With her charismatic presence and extensive experience, Z excels at hosting and emceeing events of all sizes.

Build Beyond Yourself: A Better Path to Growth, Innovation, & Impact

Innovation is a fundamentally social act, and KRISZTINA “Z” HOLLY provides her behind-the-scenes stories of growth and innovation. Through surprising stories—including the origins of the shipping container, skateboard culture, TEDx, and the most active seed investor in the world—you’ll learn: How n ...

Innovation is a fundamentally social act, and KRISZTINA “Z” HOLLY provides her behind-the-scenes stories of growth and innovation. Through surprising stories—including the origins of the shipping container, skateboard culture, TEDx, and the most active seed investor in the world—you’ll learn:

  • How new technologies are changing the way we innovate—and how to stay ahead of the curve
  • Why we must stop growing—and start replicating and sharing—to achieve maximum impact and agility
  • How mass tinkering, not crowdsourcing, can enable you to unlock innovation your organization could never achieve by itself

If you are seeking influence and impact in a time of rapid change, join Z for this thought-provoking and entertaining session, and get ready to question your assumptions about scale.

The Future of Creativity: How to Innovate in a Time of Rapid Change

In this inspiring presentation, KRISZTINA “Z” HOLLY explores how it’s not just great ideas that will drive significant impact across industries and society, but how we innovate that matters most. Z shares entertaining examples—not only business and tech, but also robots and rockets, artists in the d ...

In this inspiring presentation, KRISZTINA “Z” HOLLY explores how it’s not just great ideas that will drive significant impact across industries and society, but how we innovate that matters most. Z shares entertaining examples—not only business and tech, but also robots and rockets, artists in the desert, and 7,000 physicists looking for the secrets of the universe—to illustrate how to harness others’ imagination. You’ll learn:

  • What a collective, distributed, and iterative future means for your business strategy
  • How to collaborate with new technologies to unlock your organization’s full innovative potential
  • How to reinvent your innovation process to stay competitive, no matter what the future brings

Drawing from her extensive experience with startups and technology, Z provides actionable insights on fostering a culture of creativity to turn visionary concepts into reality.

Designing Eureka: Harness Your Inner Entrepreneur

In this interactive engagement, KRISZTINA “Z” HOLLY busts myths about entrepreneurship and innovation, including fun puzzles and games to help illustrate her takeaway lessons. You’ll learn: Principles of entrepreneurial thinking—and why it isn’t always the answer Why thinking outside the box is the ...

In this interactive engagement, KRISZTINA “Z” HOLLY busts myths about entrepreneurship and innovation, including fun puzzles and games to help illustrate her takeaway lessons. You’ll learn:

  • Principles of entrepreneurial thinking—and why it isn’t always the answer
  • Why thinking outside the box is the wrong paradigm for coaxing the most innovation from your team
  • Why imagination is more important than creativity—and how to unlock it in others for maximum impact
  • How to learn from success rather than failure

Aimed at making teams more innovative, this session is a good warm-up for a conference where leaders are looking for the audience to be more open-minded and ready to participate.

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Speaker News
<p><strong>Krisztina “Z” Holly speaks to the future of innovation, creativity, scale, and impact </strong></p>

Krisztina “Z” Holly speaks to the future of innovation, creativity, scale, and impact

In her engaging talks, KRISZTINA “Z” HOLLY brings a contrarian perspective as she highlights the latest technological advancements transforming business and innovation. Reflecting on her work building pioneering centers at MIT and USC plus her experiences scouting undiscovered innovators and helping them change the world, Z points out the opportunities ahead for institutions to harness imagination to build a new future. Z’s insights into new technologies and entrepreneurial mindsets provide valuable guidance for businesses looking to innovate and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Watch Krisztina “Z” Holly on The Digital Factory Podcast >>

Watch Krisztina “Z” Holly on TEDxLASalon >>

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Biography

Krisztina Holly—known to colleagues as “Z”—is an MIT-trained engineer and tech entrepreneur who has been at the frontiers of innovation throughout her career. Today, she invests in early-stage complex science and technology startups as a venture partner at Good Growth Capital and is a sought-after advisor and speaker to organizations around the world. She has been recognized by Rolling Stone, Forbes, WIRED, and Entrepreneur magazines for her ability to scout and cultivate talent and catalyze global initiatives.

Z is best known as the curator and host of the first ever TEDx in 2009 and the first vice provost for innovation at the University of Southern California. She spent over a decade building pioneering innovation centers at MIT and USC, and the White House subsequently invited her to help spread her novel model across the United States. Earlier in her career, she was a researcher at the MIT Media Lab and manufacturing engineer on the Space Shuttle Main Engine, and she spent a decade in tech playing key roles at startups such as Stylus innovation (acquired by Artisoft) and Direct Hit Technologies (acquired by Ask Jeeves). She has served as a contributor to Forbes and an advisor and board member to numerous organizations globally, including the Obama administration and World Economic Forum. She has coached hundreds of private sector leaders, faculty innovators, governmental policymakers, extreme athletes, and founders who have raised more than $1B in capital.  

Z earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT. She is an avid private pilot and backcountry skier, working and adventuring from her home base in Los Angeles.