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“When we invest in women and girls, we are investing in the people who invest in everyone else.” —Melinda Gates

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Make Every Day Earth Day

40 Ways to Celebrate Earth Month with TDS At TDS, we consider it an honor to play a role in protecting the environment of our home state of Texas. We as neighbors and fellow Texans depend on its natural resources – and they, in turn, depend on us to treat them with love and respect. Earth Month kicks off on April 1 and TDS is celebrating by challenging Central Texans to help make our planet and communities cleaner and greener. We developed a list of 40 eco-friendly tips and activities to promote sustainability – at home, work or school – while also commemorating the company’s 40th anniversary this year. From the beginning, environmental responsibility has been at the core of everything we do, as we seek to divert waste to beneficial uses and minimize landfill use.

Each person generates 4.4 lbs of waste each day.

So this Earth Month and beyond, please join us in taking care of Texas like she takes care of all of us.

April 1: • Learn how to implement sustainability in your everyday life • Adopt three simple sustainable habits April 2: • Do some spring cleaning and donate your gently used things April 3: • Learn about the importance of composting • Build a compost pile April 4: • Teach kids about recycling April 5: • Learn about the importance of healthy soil for a healthy planet

(Source: EPA)

April 8: • Reduce food waste at home

April 16: • Upcycle your old stuff

April 23: • Learn about water saving tips

April 9: • Learn about the basics of recycling • Talk to others about the importance of recycling April 10: • Learn how to help the environment right now

April 17: • Talk to your local school about starting a compost pile

April 24: • Start an office recycling program

April 18: • Learn about what you can and can’t recycle • Explore what happens to items after they’re recycled

April 25: • Develop eco-friendly cooking habits

April 11: • Download the TDS Waste Wizard

April 19: • Learn about what goes on inside a Materials Recovery Facility

April 12: • Learn about the basics of composting • Get educated about what you can and can‘t compost

April 13: • Learn about ways to go April 6: greener at home • Learn about TDS’ Eco Academy program April 14: • Participate in Keep Austin April 7: Beautiful Day • Learn about how to grow a vegetable garden April 15: • Volunteer in your community

In 2014 we produced

258 million tons

of waste in the U.S.

April 20: • Learn about education’s role in sustainability April 21: • Visit a community event celebrating Earth Day • Attend an eco-friendly University of Texas or Round Rock Express baseball game April 22: • Learn about the history of Earth Day • Do an Earth Day craft

April 26: • Explore eco-friendly transportation options April 27: • Live green on a budget April 28: • Make household chores more eco-friendly April 29: • Learn about organic gardening • Plant a tree April 30: • Explore what happens to plastic waste • Learn about easy ways to create less trash

35% of this waste was recycled or composted. (Source: EPA)

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20 COUNT US IN Women in Numbers 22 B OTTOM LINE Lifestyle Blogger Lee Anne Benjamin 24 G  IVE BACK Down Home Ranch 26 W  OMEN OF DISTINCTION Girl Scouts of Central Texas 28 F ROM THE DESK OF Carol Thompson 30 P ROFILE Redenim’s Kelly Ernst 31 P ROFILE Women in Engineering’s Tricia Berry

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I AM A TEXAS MBA “While getting my Texas MBA, I not only learned from my professors, but also from my classmates. My Texas MBA didn’t just expand my network, it catapulted me into markets I had not imagined.”

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VOLUME 16, ISSUE 8 CO-FOUNDER Melinda Maine Garvey CEO Christopher Garvey PUBLISHER Cynthia Guajardo Shafer


Nick Barancyk, Kat Barclay, Rhoda Brimberry, Sommer Brugal, Anna Crelia, Saba Ghaffari, Susan Johnston Taylor, Niki Jones, Jessica Luther, Madison Matous, Oksana Malysheva, Natalie Paramore, Rachel Rascoe, Gretchen M. Sanders, Missy Sharpe, Elizabeth Ucles


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Austin Woman is a free monthly publication of AW Media Inc., and is available at more than 1,250 locations throughout Austin and in Lakeway, Cedar Park, Round Rock and Pflugerville. All rights reserved. For submission requirements, visit

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Publication of Austin Woman would not be possible without the support of our monthly advertisers and sponsors, who believe in the impact we are making in the Austin community. The following businesses have stepped up their support of our efforts beyond traditional advertising and we are proud to recognize them as our partners. The team at Austin Woman is grateful for these businesses that have shown their commitment to the advancement of women in Austin and hopes you, as readers, recognize their efforts and support these businesses and all our regular advertisers. CYNTHIA GUAJARDO SHAFER





ou might recognize me as the associate publisher of Austin Woman and now I’m thrilled to share with you that I’m stepping into the role of publisher. I have been with this magazine for the past five years and proudly stand behind our mission to inspire, inform and empower all women in the Austin area.

As a third-generation Austinite, I have seen our city endure countless changes. Despite the growing pains (I’m looking at you, traffic!), the spirit of Austin has never wavered. Even though we’ve become a huge melting pot, Austin is just as friendly and welcoming as it was when it was a small city. We still celebrate forward thinkers and risk-takers. And we’ve never lost our edginess, holding fast to our motto of “Keep Austin weird.” How is it that we have been able to retain our culture and identity as a city when the whole world seems to be pouring in? Several things come to mind. With the Hill Country in our background and water everywhere you look, it is impossible to deny the beauty of our city. Every day feels like a vacation, even when you’re working. I think there’s an even deeper pull, though. In Austin, you are accepted and loved unconditionally. You can simply be yourself, in whatever form that takes. There are endless possibilities. This spirit of individuality and progress is also what I love about Austin Woman. In nearly 16 years of publication, we have had to continually evolve our content and format. But one thing has never changed: our commitment to showcasing women making a significant difference in Austin. This issue focuses on the tech industry, and I can’t wait to introduce you to the incredible women who are embodying the spirit of Austin while defining its future. This is my city and my magazine, and I want it to be yours too. From business inspiration to fashion tips to local recipes, I want this magazine to be your go-to guide to living the best life Austin has to offer. My Austin is margaritas on the lake, enchiladas from my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants and enjoying the outdoors. What is your Austin? What do you want to see in these pages? How can we help you build your community and network here? I am excited to step into the role of publisher and want to hear from you! Join the conversation online ( and message us on social media.


CYNTHIA GUAJARDO SHAFER Publisher Join the conversation @AustinWoman #TheTechIssue

14 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018

Photo by Courtney Runn.


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CONTRIBUTORS This month, we asked our contributors: How do you think evolutions in technology have changed the way you work as a creative?



Andrew Chan is a freelance editorial and fashion photographer based in Austin. He is a native Texan and graduated from the University of Texas. He works out of the Whitebox Studio located in East Austin. When not out grubbing the city’s finest barbecue offerings, he can be seen around town with Milton and Kermit, his Boston terriers. “It’s allowed me to have everything at my fingertips, from colleagues I would have never met to having access to information I could have never imagined having. I can only imagine what we will grow into in the future.”



Missy Sharpe is a native Austinite and University of Texas School of Journalism graduate. She’s married to her husband, Rob, and is mom to a daughter, Sutton, and son, TJ. Along with contributing to Austin Woman, she is a technology and journalism teacher in the Round Rock Independent School District and the editor of Austin Moms Blog. “[Tech is] something that helps us engage in different types of experiences to only lead to more creativity. Seeing all the creative things people are doing all over the world only inspires me to think bigger.”



Upcoming event: “Beethoven’s FiFth!” vadim Gluzman, violin Music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Michael torke, Leonard Bernstein April 13 & 14, 8:00 p.m. Long Center’s Dell Hall

Jessica Wetterer is a New Yorkbased illustrator and graphic designer. Having grown up in the bluegrass of Louisville, Ky., the South remains near and dear to her heart. She specializes in drawing badass women, fashion and animals. See more illustrations on her Instagram @jmwett. “Before, as an artist, the decisions I made were pretty much set. Blue was blue. As an illustrator and graphic designer now, programs like Photoshop and Illustrator have opened the doors to fluid editing. With these programs, I was able to develop and hone my use of color and materials without fear of ruining a piece. The blue’s not looking good? Let’s change it to yellow. Voila!”



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Rachel Rascoe is a freelance writer based in Austin. A former intern at Austin Woman, Rachel also writes about music for The Austin Chronicle. She studies journalism and biology at the University of Texas. “Tech has opened up so many free resources and super-fast human connections. I think it has made sharing your creative work a lot easier, which is amazing. You just have to make sure you don’t get distracted by the black hole of the internet.”


➥ More wanderlust. Whether you prefer to travel solo or with friends, a trip to

Nepal is for the adventurous at heart. Get a glimpse into the unique culture of this breathtaking South Asian country known for its spectacular Himalayan hiking trails.

➥ More giving back. inLieu is a newly launched mobile app deemed the “Venmo of charity.” Created by P. Terry’s Co-founder Kathy Terry, the app allows users to donate to nonprofits nationwide. While we can’t deny we love getting flowers or wine as a hostess gift, inLieu makes it simple to give the gift that keeps on giving.

➥ More recipe reveals. Springtime has arrived! Raise a glass (or two) of sangria at the newly opened North Italia in downtown’s Second Street District. This springtime wine punch is infused with strawberries, blood oranges and lime, and is a delicious and citrus-filled treat perfect for the end of a long day at work.

➥ More thinking about the box. According to Greek storyteller Aesop, “The level of


LENOVO YOGA BOOK WITH WINDOWS Chinese multinational technology company Lenovo (@lenovo) works to create technology that enables people to challenge and inspire the world, helping them lead more fulfilling and interesting lives. A multibilliondollar company with customers in more than 160 countries, Lenovo continues to develop its product line and is led by some of the most inspirational leaders in the tech world. To celebrate Austin Woman’s technology issue, Yolanda Lee Conyers, Lenovo’s vice president of global human resources and chief diversity officer (and our cover woman), is giving away a Lenovo Yoga Book with Windows, a $579 value! The Yoga Book is the ultimate on-the-go productivity tablet and is perfect for creatives. To enter, keep an eye on our Instagram account, @AustinWoman, for the giveaway announcement in mid-April. A winner will be chosen and notified by the end of the month.



18 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018




Prom Rack Boutique Day April 7, 1:30 to 6 p.m. Round Rock High School, 100 N. Lake Creek Drive craftHer Market April 15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fair Market, 1100 E. Fifth St. Girl Scouts of Central Texas Women of Distinction Luncheon April 26, noon to 1:30 p.m. AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, 1900 University Ave.


