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Chris Romano
Chief Operating Officer

Chris brings extensive leadership and management experience that spans multiple organizations and industry sectors. Most recently he was the director of strategic operations for Thrivent Holdings, an entrepreneurial division of Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 300 financial services company. In this role, Chris led numerous strategical and operational functions and was an integral member of the team that launched the start-up division. Additionally, he was a founding member of Thrivent’s Diversity and Inclusion enterprise cohort.

Prior to Thrivent, Chris served as executive director for the Riverview Economic Development Association (REDA). REDA developed and implemented the District del Sol Commercial Corridor Revitalization Project and was a primary catalyst for millions of dollars in real estate, commercial, and public space investment in Saint Paul’s culturally diverse West Side neighborhood. REDA produced Saint Paul’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, which at the time was one of the ten largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the United States.

Earlier in his career Chris developed and led a program for Latino youth at La Oportunidad (Minneapolis) and served with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua as a Small Business Development Consultant.

He currently serves as chairman of the Latino Economic Development Center and is on the board of directors for Exodus Lending. Throughout his career Chris has sat on multiple community committees and boards of directors including the Advisory Board for the University of Minnesota Tourism Center, the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation Neighborhood Leadership Program, and as a career coach for the Graduate Business Career Center at the University of Minnesota.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota, and received a Master of Business Administration degree from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. During his time at the Carlson School, he was recognized as a National Society of Hispanic MBAs Fellow and as a SunquistGlobal MBA Fellow.

Chris lives in Southeast Minneapolis with his wife Kerry and their children Elena (11), Danny (9) and Joey (9).

The COO role with the Center for Economic Inclusion embodies the alignment of my work experience, professional strengths and personal passions in a way that is extremely exciting to me. I truly believe the Center is poised for great impact and success, and I feel blessed to be part of developing and implementing its vision for a just and equitable environment for all.