Theo Edmonds

Co-Founder + CEO | Underestimated People of Purpose (UPOP) | Louisville, KY


Born and raised in the Appalachian mountain town of Jackson, Kentucky—same community that is the focus of the NY Times bestseller, Hillbilly Elegy—Theo is a wellbeing innovator, artist, and cultural strategist who was named one of "50 People Changing the Face of the South" by Southern Living Magazine. He is co-founder and CEO of UPOP, an LGBTBE startup and cultural analytics company whose mission is to humanize the future of work. In addition to his work at UPOP, Theo is faculty member of the University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Science, where he leads the Center for Creative Placehealing, a 21st Century culture, innovation, and entrepreneurship program at the intersection of public health and the creative industries. He serves as Principal Investigator on several projects with the Center for Health Organization Transformation, a National Science Foundation-sponsored program. His research is focused on using arts, humanities, and cultural analytics to measure and predict innovation capacity while introducing an entrepreneurial model that moves systems beyond diversity toward full inclusion. Theo guides the next-gen entrepreneurship program for the Derby Diversity & Business Summit, served as founding Vice-Chair of Civitas (the Ohio River Valley LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce), and was founding co-chair of the Louisville Health Advisory Board's Cultural/Social Impact Committee. He is the co-founder of IDEAS xLab, an arts-based nonprofit, and was co-leader for Louisville's successful 2016 bid to be named a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize winner.

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