@ austinwoman

inLieu photo courtesy of inLieu. Kasita photo courtesy of Kasita. Lenovo Yoga Book photo courtesy of Lenovo.

our success is only limited by our imagination.” For local micro-home company Kasita, imagination is what fuels innovation. Kasita’s homes, starting at 400 square feet or so, are built with the future in mind, each equipped with the latest in smart-home technology. Ideal for the digital nomad or first-time homebuyer, Kasita aims to provide affordable housing for an ever-growing Austin.

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Leah Cohen, founder of arrangeCare, answers your top questions regarding aging, the impact of being a caregiver and planning for retirement. BY LAUREN JONES


or Leah Cohen, providing care for older adults and those with disabilities is incredibly rewarding. Through arrangeCare, she works with those with long-term chronic-care needs, serving both clients and families to help them make the best decisions possible and maximize quality of life. Her services include crisis management, planning for retirement and providing education to caregivers. When it comes to each client, she maintains a blend between choice, safety and resources. Below are some of the key questions Cohen receives, as well as her top tips for families. 1. What benefits can a care-management service provide? “A private care-management practice such as arrangeCare can provide care management, counseling and education for older people and their families. They can also provide referrals for hiring caregivers and give advice to families on how to provide better care. Furthermore, such companies can handle many supervisory and legal requirements, which can be helpful for those stretched to the breaking point in caring for family members. Over 85 percent of the care of elderly relatives is provided in the home by the family, and the primary caregiver is most often old herself, female and the spouse of the person cared for. The logistical and emotional support for this aging family primarily comes from adult children, some of whom themselves may be reaching retirement age.” 2. When do you need care-management help? “Licensed care management is particularly helpful when the caregiver is overwhelmed, where the system is dysfunctional or the elder is very resistant.” 3. When may intervention be necessary to remain independently safe? “A vast majority of people wish to age in place. Planning ahead may protect against six events that may threaten this. These include hospitalization, falls/function loss, dementia/cognitive loss, spousal illness or loss, home-upkeep issues and unsafe driving.” 4. When interviewing a provider such as a home-care agency, what questions should you consider? • “How long have they been in the community? Are they local?” • “What types of screenings do they do?” • “How do they test to be sure the caregiver knows basic caregiving skills?” • “What types of training do they provide for their caregivers?” • “What happens if a caregiver can’t come to work on a given day?” • “How do they verify that the caregiver worked the hours claimed?” • “How do they supervise caregivers in the home?” • “What are their procedures for addressing problems?” • “What licensures and certifications has the care manager obtained?” 5. What is the role of long-term-care insurance? “Long-term-care insurance covers long-term support and services for complex, chronic illnesses. Care managers are able to activate this insurance and some policies provide a care-coordination benefit, which reimburses for services provided by a registered nurse or licensed clinical social worker.

LEAH COHEN’S TOP TIPS FOR FAMILIES 3 Create a budget. 3 Check the credit report of the person you are caring for. 3 Develop an estate plan. 3 Know where important documents are located. 3 Understand benefits and insurance. 3 Simplify financial accounts. 3 Develop an effective routine for caregiving. 3 Hire licensed individuals as care managers.





Facts and figures on females from throughout the world. BY ELIZABETH UCLES, ILLUSTRATIONS BY JESSICA WETTERER

100,000 Women Coding Women Who Code, which works toward a world in which women are proportionately represented in all levels of the STEM realm, is paving the way for women in technology. The nonprofit’s goal is to empower women in tech by helping them build professional skills through tutorials, articles, videos, leadership opportunities and its global network. The organization also educates companies about the best practices in promoting, retaining and hiring more female employees. Women Who Code is 100,000 women strong, with 50 percent of its members working in engineering, 26 percent in tech, 8 percent in executive roles, 7 percent in management and the remainder in data science and design.

600 Minutes Whether it’s checking email or responding to a text from the boss, women are reportedly spending 600 minutes on their cellphones every day, while men spend only 459 minutes. The Journal of Behavioral Addictions found women spend an average of 105 minutes texting, 57 minutes checking email and 46 minutes on social media each day, whereas men spend 84 minutes, 40 minutes and 30 minutes daily on these smartphone tasks, respectively. Maybe it’s because women are busier. Maybe it’s because avoiding the endless slew of beauty videos on YouTube is impossible. Regardless of the reasons, women have a hard time letting go of their phones. And that can lead to consequences. A study at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden discovered spending excessive time on a smartphone can lead to increased stress and depression in both men and women.

40 Percent More Throughout the U.S., women are continuing to make gains on an economic level. However, they remain underrepresented in careers focused on science, technology, engineering and math, and are less likely than men to hold academic degrees in these fields. The good news is women in STEM are making strides in closing the gender wage gap. A 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economics & Statistics Administration shows women in STEM fields earn 40 percent more than men with non-STEM careers. Additionally, the report notes women with STEM jobs earn 35 percent more than other women not working in STEM.

$40 Million Raised Former head of Google Analytics and boss lady Amy Chang founded Accompany to create a database for senior decision-makers worldwide. Essentially a virtual chief of staff, Accompany provides executives all the necessary information they need before going into various meetings day in and day out. According to AngelList, in 2017, Accompany raised more than $40 million from top investors, and women currently represent 40 percent of Accompany’s growing team. Chang’s successful business has been featured in Business Insider, Fortune, The New York Times, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal.

68 Percent Increase A lot has changed for women in the last 11 years. For instance, in 1997, AfricanAmerican women made history when approximately 750,000 gathered to march on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia to bring awareness to their trials and successes. Through all the social change in recent years, women-founded businesses are marking a new moment in history. Between 1997 and 2014, the number of women launching businesses in the U.S. increased by 68 percent. This is two times the growth rate of male-founded businesses during the same time period. According to Women Who Tech, a nonprofit that works to break down barriers and help more womenowned businesses get funding, the likelihood of women executives receiving venture funding has increased by three times, compared with 15 years ago. 20 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018

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Lifestyle blogger Lee Anne Benjamin shares her tips. BY SOMMER BRUGAL

If you’re an avid social-media user, you’ve probably noticed the rise of influencers, bloggers, photographers and fitness professionals utilizing their platforms to highlight and promote the brands they use. Lee Anne Benjamin is one of those individuals. The voice and brains behind lifestyle blog Life By Lee, Benjamin has more than 165,000 followers on Instagram. On her blog, she discusses topics like style, travel and blogging, yet Benjamin believes it was opening up about motherhood that allowed her to gain the following she has. “[My blog] took off when I had my first son,” Benjamin says. “I was able to connect with other moms in a way I felt was more authentic.” Since becoming a mother, Benjamin has made a general shift toward living a healthier lifestyle, from making smarter choices at the grocery store to being more precise about the kinds of products she uses daily, like her makeup and dishwasher soap. Interested to discover how she created a healthier home for her family, Austin Woman asked Benjamin to share her experiences.


Benjamin and her husband are currently looking for a new home and plan to use sustainable materials like Cali Bamboo flooring, Porcelanosa tile and, of course, a variety of safe, clean kitchen products. Benjamin says her husband loves the new technologies TreeHouse offers and he plans to include sustainable elements like custom lighting down the road to help save energy. Benjamin is a full-time blogger, business owner and mother of two, and it’s difficult to comprehend how she does it all so effortlessly. Humbly, Benjamin credits TreeHouse for helping her maintain a healthy home. “TreeHouse is a one-stop shop when it comes to safer living and safer products,” Benjamin says. “TreeHouse makes it easy.”



The decision to integrate healthier, more sustainable and chemical-free products into your home can seem daunting at first, especially if it’s new territory for you and your family. But according to Benjamin, the switch doesn’t have to be anxiety-inducing. Her trick, she says, is to start small. “[The switch for us] started in the kitchen,” Benjamin says. “Those changes are more attainable because you already use similar products daily.” Making small changes like those, Benjamin says, can have a big impact in your life. 22 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018

Photo courtesy of Lee Anne Benjamin.

Founded in Texas, eco-friendly home-improvement store TreeHouse aims to ensure all homes are sustainable, beautifully built and healthy, working to solve problems that arise in the home (high water and energy consumption, landfill waste, toxic exposure) through the products it sells. Products at TreeHouse fall into three categories: design, performance and outdoor services, and Benjamin and her family have integrated many of TreeHouse’s kitchen items into their home. “The biggest thing for us is [that] we cook a lot at home,” she says, “so, we use a lot of [the TreeHouse] kitchen products.” Her favorite is Better Life’s all-natural dish soap in lemon mint and the brand’s dishwasher gel. Benjamin has also purchased a number of TreeHouse’s cooking pans, noting the absence of harmful chemicals used to make the products, and Ecos laundry detergent, which is hypoallergenic and dye- and fragrance-free.

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Down Home Ranch is a place where those with intellectual disabilities can live their lives to the fullest. BY MADISON MATOUS, PHOTO BY COURTNEY RUNN

In Elgin, Texas, there is a ranch that has become a haven for people with intellectual disabilities. Down Home Ranch gives its residents the tools to become active members of the community and live with as much or as little assistance as they need. They are encouraged to make their own decisions, work to become self-sustaining and build relationships. There’s a sense of stability and community, as many of the “ranchers” are there for the long term, with some there since the ranch’s beginning.

