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John Fernandez

Taking bold action and disrupting the status quo to drive strategic innovation have defined John’s career as a senior leader in government, the private sector and now as US Chief Innovation Officer and Partner for Dentons, the largest law firm in the world.

A chief executive with nearly 20 years of senior management experience, this former mayor, Federal economic development leader and collaboration expert has an exceptional ability to work with diverse constituencies, manage complex issues and produce compelling results.

John’s approach has led to significant opportunities and visionary outcomes:
Nominated by President Obama and confirmed unanimously by the Senate, John served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. He transformed the office into a 21st Century organization and launched the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the “i6 Challenge” and the “Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge” to support innovative, high-growth strategies and entrepreneurship.

As Mayor of Bloomington, Ind., John worked with the private sector to develop a vibrant business climate that fostered more than $243 million in private investments and created 3700 new jobs.

As Senior Vice President/Partner with First Capital Investment Group, Inc. he directed a portfolio of more than $150 million in assets and closed $47.2 million in acquisition transactions.

Now with Dentons, John is a driving force in the firm’s strategy to reinvent the business of law. As Global Chair of NextLaw Labs, an independent legal tech business accelerator, he works closely with the firm’s lawyers and professionals to identify investment and co-development opportunities for new technologies that will transform the legal industry to deliver greater client value.

John holds a JD, MPA and BS from Indiana University, and his success was recognized with a 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs’ highest honor bestowed upon its graduates.

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