Innovation Collective is a team made up of individuals who believe their purpose is to make a radical difference.
We are a passionate group who are relentlessly helping humans all over the world unlock their potential to transform economies and cities.
Founder & CEO
Nicholas Chabrán-Acevedo Smoot
Nick is a globally respected community and economic strategist. He is a 4x entrepreneur (3 exits), venture capital investor, real estate developer, and ecosystem builder.
His work in startup ecosystems has been recognized by organizations like Google, Brookings, Milken Institute, and Bloomberg. He has been interviewed for Bloomberg West, BBC, Entrepreneurship Magazine, and Fast Company.
Nick has developed national job strategies, award winning education/workforce training programs, and youth leadership development programs. He is a Milken Institute Young Leader and has spent time in over 200 cities in the last decade working with government, education, industry, and community members of all types as he focuses in on the reproducible art of community lead ecosystem development.
Nick loves hiking deep in the woods of Idaho and can often be seen playing tennis with his two sons.
Chief Commercial Officer
Garen is a global business development executive and 3X entrepreneur with more than 20 years of professional experience within revenue management, sales & marketing and product development. Prior to joining Innovation Collective, he was Director of Strategic Partnering with automaker BMW Group’s Designworks global consultancy where he led strategic product development engagements for the world’s most recognizable transportation companies, airlines, aircraft OEMs, governments and startups. Prior to joining BMW Group Designworks in 2013, Garen was Commercial Director and Co-Founder at CuldeSac, Spain. In his time at CuldeSac he helped construct a leading creative consultancy who delivered retail activation and product launch strategies for renown luxury brands such as Aston Martin, LVMH and Tiffany’s.
Jens is a business builder with over 25 years experience in the creative industries.
He led a multi-award winning digital agency that developed community and content strategies for some of the biggest names in entertainment such as Xbox, Disney and Universal, as well as top tier consumer brands including Procter & Gamble and Unilever; held senior sales and marketing positions at international film studios and tech start-ups; and now brings his mix of commercial experience and entrepreneurial attitude to community-led economic development initiatives.
Of German-Irish descent, Jens graduated from University College Dublin with a BComm and MBS, and studied at the Ecole Superieur de Commerce de Paris and Harvard Business School. Former TEDster. Loves SUP, sailing and open water swimming. He currently lives with his wife and son in southwest Ireland.
Community Lead - Brooksville, FL
Raised a few minutes east of the Appalachian Trail - getting your mind out in the wild is something I constantly seek. I believe activity, serenity, and challenges are what build us. I've been around education most my life - but I'm after what traditional education can't quite touch. It's taken me from PA to Texas and Florida. I'm inspired by others - and their courage drives my curiosity. If we ever have an opportunity to chat - I know we'll both come away with a new idea that improves some snippet of humanity. That's what I'm here for.
Community Lead - Victoria, TX
Community Lead - Cazenovia, NY
Jenn has a background in economic development throughout rural upstate New York. Born and raised on Long Island, she made Central New York her home when she chose Cazenovia for her undergrad and fell in love with the area. From there, she worked in a variety of roles to connect with rural small businesses to watch them flourish. Through lending, economic development, grant writing, start-up process, resource connection, and being their ally while they navigated the process. Jenn is also an entrepreneur with two businesses and a 501(c)3. When at home, she enjoys her time on her small farm, tending to the garden, caring for her house plants, and reading.
Community Lead - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Kirsten has a background in the hospitality and service industries, and through managing different teams and serving all walks of life in her community has found a great passion for empowering and encouraging people. She believes that every part of the process of life and becoming is as important as the next-- so be meaningful, give your all, and be pumped for where you’re at in every moment.
Kirsten hopes to connect through curiosity of the potential her town and its people possess, and partner in championing the dreams of those ready to do the work. She can’t wait to be inspired and create space for others to be inspired with the community the Innovation Collective is building. When she’s not running around the Den, you can probably find her watching a true crime series cuddled up with her dog or shopping in her favorite boutiques downtown.