“You can’t have a bad day at the ranch.” —Courtney Ferris

Courtney Ferris and Judy Horton

24 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018

The ranch was started by Judy and Jerry Horton, and in many ways, their daughter, Kelly, who has Down syndrome. Like many parents of children with intellectual disabilities, they began to wonder about the future. What would happen when Kelly was finished with school or when they were gone? With this in mind, the Hortons started researching, traveling the country to look at homes and facilities that catered to the needs of the intellectually disabled. They realized a pattern: Many of them were started

by parents of children with disabilities. Inspiration struck and that is when the Hortons decided to build a place for Kelly and those like her. “We wanted to create a place where [people with intellectual disabilities] can have the same kind of life as their brothers and sisters,” Judy Horton says. In 1990, the Hortons bought 217 acres of land just outside Austin. The beginnings were humble, but soon enough, they knew they had built something special. Kelly, now 33, is very proud of the ranch her parents built and is quick to share that sentiment with visitors. Today, the ranch has nearly doubled in size, expanding to 410 acres, with several group homes and individual micro-homes. This year, the Hortons plan to bring back Ranch Camp, a summer program, as well as create a program for more senior and long-term residents. After more than two decades running the ranch, the Hortons have taken a step back and handed the reins to Development Director Courtney Ferris. Ferris’ background is in human development and family sciences, and before coming to the ranch, she was involved with similar organizations. She worked at The Settlement Home for

Children, where she acted as the development associate, overseeing membership and donations, a role similar to the one she now holds at Down Home Ranch. Ferris says she felt drawn to both organizations because of the good they do and the people they help. “You can’t have a bad day at the ranch,” Ferris says. “It’s a special place.” In addition to providing services for those with disabilities, Down Home Ranch is a fully operational ranch known for its poinsettias. The ranch also sells Easter lilies, lettuce, tomatoes, free-range chicken eggs, beef and jams, among other items visitors can find at the gift shop. Most recently, the Hortons introduced a monthly giving program that allows those in the community to contribute to specific items and activities, such as education, jobs and ranch housing. And this year, Down Home Ranch is adding a memorial garden complete with monogrammed bricks honoring the ranch’s supporters. To learn more about Down Home Ranch or to make a donation, visit






Girl Scouts of Central Texas celebrates seven of Austin’s most inspirational leaders. BY LAUREN JONES

ALEXIS JONES Alexis Jones, former AW cover woman, is the founder of I Am That Girl, a nonprofit giving girls the tools they need to lead with compassion, confidence and self-love. She’s also the founder of ProtectHer, a program geared toward collegiate athletes that aims to revolutionize sexual-assault education and redefine manhood. Jones is also an author, thought leader and motivational speaker, and was named one of AOL’s Makers, along with Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and Sheryl Sandberg.

will honor True Wealth Ventures, founded by Kerry Rupp and Sara Brand, with its Workplace of the Year distinction. The Women of Distinction Luncheon will take place April 26 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. To celebrate the 2018 Women of Distinction, AW asked the Girl Scouts to share the impact this year’s honorees have had in the Austin community.

NORA COMSTOCK Nora Comstock is the founder of businessconsultancy firm Comstock Connections and the national and international founder of Las Comadres para las Americas, a nonprofit organization working to build community among Latina women. Comstock is also a current member of the Austin Community College District Board of Trustees and a 2012 inductee to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. Comstock believes in the power of education to transform young people’s lives and is dedicated to promoting social justice and access to education.

Amy Shaw Thomas, Denise Davis, Alexis Jones, Sara Brand, Kerry Rupp, Nora Comstock and Laura Wolf

26 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018

DENISE DAVIS Denise Davis has nearly two decades of experience working in the Texas Legislature and is the founding partner of Davis Kaufman PLLC. She is the former Texas House of Representatives deputy parliamentarian, ex chief of staff for Texas House of Representatives Speaker Joe Straus and ex general counsel to Lieutenant Governor Bill Ratliff. Davis is a lobbyist and is consistently ranked as one of Texas’ most powerful.

Photo courtesy of Hannah Bruno of Girl Scouts of Central Texas.

For more than 20 years, Girl Scouts of Central Texas has honored Austin women who are at the backbone of the city’s business, cultural and societal development, the innovators, risk-takers and entrepreneurs who have made Austin what it is today. Past winners include former Austin Woman cover women Gigi Edwards Bryant, Ingrid Vanderveldt and Lisa Copeland. In addition to this year’s five honorees, the Girl Scouts

LAURA WOLF Laura Wolf is the executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Travis County, an organization that protects the city’s abused and neglected children. Prior to her work with CASA, Wolf developed a merger between the Austin Rape Crisis Center and the Center for Battered Women to create SafePlace, an organization offering 24/7 services to those affected by sexual and domestic violence. Wolf is also the former president of the Austin Junior League and the recipient of two national awards from CASA Inc.

AMY SHAW THOMAS Amy Shaw Thomas is the vice chancellor of academic and health affairs and an executive officer with the University of Texas System, providing counsel on legislative, public-policy and health initiatives affecting the UT System. She is also a board member of the Downtown Austin Alliance, the Texas Methodist Foundation, an active member of the Austin Area Research Organization and an advocate for inclusion, diversity and meritocracy.





Tech trailblazer Carol Thompson shares five ways the tech industry has changed the Austin landscape. BY KAT BARCLAY, PHOTO BY COURTNEY RUNN There’s a little voice inside Carol Thompson’s head each time she sits in Austin traffic that says, “You started this.” As a member of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce team that helped bring 25 new offices to Austin in 1988, Thompson has been influential in making Austin the booming, techfriendly city it is today.

As the founder of business-development and consulting firm The Thompson Group, she has been recognized throughout the years for her achievements in the tech world, named one of the most powerful women in Austin by The Central Texas Press and one of Austin’s top 25 tech players to know by the AustinAmerican Statesman. After living in Austin for more than 20 years, Thompson has seen the city transform in a number of ways. TYPE OF ECONOMY

“It was all gas, oil and real estate in 1985, and now it’s tech, but it’s not like it fell out of the sky. In the ’90s, Stanford Research Institute did a study on what it would take to make it a technology community and we followed that plan: compete nationally and globally, continue to attract creatives, provide opportunities for local residents, accommodate urban growth and expand and protect water supplies. In some ways, I would say that we are homegrown but worked with a variety of models.” COST OF LIVING

“The size [of Austin] and the housing market are obviously a big thing. Just to give you a reference, in 2000, there were only a handful of homes in Austin worth $1 million. Now, you know, there’s a lot more than that. 2000 seems like a long time ago, but it’s really not.” TRAFFIC

“Traffic, traffic, traffic! For some of these people who’ve moved from places that have a ton of traffic, it’s no big deal. For people like me, who’ve been here, we’re not used to it and so, we think it’s a lot. Now I plan my days strategically around traffic.” STARTUPS

“I think it’s both easy and hard to start a business here. It’s easier if you’re looking to expand because usually you touch base with a few key people here before you move. But if you’re here and just starting a business, I don’t know this for a fact, but I think it could be harder because you’re just so immersed in your business. There are so many specialized groups and meetups to assist you that it’s difficult to choose which one.” SHIFTING CREATIVE CULTURE

“We had hippies way back then and they were the creatives. Now there are creative things in the tech industry, like the engineering research building at the University of Texas. They are printing 3-D heart valves, among other things. That’s creative at a different level.” 28 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018

twenty-first annual of austin

Saturday, May 12 JW Marriott Presenting sponsor

Legacy sponsor

Life is Why sponsors

With support from:

Walker Engineering, BSA Life Structures, Dynamic Systems Inc, and JE Dunn

Tickets & Sponsorships:





A love of personal shopping inspired this entrepreneur to launch a tech tool for denim. pitch competition in March 2017, and earlier this year, Redenim began In August 2016, Kelly Ernst was working as a developer for at Sputnik ATX, a 12-week tech-accelerator program through which an Austin ed-tech company. But then the company got acstartups have access to office space and are given $100,000 in funding. quired and she received a severance package. That was the Redenim is part of the first batch of startups in the program. kick in the pants (pun intended) Ernst needed to focus on “This is the first scale point of our company,” Ernst says. “We’re movRedenim, an Austin-based startup she’d launched that Januing out of ‘this is a scrappy startup’ into ‘OMG, this is a real company.’ ” ary as a side project. The startup currently has four employees with plans to reach a head “I turned 30 the week after,” she says. “I had this company and a count of 11. severance package. I could go through the motions and try to find When Ernst pitched Redenim to the accelerator program, a male another job or I [could] just do [Redenim].” investor initially said he didn’t understand the concept, but she quickly She chose the latter. Two weeks later, Ernst took an early version of changed his mind. Redenim to DivInc, an Austin-based pre-accelerator program aimed “His daughter, who doesn’t wear jeans, had never been able to find at bringing more women and founders of color into the tech-startup anything in her size, pulled them on and was blown away that they just ecosystem. fit,” Ernst remembers. “A few days later, I got the call [that we were A few years prior, Ernst had discovered a love for personal shopgetting funded].” ping and designer jeans while working as a developer on Wall Street. While Silicon Valley is known for its tech-startup scene, Austin and However, she felt there must be a way for women to find a flattering its so-called Silicon Hills have their own allure for tech-startup foundpair of jeans without schlepping to the boutiques of SoHo or enduring ers like Ernst. several agonizing hours in poorly lit dressing rooms. “There’s got to “I feel like we’re closer to our customers and closer to real-world be a technology solution to this,” she thought while Christmas shopproblems,” says Ernst, who moved to Austin after falling in love with ping in 2015. the city during South By Southwest. “In doing so, we’re founding these So, she used her tech background to create it. The result was Redenim. companies that fill in gaps with technology that we didn’t necessarily “We combine technology and a personal touch to create a highly know we had. Redenim is a good example of that. I saw an opportunity personal experience that also scales really well,” Ernst explains. to change the way that people shop for jeans.” “When a customer is onboarded, they fill out a style profile, and a series of algorithms determine proportions. We’ll distill down a handful of styles we think are going to work for you based on the numbers.” Picture Stitch Fix but specifically for premium denim. Redenim ships customers three pairs of jeans from its fulfillment facility at Austin’s newest creative co-working space, The Refinery. Cus“We’re founding these tomers then have seven days to try on the jeans at companies that fill in home, keep the pairs they want and mail back the gaps with technology...” others, or keep all three for a 20 percent discount. “Our goal is to basically never have women go to the mall again,” Ernst says. “No more malls, no more fitting rooms. Get what you need delivered to your door.” Available denim brands include AG Jeans, James Jeans and DL1961. Redenim received a $5,000 grant through a

30 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018

Photo courtesy of Redenim.



Tricia Berry is raising the bar for women in engineering.

Photo courtesy of UT Women in Engineering.


Tricia Berry spends her days trying to make the engineering world a more inclusive place for women. As the director of the Women in Engineering Program at the University of Texas, she works to match the population in the state of Texas with the university’s enrollment. “We would love to have our undergraduate- and graduatestudent enrollment be 50 percent women,” she says. Currently, 29 percent of the university’s engineering undergraduates are women and only 22 percent of its engineering graduate students are women. In the hopes of changing those statistics, Berry is active on social media, manages alumni and volunteer relations, and administers a whole host of events, including Women in Engineering’s annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day and various summer camps. Berry recently brought in alumni who are using their engineering degrees in the business world to, as she says, “connect with our current engineering students to show them that as a pathway.” With 7,700 engineering students and more than 50,000 students total on the UT campus, Women in Engineering representatives do their part to reach out to students who seem like they are struggling. “Sometimes, for these students,” Berry says, “especially female students...[they] feel isolated and alone or like they’re the only one that’s failing. We’re trying to help them and support them all the way through.” Women in Engineering is comprehensive in its approach, with Berry and others recognizing getting girls interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics begins well before they ever get to campus. And staying connected after they’ve gotten their degrees can be a challenge. “We are doing things in the precollege space, trying to get more girls interested,” Berry says. “We’re doing things in the retention space, trying to keep them once they are enrolled. We are trying to do things in the career-development space to help them be successful when they get out into the workforce. It’s kind of all the way through that we’re trying to…keep them connected and engaged.” As part of her work, Berry also leads the Texas Girls Collaborative Project, which plans workshops, engages in outreach for students in kindergarten through 12th grade and provides resources for adults wanting to get girls involved with STEM education. The project is run through Women in Engineering, which serves as the “physical agent” that keeps the project’s initiatives moving forward. Berry understands the importance of giving girls the chance to experience STEM when they are young. In high school, Berry attended a weeklong summer camp at Southern Illinois University, where she fell in love with engineering. She later attended the University of Texas and graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. After spending some time working in the industry, she returned to her alma mater in 1999 to become the director of the engineering scholarship program. In 2001, she took on her current position with Women in Engineering. Her hope is that a program like Women in Engineering will not be necessary in the future.

