The World Affairs Council of Orange County presents:

What Can SoCal Learn From Cities Around the World?


Rick J. Caruso

Founder & Executive Chairman, Caruso®
Renowned developer, business innovator, civic leader, philanthropist, and former candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles

Our moderator will be:

Elex Michaelson

Anchor, Fox 11 News

Join us for an event featuring renowned developer and business innovator Rick Caruso, as he shares lessons learned from global metropolises in local urban planning. With decades of experience, Caruso’s insights bridge the gap between global trends and local communities, offering invaluable wisdom for shaping sustainable and vibrant cities. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain unique perspectives on urban development from one of the industry’s most revered visionaries.

Date & Time:

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

5:30-8:30 pm

Reception: 5:30- 6:30 pm

VIP Reception: 5:30-6:00 pm

*Founder’s Club members & Ambassador members: 5:30-5:45 pm

*VIPs : 5:45-6:00 pm

Dinner: 6:30-7:15 pm

Moderated Discussion: 7:15-7:40 pm

Audience Q&A: 7:40-8:15 pm


The Pacific Club

Main Dining Room

4110 MacArthur Blvd.

Newport Beach, CA 92660


Early Bird Registration!

Register before 6/19 to receive discounted prices which are as follows:

Member: $110

Non-Member: $125

VIP ticket (with meet-and-greet & premium seating): $150

*Founder’s Club & Ambassador members automatically receive access to VIP Reception with a purchase of a member ticket.

Find out more here:

Young Professional Member: $88

*All tickets come with a three-course dinner and one complimentary drink (wine, beer, or a non-alcoholic beverage)


Free on-site valet & self-parking

Speaker Bio:


Founder and Executive Chairman, Caruso® 

A renowned business innovator, dedicated civic leader and actively-involved philanthropist, Rick J. Caruso is the founder and Executive Chairman of Caruso®, one of  the largest and most admired privately held real estate companies in the United States.

Under Caruso’s leadership, the company has achieved a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 20% since its inception. Its world-class portfolio continues to expand and includes the most internationally renowned and award-winning retail, residential, mixed use properties and his newest addition, a Forbes 5 Star resort hotel destination, Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito, California. As cited by Green Street Advisors,  

Caruso properties consistently outperform traditional shopping destinations based on  productivity and sales per square foot, with results three times higher than the industry  average. Its flagship property, The Grove was ranked #2 on Fortune’s list of the 10 highest  sales- generating shopping centers in the country. 

Caruso started his career as a real-estate lawyer in the corporate finance department of one of the nation’s largest law firms. Thereafter, he transitioned from law to pursue his lifelong passion for development, establishing Caruso Affiliated Holdings in 1987. Ignoring  the traditional “shopping mall” approach to retail, he adopted a fresh, new strategy for  development and revolutionized the industry with imaginative retail and mixed-use  destinations that serve as timeless and beloved centers of town. 

At the heart of Caruso’s award-winning development approach is a deep respect and understanding of civic responsibility and a fierce loyalty to surrounding communities— the  result of decades of hands-on experience in public service. Early in his career, he served  as the youngest Commissioner in the city’s history when Mayor Tom Bradley appointed  him Commissioner for the L.A. Department of Water and Power. In that role, he brought  a 25-year-old lawsuit to resolution that provided more clean water to Los Angeles while  protecting the environment. Following this success, Caruso was selected as President of the L.A. Police Commission where he led the effort to overhaul the Los Angeles Police  Department and recruited William Bratton as Chief of Police. Together, they reduced the  city’s crime rate to the lowest levels in 50 years. 

Caruso’s deeply held personal philosophy and commitment to giving back have further solidified his reputation as a compassionate member of the community. In 1991, he and his wife Tina, founded the Caruso Family Foundation, dedicated to supporting organizations that improve the lives of at-risk children in need of healthcare and education. Among the many nonprofit organizations that he supports, Caruso is actively involved with Operation Progress, Para Los Niños, St. Lawrence of Brindisi School and Verbum Dei High School, all focused on the historically underserved area of Watts, Los Angeles. 

In 2019, Caruso announced a $50 million commitment to the Pepperdine School of Law,  which has been renamed the Rick J. Caruso School of Law in recognition of the historic gift. The contribution, made through the Caruso Family Foundation, will expand educational access to exceptional, historically underserved student populations—a hallmark of the Caruso family’s philanthropic efforts in the Los Angeles area and beyond—as well as fuel several initiatives to strengthen the School of Law’s academic programming. 

Caruso, a long-serving member of the USC community, also endowed the USC Caruso Department of Otolaryngology at the Keck School of Medicine and the USC Catholic Center, which provides spiritual connection for faculty and students of all faiths. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and a Juris Doctorate as a Margaret Martin Block  

Scholar from Pepperdine School of Law. 

Caruso, who was named a “retail mastermind” by The Wall Street Journal, has received numerous awards and distinctions for both his professional and philanthropic work, including “Developer of the Year” and “2016 L.A. Icon” by the Los Angeles Business Journal. Additionally, he was honored with the “True Blue” award from the Los Angeles Police Foundation, recognizing him as a leader dedicated to positive change through philanthropic, business and civic leadership. He was also honored by Pope Francis with the rank of Commander in the Order of St. Gregory the Great for his service and generosity to so many in need. In 2017, Caruso was presented the Asa V. Call Award, the most distinguished alumni honor at USC. Recently, he was named by Town and Country magazine as one of the top 50 philanthropists in the nation. 

In 2018, Caruso was asked to serve as Chair of the University Southern California’s  (USC’s) Board of Trustees. As Chair, he oversaw transformational reforms to the  university’s culture and the Board’s governance model to ensure accountability and  oversight. He has worked tirelessly to restore trust and to build a world-class leadership  team, including hiring the first female president in the university’s history and playing a  key role in the overhaul of the university’s athletics program. 

Caruso served as the Chair of the Board of Loyola High School, and is on the Boards  for St. John’s Hospital, and the Ronald Regan Presidential Library Foundation. In April  of 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Caruso became part of both a federal  and state level task force, providing expertise on reopening the economy safely.

Moderator Bio:

Elex Michaelson

Elex Michaelson co-anchors FOX 11 News weeknights at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. with Christine Devine. He also co-hosts the weeknight FOX 11 News at 6 p.m. with Marla Tellez.

He also hosts and produces the political talk show The Issue Is, which airs on stations throughout the state of California.

Elex is an Agoura Hills native and his first job in broadcasting was as a FOX 11 intern. He’s a self-described “political junkie” who has conducted one-on-one interviews with nearly every key political figure including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gavin Newsom, Jerry Brown, Arnold Schwarzenegger and more. He co-moderated debates for California Governor, L.A. Mayor, L.A. County Sheriff, and multiple congressional races. He’s reported live from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions & multiple Presidential Inaugurations.

Michaelson is the winner of 7 Emmys, 4 Golden Mics, and an L.A. Press Club award for “outstanding political affairs show.”

From 2010-2017, he was a reporter and fill-in anchor at KABC-TV in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he served as a weekend morning anchor and weeknight reporter at XETV in San Diego.

He graduated first in his class from the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California. He earned Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors while picking up dual degrees in broadcast journalism and political science.

He regularly volunteers with several non-profits including the ALS Golden West Association, the Drew Child Development Corporation and the Boys and Girls Clubs.