“I really would like us to not need to exist,” Berry says. “I’d love it to be where not only [women make up] 50 percent...but we’re inclusive and have an environment where all of our students are welcomed and feel valued and confident in their abilities.” After 16 years leading the Women in Engineering Program, Berry continues to see change. “I think as more of our women get out there and have that confidence, they’ll force those changes to happen,” she says. “We’re starting to see some of that happen now. I think that’s exciting.”






Step 2

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Rich Content. Audible. Only 4 Minutes. Free.




Houston not only survives but also thrives in the wake of disaster. BY NIKI JONES, PHOTOS BY CARRIN WELCH

The Kitchen at Dunlavy





On the brushy, muddy, flood-flattened banks of Houston’s Buffalo Bayou stands a metal sculpture positioned so it appears to be growing straight up out of the ground. Approximately 10 feet wide and 4 feet tall, the sculpture is emblazoned with one word: emerge. This could not be a more succinct description of a city formerly known for old money derived from the oil industry that’s becoming known for something else: resilience.

Nobie’s duck-fat hash browns and Corpse Reviver No. 2

After Aug. 17, 2017, the world watched as Houstonians did everything within their power to help their fellow residents recover from Hurricane Harvey. It’s this sort of mindset—equal parts strength and city pride—that consistently enables Houston to survive and then thrive after such devastating events. This is one of the major characteristics that makes Houston a great choice for a vacation, whether traveling from near or far. A little more than half a year since Hurricane Harvey devastated the city and its surrounding areas, Houston refuses to back down to the forces of Mother Nature. Downtown is absolutely thriving, with scores of fantastic new restaurants, bars and hotels. “We expected to see a bigger dip in business after Harvey, but we really didn’t,” says Gloria Giannelli, manager of Mkt Restaurant & Bar. “People [in Houston] are still going out.” One standout is Nobie’s. Named after Executive Chef Martin Stayer’s grandmother, the restaurant features an ever-changing menu of locally sourced, innovative dishes like duck-fat hash browns, curried Brussels sprouts, and shrimp and grits. The one item that remains permanently on the menu is Nonno’s Pasta, an otherworldly homemade tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce and Parmesan. This dish alone is worth the visit, and the hip vibe of the Montrose-area converted house, along with Nobie’s friendly and talented bartenders, adds to the total package. Another noteworthy food spot is The Kitchen at Dunlavy. Situated in a glass “tree house” right on the Buffalo Bayou, this beautiful chandelierfilled space offers delicious breakfast and brunch items like salmon toast and house-made pastries, all reasonably priced. While the area near The Kitchen at Dunlavy is relatively intact postHarvey, there is definitely devastation to the park along the bayou, which is understandable since the hurricane caused the most significant flooding in the city’s history. However, Houston’s resilience is evident here too. On a misty Saturday morning, there was no shortage of Houstonians enjoying the trails, walking dogs and riding the BCycles available for rent for just $3 a half-hour. Also present and a testament to Houstonians’ love of their city: large groups of volunteers planting trees on the banks of the bayou.

“We expected to see a bigger dip in business after Harvey, but we really didn’t. People [in Houston] are still going out.”

Mkt Restaurant & Bar

34 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018

Breakfast at Mkt Restaurant & Bar

Local Pho

Photo courtesy of C2 Photography.

—Gloria Giannelli, manager of Mkt Restaurant & Bar

STAY One experience that provides a unique window into the city’s history is the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, an underground former drinking-water reservoir built in the 1920s that’s been converted to a public space that periodically features art installations. The halfhour tour, which costs $5, is definitely worth the visit. Pro tip: Don’t forget to check out the 17-second echo. Houston has a history rich in art, home to some of the most incredible collections in the world, the most noteworthy of which is the Menil Collection. Campus-like in layout and shaded by giant live oaks, the main building and surrounding bungalows house a diverse collection of antiquities, modern art and everything in between, as well as revolving exhibitions. And there’s even a café on-site. Admission to the Menil Collection is always free. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston houses another impressive and extensive collection, boasting more than 65,000 pieces from throughout the world. The modern buildings are airy and laid out well. General admission is $15. Pro tip: Admission is free every Thursday. Sawyer Yards is an epic redevelopment of a former industrial area in the Arts District. With more than 300 artist studios, Sawyer Yards often hosts exhibitions and classes, and there are usually working artists happy to welcome visitors into their workspaces. Colorful murals line the exterior walls and there are lots of areas to explore. Pro tip: Plan your trip during a biannual Art Stroll. When it comes to lodging, head for downtown, as there are many hotels there and the area is very quiet in the evenings and on weekends. The brand new Le Méridien Houston Downtown was formerly the Melrose Building, an office structure built in 1952, and features many of the original details, like green marble walls in the entrance area and vintage pebbled wire-glass windows in the guest rooms. The rooftop bar has some of the best sweeping views from atop the 22 stories, and the craft cocktails are delicious. The Main Street/Market Square area of downtown offers many more bar and lounge options, and is just blocks and a quick walk from the Le Méridien. Pro tip: Order the Brush Fire at Little Dipper Bar. Houston remains an inspiration in so many realms: food, hospitality, friendliness, art, but ultimately, the resilience and ability to bounce back after major catastrophes on the part of Houston’s residents is what makes this city so special, and definitely worth a trip.

Le Méridien Houston Downtown 1121 Walker St., Marriott Marquis Houston 1777 Walker St., houmq-marriott-marquis-houston Hotel Zaza Houston 5701 S. Main St.,

EAT AND DRINK Nobie’s 2048 Colquitt St., Mkt Restaurant & Bar at Phoenicia 1001 Austin St., Local Pho Vietnamese Noodle 2313 Edwards St., Hungry’s 2356 Rice Blvd., Little Dipper Bar 304 S. Main St. Okra Charity Saloon 924 Congress Ave., Dean’s 316 Main St., Goodnight Charlie’s 2531 Kuester St.,

SEE AND DO Menil Collection 1533 Sul Ross St., Rothko Chapel 3900 Yupon St., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 1001 Bissonnet St., Sawyer Yards 2101 Sawyer St., Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern 105 Sabine St., the-cistern

Menil Collection

Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

Houston BCycle Various locations throughout the city,

Sawyer Yards






Bumble’s head of brand, Alex Williamson, shares her top five tips for making moves in 2018. BY SABA GHAFFARI

In recent years, the dating scene has changed dramatically because of the growing popularity of apps like Bumble, OkCupid and Tinder, as well as newly emerging practices such as ghosting (the act of someone abruptly ending a relationship by ceasing all communication without an explanation), making finding your match more daunting than ever. But Alex Williamson, head of brand at Bumble, isn’t phased and believes today’s women are finally in a position to own their power and take control in all aspects of their lives, including dating.

Photo by Kristin Kilpatrick. Photo by Alison Narro.

Bumble launched in 2014, and Williamson was the company’s third hire. Having worked at e-commerce startup Accessory Concierge in Dallas prior to joining Bumble, she was equipped with many of the tools needed to handle the startup life. Williamson began her role at the company managing its social media and working to create the brand’s voice, and within three weeks, her three-month contract was extended to a full-time position.

Today, Williamson feels incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to build something with a team of people who have become integral parts of her life, and to work for a company that prioritizes female empowerment. One characteristic that sets Bumble apart is the fact women must make the first move on the dating app. “What we’re trying to accomplish at Bumble (and what we’ve been trying to accomplish at Bumble for three and half years now) is giving women confidence and empowering them to go after what they want in life,” Williamson says. From the beginning, Bumble’s mission has been to provide a platform through which women and men feel safe and comfortable connecting. As head of brand, Williamson executes creative initiatives that align with the company’s mission, including writing copy, being involved in community operation meetings and overseeing user experience. “There’s many ways Bumble can help people, and my role is figuring out ways to convey that message,” Williamson says.

36 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018


e h t e c n e i Exper ! m u e s u Bullock M rograms P s m l Fi

ns Exhibitio

1. Don’t fall in love with the idea of a person. “[The] best advice I can ever give anybody getting into a relationship: Fall in love with who that person is, not who they are on Instagram, not who their friends say they are, not who they’re telling you who they are. Get to know somebody for who they are versus all that you’re hearing about them.”

2. Show up as yourself on a date. “When you show up on a date, show up as you. Don’t play a game. Don’t pretend to be somebody you aren’t. Don’t show up and order a salad because you think that’s what you need to order. Be yourself and the right person will come into your life based on that. … People’s true colors always come out, so show yours and trust that [it’s] enough and the right person will come along.”

n Exhibitio 4! 1 opens 4/

3. Use current and approachable photos on your dating profile. “Show the person who will be sitting around on a Saturday watching Netflix, but also who will kick it and have a beer at the dog park. Be who you are in your dating profile instead of putting forth an image of who you are.”

m 3/30, 7 p

Motion: connic e h c n a pe Com f Eric Tip The Art o

Fridays: m il F e Femm 4 Lane 197

4. Show interest in the other person’s profile. “When you’re making the first move [on Bumble], it’s tough. Look at their photos, look at their bio and then go off of that. Ask them a personal question, ask them about something that’s taking place in their life and furthermore, piggybacking on that, use Bumble as a first date. Ask all the questions you would feel like you’d have to ask on a first date so you can get that out of the way and feel like you’re going on a date with somebody you already know.”

5. Watch out for red flags. “Always heed your red flags in dating. If you feel like you need to have a Facetime date with somebody before you go on a date with them, do it. Get to know that person so you feel safe going out with them. But also, in relationships, if something feels wrong to you, trust that.”

6, 3/12–3/1 m p 10 am–2

Bullock e h t t a k rea Spring B Femme Film Fridays sponsored by

Top Image: “I’m Too Fancy for my Shawl #2,” Courtesy Eric Tippeconnic



For showtimes and the full program schedule, visit:



The Bullock Texas State History Museum is owned and operated by the State of Texas through the State Preservation Board. Additional support of exhibitions and programs is provided by the Museum’s nonprofit partner, the Texas State History Museum Foundation.


Nomination Received A nomination for the Woman's Way Awards has been submitted. Below are the details:

Nominee Award Category: Company Name: Company Address: Headquarters Address: Company Contact & Title: Phone Number: Email: Website: Type of Business: Is the business 51% or more womanowned? Owner(s) Name(s): If yes, name of affidavit: Publicly or Privately Held Company: Number of Employees:

Number of Years in Business:

Woman-Led Business of the Year Twin Liquors 5639 Airport Blvd Austin, Texas 78751 Sandra Spalding, Director of Marketing & Events 512-222-0709 Wine and spirits retailer No

Privately held Overall: Approximately 450 Based in Austin: Approximately 250 Third Generation has 35 years of sustaining this generation and two-thirds of the 80-year history

Annual Revenue: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: What is your company's mission statement? (200 word max) Social Media



WOMEN to WATCH Our pages are full of stories of Austin’s most engaging, empowering and successful women, and this section is specially designed to provide you access to even more incredible role models and success stories. Be part of this amazing tribe and share your story with thousands of women. Contact us at or call 512.328.2421 for more information. BY LAUREN JONES | PHOTOS BY COURTNEY RUNN







shley Goolsby and her husband, Ross, never dreamed of owning a restaurant. But when the opportunity presented itself in such a unique Lake Travis location, they thought, “Why not?” The key to pleasing their customers was finding the right partner in Jon Silva, general manager of Shack 512, a great team and making sure no customer leaves unhappy. A great view rivaling any in Austin, amazing food and daily sunsets are also key to the restaurant’s success. Shack 512 provides a relaxed dining experience on Lake Travis and is just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of city life, as well as a great place for locals to relax, boat up to and host guests who are looking for an amazing dining experience. Although Goolsby is a consultant by day, she says running a restaurant has been an exciting challenge and a rewarding experience.






ertie Wilson created her award-winning beauty brand to empower women to rise to be their best selves. Elevé Cosmetics offers clean, nontoxic, modern makeup that is stylish, long-lasting and acts as an extension of skin care. Each product is packed full of antioxidants, peptides and active anti-aging ingredients. Wilson and her sister, Ginger Averitt, recently expanded beyond e-commerce and select retail accounts to open their first flagship store in the city where it all started, Austin. They are proud to set an example with healthy, plant-based ingredients anyone can use, regardless of skin sensitivities, allergies or lifestyle preferences, to improve the way their customers’ skin looks and feels.







arah Harris and Megan Kelley started at SHI in 2012 as inside-sales managers. Today, both women are regional sales directors, managing more than 75 sales reps who help small and mid-sized businesses throughout the country select, deploy and manage information-technology solutions. Harris is motivated by helping others succeed, and credits SHI for supporting her professional and personal growth from a sales manager to an accomplished director, and from a wife to a mom. Kelley challenges herself and focuses on developing employees, building strategic partnerships between customers and technology providers, and supporting healthy business growth. Together, they leverage their own professional and personal experiences to support SHI employees and customers. As decade-long Austin residents, they enjoy Austin’s small-town feel and its outdoor activities, and credit SHI for giving them the opportunity to explore the city while helping them build an amazing work culture among the company’s 1,000 Austin-based employees.








ristin Claridge has a passion for making people happy. She graduated from cosmetology school in 2006 with the goal of helping women look and feel beautiful. She feels women carry the weight of the world on their shoulders and that if she can help take that load off and let them escape their stresses, she is doing her job. Claridge opened Studio420 Brows to offer women a more permanent solution to their eyebrow struggles, and this year, the studio is celebrating its twoyear anniversary. Since its opening, the studio has quickly become Texas’ premier microblading studio, serving thousands of clients from Texas and throughout the nation. Claridge believes not only do brows enhance a woman’s outward beauty, but that her customers leave the studio feeling more beautiful, with a sparkle in their eyes and more confidence. For Claridge, it’s an incredible transformation to watch and be part of.







eah Cohen is a care manager at arrangeCare PC, a private care-management practice that guides older adults and those with special needs through the maze of benefits available to them, working to maximize those benefits before using private resources. Cohen helps each person at arrangeCare make thoughtful decisions and find creative solutions. Cohen earned both her bachelor’s degree in psychology and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Illinois. Additionally, she holds a Master of Industrial Relations from Loyola University Chicago. A social worker and care manager for 30 years, Cohen is a certified case manager, licensed clinical social worker, certified private professional guardian, served as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging and was named 2016 Social Worker of the Year by the Austin branch of the Texas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. |






D R. S A R A H S A X O N



r. Sarah Saxon, an accomplished facial plastic surgeon, recently opened her practice in Austin. Saxon is dedicated to providing a high level of commitment to her patients and has spent more than a decade in the most rigorous training in facial plastic surgery. She studied the reconstruction of congenital ear abnormalities with the world expert in the procedure, Dr. Satoru Nagata, in Japan, and learned to master the nuances of the female face under world-renowned surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel at Boston University. She is one of the nation’s few experts in facial feminization surgery, and has helped men and women alike achieve a more youthful appearance. Saxon is excited to transition her practice to Austin and bring her expertise to every procedure and every patient. No matter how big or small the procedure, she focuses on her patients’ desire to look natural and improve confidence with as little downtime as possible.






One company is redefining style for modern moms.

Mom style gets a bad rap. The stereotypical mom style is associated with “mom jeans,” “mom hair” and out-ofdate trends. Mother of two Megan Tamte decided to change this perception with the launch of Evereve, the first-ever style hub specifically designed and marketed with moms in mind. Carrying brands such as Free People, Citizens of Humanity and more, Evereve is redefining mom style with fashion options that are on-trend and wearable for the modern woman.

After a horrible shopping experience while trying to manage her kids in a department store, stay-at-home mom Tamte knew “shopping shouldn’t be this hard,” which inevitably spurred her to create her own solution for moms. Tamte, the founder and CEO of Evereve, launched her company in response to feeling frustrated with the lack of momfriendly yet stylish options for women. Evereve is now a $100 million fashion hub offering a unique style-focused subscription-box service, Trendsend, which delivers fashion boxes curated by an expert Evereve stylist.

“I knew if I was going to start Evereve and be a good mom, I would have to prioritize my time. Early on, I declared faith, family and work as my top three priorities, and I said no to everything else.” ­­­­—Megan Tamte

46 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018

Top photo: dress, $110; shoes, $79.99 Bottom photo: jacket, $139; skirt, $34.99; shoes, $79.99 Opposite page: shirt, $19.99; jeans, $199; shoes $99.99 On Megan Tamte: jacket, $98 All available at Evereve, 11700 Rock Rose Ave., 512.351.4904,






Anything goes at Austin’s newest and most colorful nail studio. BY NIKI JONES

At Cute Nail Studio on East Seventh Street, glitter reigns supreme. The 1930s-style bungalow, painted Day-Glo rainbow from top to bottom on the exterior, is impossible to miss. And inside, “literally everything” differs from any ordinary nail studio in Austin, says Owner Maria Russo. Magic radiates from the custom murals, glitter ceilings and pink walls. And nail services are just as fanciful. But services aren’t limited to just nails; Cute offers waxing, sugaring and facial treatments, and stocks its retail space with unique beauty products too. At Cute, the official stance of Russo and her coowner and fiance, Jason Darling, is that they don’t believe in trends. “Whatever you want is perfect,” Russo says. “Nothing’s too crazy for us!”

Nail photos courtesy of Cute Nail Studio. Exterior photo by Ashleigh Amoroso.

Cute Nail Studio, 1211 E. 7th St., 512.937.2659,

48 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018

Nail photo and Maria Russo photo courtesy of Cute Nail Studio. Interior photos by Ashleigh Amoroso. Nail tech photo by Niki Jones.

Pro tip: Using cuticle oil at home will extend the longevity of your nail service between visits.

Some of the most popular nail shapes at Cute are coffin, “squoval” (square/ oval), round and claw.

As one of Austin Woman’s 2014 Young Women to Watch, Maria Russo has been making waves for a while, first with her mermaid-tail design company, Sirenalia, and now with Cute, a nail studio like no other.






Amy Jameson, founder of Jameson Interiors, shares how she and her team designed a multifunctioning room without sacrificing style. BY LAUREN JONES

IN THIS ROOM • Serena & Lily Palmetto wallpaper in Inkwell Blue and Khaki • Benjamin Moore Stunning 826 on the walls • Benjamin Moore Super White on the cabinets, doors and trim • Eames Aluminum Group Management Chair • camel-leather chair purchased at Design Within Reach • Arabelle hanging-shade chandelier in Gild by Aerin

• custom cabinetry and walnut desk designed by Jameson Interiors and built by A.R. Lucas Construction Company • Rev-a-Shelf foldout ironing board and dual trash bin • Hafele pullout table system • file frame hanging inserts • hyacinth baskets • general construction by A.R. Lucas Construction Company

Photo courtesy of Andrea Calo Photography.

Austin-based designer Amy Jameson is well-known for her ability to create spaces that are both beautiful and practical. In one of her latest projects, Jameson and her team headed to Austin’s growing Mueller neighborhood to convert an office into a fully functioning room for a busy family of six. For this project, the challenge was to modify a neglected and underutilized office into a family-friendly command center with computer stations at one end and a kid zone and storage at the other. Here, Jameson shares the inspiration behind the design.

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Our purpose is to design space for the specific needs of each client, reflecting an aesthetic that is uniquely their own. – Amy Jameson

“Consider the space in its original form. Understanding your clients’ needs and how a space can accomplish the intended goal will give you the ability to reinvent any room. We removed the original closet, allowing us to accomplish the client’s specific storage requirements and optimize the number of usable workstations.” MAKE AN ENTRANCE.

“To capture the natural light, the original 9-foot solid-paneled French doors were replaced with 8-foot divided-light doors and a transom. Now, with a view from the entrance hall, this office is inviting for family members to work and study in private and yet still feel connected to the rest of the house.” PROPORTION COLOR AND PATTERN.

“The chandelier is a statement piece which contrasts nicely with the linear lines of the workstations. The saturated wall color and wallpaper help connect both ends of the room, making the space feel more inviting.” CONSIDER LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.

“Placement is everything. When incorporating a fabulously printed wallpaper or a bold pop of color, a little can go a long way. In this space, the wallpaper draws you in and the details make you want to stay.”

Photo courtesy of Sarah Bork Photography.


“The success of this room is how deceptively simple it looks. You wouldn’t know all the storage tricks we employed until you opened each door and drawer. Examples include a foldout ironing table; custom lazy Susan printer shelf; expandable, pullout worktop; hidden trash and recycling bins; custom drawer inserts; filing components and a concealed computer server and shelf for cords. Some use the space for tutoring and others for art projects, but when it’s all said and done, Mom and Dad have an inviting space where they can relax with a glass of wine while they work, study, pay some bills or plan their next vacation.”


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Setting the example as Lenovo’s vice president of global human resources and chief diversity officer, Yolanda Lee Conyers has helped grow the company’s revenue from $3 billion to $43 billion, a competitive advantage she pinpoints to diversity in the workplace, a strength that starts at the top.




olanda Lee Conyers has always enjoyed a challenge and stepping outside her personal comfort zone. From becoming the first African-American female engineer hired at Dell to moving to Beijing and writing The Lenovo Way about her time in China to becoming the first chief diversity officer for Lenovo, a Chinese heritage company that made history by purchasing IBM’s PC Division in 2005, she has never settled. With a background in computer science and international business, she inherently looks for opportunities to solve problems and find solutions for any situation. For her, it’s all about new possibilities. “Having held numerous roles in various functions, I’ve looked for opportunities to solve complex business problems and lead diverse

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teams,” Conyers says. “These are my strengths, and right now, the opportunity is in HR.” Conyers grew up in Port Arthur, Texas, the youngest of seven children. After her high-school teacher, Mr. Lee, recognized her talent in math and science, she began attending an intro-to-computer-science class. The course launched her near 30-year career in the tech industry. “Computer science gave me a foundation for analytical thinking and problem-solving skills that I’ve used throughout my career and helped me succeed,” Conyers says. “I never looked back, and I’m eternally grateful.” After high school, Conyers went on to attend Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, where she studied computer science and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Engineering. During her freshman year, she attended the National Society of Black

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Engineers conference. She landed an internship with Texas Instruments, which led to a full-time position in Austin after graduation. After TI, she worked at Dell for 15 years, holding a variety of positions with increasing responsibilities, which eventually led to the executive ranks. After 11 years at Lenovo, now working as the vice president of global human resources and the chief diversity officer, Conyers has helped define the company’s culture and contributed to its business growth. The competitive advantage Lenovo has, she says, lies in diversity in the workplace. “The workforce needs to reflect the customers we’re serving,” Conyers says. “Different candidates will bring different skills. Employers have to embrace hiring different. Our Lenovo position: #DifferentIsBetter.”

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As a Chinese heritage company, Lenovo has a management committee that is unlike what many may expect: It consists of 14 members, with seven representing different national cultures, and several women. Lenovo’s top 100 executives include 62 who are non-Chinese. Conyers hopes this level of global diversity sets the example for other companies. As she says, diversity must start at the top. “Recently, we had a candidate come in for a job interview who was Muslim, and he asked about accommodations for prayer during the day,” Conyers recalls. “Not only could we accommodate him, but our recruiting team took him to the room designated for prayers and other religious accommodations. Similarly, we have a room for moms needing to breastfeed. These are the things we practice globally. We want our policy, practice and behaviors to be inclusive, supporting the diversity of our workforce.”

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onyers explains diversity and inclusion offer global opportunities. “There are global insiders and outsiders in every culture,” Conyers says. “Globally, women consistently appear as outsiders in varying degrees by country.” As for Lenovo, 35 percent of its entire global workforce is made up of women. According to Working Mother magazine, Lenovo is one of the 100 Best Companies for women, with a work-from-home option, flexible start and stop times, mentorship opportunities for women and maternity leave for 24 to 26 weeks in the U.S., and more than a year in other countries. Diversity is having different types of people at the table, and inclusion is giving them a voice at that table. Conyers’ goal is to enable all diverse voices, which leads to better decision-making. To do this, she believes both organizations and women have responsibilities. Organizations must provide environments where every employee can flourish and grow. Conyers believes companies should create an inclusive culture where employees can bring their whole selves to work. Her belief is that companies win when they fully tap into all their people’s skills and capabilities. “Women need to be OK with advocating for other women. Men do it every day,” Conyers says. “Speak up. Mentor and sponsor each other. We must have courageous conversations as women. One of the uncomfortable conversations is that statistically, white females have advanced much more quickly than women of color, so there’s a need for white women to advocate, mentor and sponsor women of color. I have benefited from sponsorship from men and women, both white and people of color.” Part of bringing her whole self to work involves balancing her busy work schedule with her family responsibilities. She believes in work/life balance for her employees, and understands that’s not just for women. “Work/ life balance should be genderneutral,” Conyers says. “It’s important to note that this isn’t just a women’s issue; both men and women want more flexibility to support a better work/life balance. In my case, when I traveled, my husband was granted great support by his employer to care for our children.” She also stresses the importance for women to not feel guilty about being everything to everybody. It’s a stereotype that women must cook, clean and be the only supportive role in the family.

“It’s important to eliminate those biases,” Conyers says. “I think the best way to advocate for anything is to lead by example, and for me, it’s being a role model. I share my story. I’m transparent about my own balancing act between family and work on social media. It’s important for my employees to see what I do with my children.” For her, it’s creating a strong support system as well. Her faith in God, exercise and trust in family and close friends keep her centered. She also believes in giving back to the community. This year, she has the goal to re-engage with Court Appointed Special Advocates of Travis County. Before she moved to China, Conyers served on the nonprofit’s board and was recently re-elected. Her husband has also volunteered for CASA, navigating the court system for children who’ve been abused or neglected, and he’s now beginning the process of becoming an advocate for the organization again. “My husband is my biggest supporter and promoter, even to the extent that he gave up his own career in support of us moving to China for my own,” Conyers says. In 2009, Conyers and her family moved to Beijing. It was part of a three-year international assignment shortly after she joined Lenovo to support the chairman and CEO’s vision of a new culture, and she embraced the challenge to help shape Lenovo’s company culture. She also enjoyed the opportunity to take in a different culture with her family at her side. “The world we live in is multidimensional,” Conyers says. “In some point in their lives, our children will grow up to work with people from all walks of life, and I think it’s crucial to expose them to other cultures and encourage a diverse group of friends. This isn’t always taught in schools or at home. Cross-cultural sensitivity is a great skill to have. I want my children to be able to navigate in any environment successfully.” ATXWOMAN.COM |  55


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FAMILY FIRST Yolanda Lee Conyers learned a lot about hard work and overcoming challenges from her parents. Her mom went back to school as she raised seven kids, first, earning her GED, and then again to earn a certificate in child-care technology. In 2014, Conyers had the honor of being hand-selected as one of 20 African-American business leaders invited to a special roundtable session Michelle Obama held in Washington, D.C. She was allowed to bring along one guest and decided to bring her mom, fulfilling a dream come true for her mother. “My mom said she never thought in her lifetime she would see an elected African-American president,” Conyers says. “And it is truly a dream to meet Mrs. Obama, a true highlight in her life. I think this gift I gave her topped all past gifts I have given her.”

Photo by Allison O’Brien/AOB Photo.

er experiences in Beijing developing Lenovo’s culture framework led Conyers to co-author The Lenovo Way: Managing a Diverse Global Company for Optimal Performance with Gina Qiao, senior vice president of Lenovo’s mobile business group. Qiao moved to the U.S. at the same time Conyers and her family moved to China. They shared the challenges of overcoming language barriers and balancing their love for their families with their careers. They also learned about one another’s cultures. For example, in China, it’s considered rude to be the first to speak up at meetings, whereas the Western way is quite the opposite. Conyers was used to taking action quickly, but while in China, she had to learn patience and be a good listener. The Lenovo Way was written for both authors to share and express their experiences of such global opportunities and about Lenovo’s history-making journey integrating Eastern and Western work cultures. “I admire Gina so much,” Conyers says. “She is smart, works incredibly hard and she’s not afraid to take risks.” Both Conyers and Qiao worked their way up in the male-dominated technology field. While they have found success as the new generation of female leadership, there are a lot of young women who aren’t choosing to follow in the same path for their own careers. One problem Conyers is passionate about solving right now is branding STEM careers differently for young women. In recent years, there has been a decrease in the number of women choosing to study in such fields. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, women earned only 18 percent of all computer-science degrees in the country in 2015. That percentage dips even lower for women of color. “When I graduated, STEM was in its glory days for women,” Conyers says. “It’s decreased [significantly] in recent years. Research shows that women are more attracted to fields of study that have a positive impact on [the] world. We need to do a better job of helping young girls understand the positive impact of mathematics, engineering and computer science. Algorithms and computer science can save lives, create safer autopilot cars and can bring affordable health care to everyone across the globe.” In order to attract young students to STEM studies, in 2014, Lenovo, in partnership with the National Academy Foundation, created the Lenovo Scholar Network to engage underserved highschool students. There are more than 120 schools throughout the nation involved, with more than 11,000 students engaged in the program competition to create and launch apps. Last year, the fan-favorite winning team created a CPR app. This is just one example that shows young women the positive impact technology can have for the greater good. “Only when we reframe the conversation around the output of these careers,” Conyers says, “will we see more women involved.”

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Tech-topia By linking entrepreneurs through digitally focused resources and networking, Lani Rosales plugs in the local tech community. BY RACHEL RASCOE, PHOTOS BY RUDY AROCHA


s a profanity-loving professional, introverted event planner and seasoned veteran of new media, Lani Rosales is full of contradictions. These seemingly conflicting aspects align to make her the ultimate power source for Austin’s tech and entrepreneurial communities. Explaining the origins of The American Genius, the digitally focused entrepreneurial news site Rosales runs with her husband, she’s the first to admit “initially, it was just a passion project, which is pretty much the story of how all our different things have succeeded.” “It was like, ‘Let’s just do this for fun,’ and now it’s our whole life,” Rosales says. “We’ve totally made it up as we go along.” This trailblazing approach to serving national and local business communities has snowballed into the formation of The Real Daily, a sister real-estate news hub, as well as hyperpopular Austin linkups like the Big Ass Social Happy Hour and the Austin Digital Jobs Facebook group. “We’ve married them all and made a big picture,” Rosales says, explaining the far-reaching web of her business ventures. “We’re all over Austin, but if you meet someone that knows me, they’ll only know me through one of these pockets.” Across all platforms, Rosales maintains an immutable, authentic sense of optimism. She swaps business casual for jeans and a T-shirt, and promotes the power of curse words, all the while trekking toward an inclusive online utopia. By linking entrepreneurs with niche and necessary news and personal-turned-professional connections, she’s ensured all the unhindered executive ventures add up to her biggest goal: to make the web—and Austin—better.

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Her start During her senior year at the University of Texas, Austin native Rosales met her eventual business mentor and entrepreneurial match, Benn Rosales, while studying at a Starbucks. The powerhouse duo got married the day after her last final exam. After graduation, Lani Rosales found herself at a crossroads. Working in marketing at a commercial real-estate firm, she was overworked, underpaid and felt pressure to push herself as one of the few women on staff. “It was really soul-sucking,” Lani Rosales recalls. “It’s the only job I’ve ever had where I felt like I wasn’t making a positive impact. If I’m not helping somebody or making a difference, then I’m not fulfilled.” Meanwhile, Benn Rosales, in addition to running his own boutique brokerage, had started blogging about national real-estate issues. Using a pen name, he found a budding community interested in the interplay of realty and the emerging digital world. While Lani Rosales transitioned careers, he asked her to come help market the side project. Building readership for the blog, Lani Rosales became one of the first digital-marketing managers in the entire real-estate industry. “Our dynamic works really well,” Lani Rosales says. “It turns out I enjoy working alongside him much more than separate. We’re both passionate about building new things and concepts.” As the site continued to expand, Benn Rosales came on full time, beginning the business partnership that would grow into a self-made empire. The strategic husband-and-wife duo transitioned from simply blogging to launching a topical news site dubbed Agent Genius.

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The American Genius


As the real-estate site racked up monthly readers, the couple realized their cutting-edge, undercurrent content was reaching many friends not in the real-estate industry, but in Austin’s tech community. “They were saying, ‘We know it’s for Realtors, but we’re reading it,’ ” Lani Rosales remembers. “So, we dropped the moniker that it was for real estate because literally every Realtor is an entrepreneur.” Now named The American Genius, the online news outlet provides tech-centric updates on national entrepreneurial news and business-focused “growthhacking” tips to an average 5 million readers each year. Since its 2007 start, Lani Rosales has moved from marketing to editor-in-chief to her current role as chief operating officer. She funnels the latest happenings into story assignments for her freelance writing team of coders, professors and Ph.D. students. Avoiding the endless stream of clickbait, Lani Rosales emphasizes content that matters to her national audience. Four years ago, the couple returned to their roots in adding on The Real Daily, a real-estate-focused sister site.

Beginning as the Big Ass Twitter Happy Hour, Lani Rosales’ faceto-face reunion of online pals has since evolved into the Big Ass Social Happy Hour, which is now in its 10th year. With no speakers or stuffy business-card pushing, the popular monthly meetup is marketed as “a networking event for people who hate networking.” Considering herself an online extrovert and in-person introvert, Lani Rosales provides ample online information, encouraging “love notes” and volunteer opportunities for weary attendees. To curate an inclusive culture at her events, the partyplanning whiz cross-promotes with other niche and minority tech-focused local groups. Acting as the key element of B.A.S.H.H., Lani Rosales’ meetups actually skew more female, which is unique for the tech world. She’s a strong proponent of taking direct action toward diversity instead of just complaining on social media. “When you feel strongly about something, especially when it’s gender issues, it’s so important to get involved,” Lani Rosales emphasizes. “If you’re pushed out of an event, or you feel like an event is sexist, start one [of your own]. It’s a lot of work, but if you really want to make a difference, do your own thing.” Her low-key, all-are-welcome approach to building business connections mirrors her love for Austin’s professional ethos. “The culture in Austin is not plastic. Nobody’s better than anyone else. We’re all dressed the same,” she says, adding, “Austin allows you to be mission-oriented. Doing the right thing is a luxury that most business owners can afford here. People that are more cutthroat tend to thrive better in Dallas or LA, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s definitely not Austin.”

Her influence By entering the scene during the emergence of blogs, social media and web-based news, Lani Rosales found herself breaking new ground in the realm of online marketing. Interacting with a small group of early digital adaptors helped The American Genius build its initial tone and audience. “Digital marketing is really special because we were part of the pioneering crowd,” Lani Rosales elaborates. “We really did, together, get to help shape a lot of this culture. That’s what happens when you’re first to the gate.” She still finds herself representing slightly off-center, opposing viewpoints during her frequent speaking engagements, as well as her editorial writing about gender diversity and the Austin tech community. At the first-ever Ignite Austin event, she presented an etymology of curse words. Her unfiltered, gritty personality lends bite to her business-underdog championing. “We were very passionate about building this community,” Lani Rosales says. “We found this unique little niche of like minds and that’s still our core, the counterculture, D.I.Y. kind of vibe.” Her innovative online action also made her one of the Texas capital’s first Twitter users, joining about 40 other locals who interacted online in the app’s first year. “One day, we decided to meet each other in person because back then, you didn’t meet people online,” Lani Rosales explains. “I just wanted to know that they weren’t serial killers.” In the following months, the growing Twitter community kept asking her, “When’s the next hangout?”


We found this unique little niche of like minds and that’s still our core, the counterculture, D.I.Y. kind of vibe.

Austin Digital Jobs

In 2011, Lani Rosales noticed friends in tech packing up for jobs in other cities. Taking initiative in her own digital-savvy style, she expanded her slew of projects to include the emerging platform of Facebook groups. “If somebody’s privately confiding in you that they’re so unemployed that they’re about to lose their apartment, I guess some people would just be like, ‘Oh, go to a homeless shelter,’ but being an overachiever, I’m like, ‘Well, let’s get some appointments for you tomorrow,’ ” Lani Rosales says. “I’m from Austin. My husband loves Austin, so we wanted to do our part to attract and recruit people.” Her Austin Digital Jobs group exploded to include almost 40,000 members, absurdly nicknamed “boatfaces” or “boaties.” The online community provides recruiters, employers and employees a space to link up and ask questions on their own personal profiles. “Everything’s kind of a boat reference, like we’re all on this ship together,” Lani Rosales shares. “When recruiters meet other people in the group, literally part of the interview is commiserating over the ridiculous stuff that goes on in this little community.” As the reigning administrator and tough-loving leader of the group, Lani Rosales tries to keep things light, being deeply sympathetic to the stresses of her unemployed “boaties.” She structures the organized chaos with multiple posts a day, including a meme thread, and quarterly recruiting events. The gatherings average 400 to 500 attendees. ATXWOMAN.COM |  61

“You’re organizing people and the culture without making them feel like it’s programmatic,” Lani Rosales admits. “Everything looks like it’s unchoreographed, but the dirty secret is it’s very carefully concocted. I’ll spend 10 minutes picking which GIF of flipping the bird I want to give the group.”

Her match In recounting the evolution of The American Genius Network, which now encompasses The American Genius, The Real Daily, B.A.S.H.H. and the Austin Digital Jobs group, as well as all the interactive events, Lani Rosales is quick to attribute her cofounder, Benn Rosales, with the master plan. “He is the captain up top, looking over the shore, and I’m down below rowing the ship,” she explains. “Benn and I balance each other very well as yin and yang because he can see the big picture and I’m the workhorse. He thinks way up here, like, ‘Let’s do this huge thing,’ and I’m down here being more risk-adverse and realistic.” Through all their shared ventures, Lani Rosales credits her husband with serving as a business mentor, his background in public relations at Apple providing their initial connection with the Austin tech world.

“I don’t think many people would do well to work with and for their spouse,” Lani Rosales says. “When you have two people, somebody has to be the tiebreaker. We’ve never been in a situation where I’m like, ‘No,’ and he’s like, ‘Yes,’ because we’ve worked from our yeses and noes to the middle of what we can do together.” Lani Rosales’ role as the event-planning, boots-on-the-ground face of the business used to include frequent late nights and working weekends. A few years ago, her priorities shifted abruptly when her husband had multiple heart attacks, followed by openheart surgery. “You think you appreciate somebody, but when they’re in a hospital bed struggling to live, everything changes,” Lani Rosales says. “Everything used to be an emergency. When that happened, it was like, ‘OK, whatever fire you think you have, it’s not more important than my husband.’ What I ask myself now when I’m planning out my day is, ‘Will this be important to me in 10 years?’ ” She now batches out her daily schedule to prioritize her many projects and get offline by 5 p.m. Lani Rosales and now-recovered Benn Rosales both work from home in their North Austin abode, using evening walks to think big about what’s next for the business.

Her vision The forward-thinking twosome is currently mapping out a new five-year plan, always adjusting to the changing tides of online news and the evolving needs of Austinites. Admitting it’s another one of her idealistic views, Lani Rosales says their business’ relatively small size allows them to focus foremost on the user experience in both events and news consumption. “Our focus is always on improving our community and their surroundings,” Lani Rosales asserts. “If we’re not doing that, we don’t feel like our business is succeeding, no matter what our profitand-loss statement says. It’s not about what are we getting? It’s about are we giving enough?” The duo works to constantly improve the Austin tech world, shown both in their early influence and extensive current iterations. Through all her various roles linking locals and national readers with professional resources and community interactions, Lani Rosales strives to maintain a genuine, personal touch. “I would hope that any time I crossed paths with somebody, they understood that I sincerely cared about their journey,” she expresses. “When somebody messages me that’s unemployed or has a question, I don’t shove them off to someone else. I stop and say, ‘Well, let’s see if we can help you answer that question.’ ”

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What I ask myself now when I’m planning out my day is, ‘Will this be important to me in 10 years?’



These three seasonal grain bowls will keep you fueled all day. STORY AND PHOTOS BY NATALIE PARAMORE

Grains have recently gotten somewhat of a negative reputation, but choosing the right grain for you can be both satisfying and delicious. Paired with fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies, grains can help keep you satiated and balance out just about any meal. Here are three quick make-ahead grain bowls perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.







1 cup full-fat yogurt

1. The night before, mix the yogurt, oats, honey, cinnamon and salt. Cover and place the mixture in the refrigerator.

1/2 cup rolled oats 1 tablespoon honey 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup fresh strawberries 1/2 cup bananas, sliced 1 tablespoon cacao nibs

SPICY CILANTRO PESTO FARRO Ingredients 1/2 cup farro 1 cup water, or vegetable or chicken broth (for cooking the farro) 1/2 cup cilantro, packed 1 clove garlic 1/4 jalapeño 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 egg Salt and pepper to taste Directions 1. Cook the farro according to the package directions. 2. P  lace the egg in boiling water until it is soft-boiled (approximately six minutes). Let the egg cool and then peel it. 3. In a food processor, combine the cilantro, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and jalapeño. Pulse the mixture until a paste forms and it is slightly chunky. 4. Toss the pesto with the farro and top it all with the egg. Add salt and pepper to taste.


2. T  he next morning, slice up the strawberries and bananas and put them on top of the oats. Add the cacao nibs as well.



1/2 cup long-grain rice

1. M  ake the rice according to the package directions and let it cool slightly.

1 cup water, or vegetable or chicken broth (for cooking the rice) 1/2 cup fresh sweet corn 1/2 an avocado 1/4 cup red onion 2 to 3 baby sweet peppers Fresh-squeezed lime juice

2. D  ice the vegetables and mix them together with the rice, then place them in an airtight container. 3. S  queeze on the lime juice and the optional hot sauce right before eating.

Hot sauce (optional) Salt and pepper to taste






Food-delivery subscription service Prep to Your Door simplifies healthy eating. BY ELIZABETH UCLES

Before co-founding the plant-based meal-prep delivery service Prep to Your Door in late 2016, Emmerson found it difficult to find foods that fit her vegetarian lifestyle. “The problem was that I couldn’t cook for myself,” Emmerson reflects. “So, I was eating at Whole Foods every day or eating at Casa de Luz...eating out all the time.” While living in New York City and working in the bustling fashion industry, Emmerson subscribed to weekly meal-kit service HelloFresh, eventually finding herself straying from the recipes and creating her own meals, which she stored in mason jars after learning about the negative effects of plastic on the environment. Though Emmerson knew creating her own mealdelivery service was something she’d like to pursue, she was unsure of whether it was a viable business option. Her partner, Faiez Rana, gave her the last push she needed. In December 2016, Emmerson launched Prep to Your Door. Prep to Your Door is a weekly subscription service. Subscribers pick the meals they want every week once the menu is set, and prepped meals are sent out each Monday. While Prep to Your Door offers a new menu every week, an end-of-year survey from 2017 highlighted two fanfavorite meals that will return this year: a burrito bowl and lentil arugula salad topped with a cashew-based herbed cream cheese. “You would never guess there’s no dairy in it,” Emmerson says. “We try to add touches like that to our food that make it so that you don’t miss the dairy or the meat.”

Lentil arugula salad

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Tangy sweet-potato salad

Lentil arugula salad photo by Amanda Nelson. Tangy sweet-potato salad photo by Nicole Braly.

From growing up in Temple, Texas, to starting her career in New York City, Austinite Heather Emmerson couldn’t deny her true calling: starting her own business in the food industry.


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Your smartphone may be holding you back. BY NICHOLAS BARANCYK Smartphones: They follow you everywhere, sleep by your bedside and watch you at work. Like shadows, they are each unique yet owned by all. It’s a chore just trying to forget about them. A new study from the University of Texas found just the presence of a smartphone is enough to reduce cognitive capacity. As wells of entertainment, communication and quick dopamine surges, they are hard to ignore. This act of ignoring takes mental effort, an effort publishers of the study say drains performance. Changing habits is difficult, requiring psychological rewiring and concentrated will, but it can be done. If you think you’re logging too many screen hours, here are 10 tips to help you break up with your smartphone. 1. SET AN INTENTION.

The average American uses his or her phone for more than five hours each day. Start earning those minutes back by blocking out regular no-phone times. You’re creating a habit in time by setting a routine, thus making it easier to abstain in the future. After awhile, you may find you no longer have those phone cravings. 2. TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS.

Notifications keep your smartphone buzzing and flashing. All this excitement makes it more difficult to ignore and increases the chances of a quick peek at your screen. Remember, many social-media sites are programmed to be addicting, and they’ll use all the notifications they can to keep you coming back for more. 3. GIVE YOURSELF SPACE.

For almost 50 percent of smartphone owners, their first phone check-in occurs right after they wake up. To break that habit, charge your phone away from your bed or in a separate room altogether. Use a clock instead of using your phone as an alarm. Starting the day offline will help set a solid foundation for healthy phone use. 4. KEEP IT OUT OF SIGHT.

Take your phone off the table and put it into a purse or pocket. By doing so, you eliminate the visual distraction and reduce the temptation to pick it up. As the previously mentioned study found, people with hidden smartphones performed better than those with phones in sight. 5. FIND A HOBBY.

Take up a new hobby or an activity that requires focus. They can be hands-on projects like pottery or just simple walks outside. You’ll be spending less time on your phone while accruing feelings of accomplishment.

70 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018


When your phone isn’t in use, cut the power or switch it to airplane mode. Each tiny obstacle you can put in the way of yourself and the phone’s access to the internet is another opportunity to pause and question whether you really need to be online in the first place. 7. FIGHT TECH WITH TECH.

There is a host of focus-oriented apps dedicated to increasing productivity. Tracking apps like Moment monitor screen time, while apps like Forest take a gamified approach by rewarding focus with a virtual woodland. 8. CARRY PHYSICAL ENTERTAINMENT.

Perhaps the most tempting time to check those updates is while waiting. More than 62 percent of Americans pull out their phones while in line. By carrying a magazine or book with you, you’ve given yourself an alternative option to Facebook. 9. TREAT YOURSELF.

Breaking a phone addiction is tough, so be sure to reward yourself for time spent offline. It could be that piece of chocolate you’ve been eyeing or those new shoes. Whatever the reward, it will be a physical motivator to help you work toward a greater psychological goal. 10. QUIT WARM TURKEY.

Changing habits is a process that takes time, so don’t try all these tips at once. You want to gradually wean yourself off to mitigate the effects of withdrawal. A little irritability and restlessness are to be expected in the beginning, so don’t be too hard on yourself if at first you don’t succeed.

For almost 50 percent of smartphone owners, their first phone check-in occurs right after they wake up.

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Sure, everyone wants a top-of-the-line vehicle with all the bells and whistles, but can you actually afford it? Just because the monthly payments are manageable doesn’t mean it’s a smart choice. There are several factors you should consider when budgeting how much you can afford to spend on a vehicle.


Down payment

Interest rate

While there is no magic number for what percentage of your salary should be budgeted for vehicle expenses, most experts recommend no more than 10 to 15 percent. It’s also important to remember to calculate expenses like gas, maintenance and registration into your monthly vehicle budget.

Many experts recommend making a 20 percent down payment when purchasing a vehicle. This will not only help keep your monthly payments down, but it will also save you money on interest. For example, let’s say you’re buying a $30,000 car. If you put 20 percent down ($6,000) and finance the remaining $24,000 for 60 months at 4.21 percent interest (the national average for 2017), you’ll end up paying $26,656 during the life of the loan, $2,656 of that in interest. Let’s say you put nothing down and finance the $30,000 for 60 months, again at 4.21 percent. The total cost of the loan then becomes $33,321, with $3,321 of that in interest. Plus, your monthly payments will increase by about $100. Although it may be hard to put a large amount down, it will pay off in the end.

Loan interest rates depend on a lot of factors, including your credit score, down payment, length of the loan, the amount borrowed, debt-to-income ratio and payment history. Obviously, the lower the annual percentage rate, the less you’ll spend during the life of the loan. Like we calculated earlier, if you finance a $30,000 loan at 4.21 percent APR for 60 months, you’ll end up paying $3,321 in interest, making your total cost $33,321. That same loan at 15 percent APR, would cost you $42,822 during the course of the loan, $12,822 in interest. Unfortunately, if your credit isn’t strong, you may end up with a higher APR. Make sure you get an estimate before you buy. Many dealerships, Roger Beasley included, allow you to apply online and get preapproved. That way, you can get a general idea of what your interest rate will be.

Insurance This is a common expense many people forget to include when calculating how much they can afford. The make, model and safety features of a vehicle all affect how much your insurance is going to be. For example, if your heart is set on a flashy convertible, expect the insurance to be higher than if you choose a sedan with a high safety rating. Also, the more expensive the car, the more expensive it will be to insure. Make sure you get a quote from your insurance provider before buying. You don’t want to be surprised by a high insurance bill on top of your monthly car payment.

Loan period It may be tempting to extend the length of your loan in order to have a lower monthly payment, but that can cost you a lot more in the long run. Let’s use the same example as above. If you finance $30,000 at 4.21 percent interest for 48 months, your monthly payment will be $680, and during the course of the loan, you’ll pay $2,649 in interest. In contrast, if you finance the same amount at the same interest rate but for 72 months, your monthly payments will be $472, but you’ll end up paying more than $4,000 in interest. Always choose the shortest loan term you can reasonably afford.

Photo by Matt Littlefield.

I hope these tips are helpful. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or suggestions for topics at

Chelsea Bancroft is the strategic-partnerships and social-media manager at Roger Beasley Mazda and a blogger at





Ditch the potato chips and opt for two healthier but equally flavorful and crisp alternatives. BY SABA GHAFFARI of nutrients and unhealthy additives and preservatives. They are also high in fat and calories, which can lead to an increased risk of obesity, hypertension and heart disease. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy and delicious alternatives on the market.

Eat this: Live Love Pop

Eat this: Moon Cheese

Not that: traditional potato chips

Not that: traditional potato chips

What it is: Live Love Pop is a low-calorie, gluten-free, vegan popcorn snack without preservatives or GMOs.

What it is: Moon Cheese is a gluten-free, high-protein, low-carb and 100 percent all-natural cheese snack.

Why: Tear open a bag of Live Love Pop for a crunchy snack without the caloric consequences of traditional potato chips. It has only 35 calories per cup, is made with whole grains and is a good source of fiber, providing more satiety than chips. The popcorn brand also gives back to a variety of charities with each flavor sold, so you’ll be making a difference in more than just your diet.

72 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018

Why: Moon Cheese is a guilt-free way to satisfy crunch cravings. Additionally, the snack is an excellent source of calcium and is suitable for those following a variety of diets. According to the Moon Cheese website, the snack was created using patented technologies that remove the moisture from cheese while locking in nutrition and flavor.

Moon Cheese photo by Tina Kreuger Kulic. Live Love Pop photo courtesy of Live Love Pop.

Whether salty and crunchy or spicy and sweet, potato chips have continued to dominate kitchen pantries for years as the nation’s go-to snack. Americans consume 1.2 billion pounds of potato chips each year, a shocking fact, given potato chips’ lack



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Archery keeps standout shooter Mary Hamm strong and arrow sleek. BY GRETCHEN M. SANDERS

Hamm followed her mother, who was a world-class archer, into the sport and has since won multiple individual and team World Archery Championships titles using a compound bow, a bow with pulleys and cables to improve aim and control. In February, Hamm helped Team USA beat the Russian team in the compound women’s final at the World Archery Indoor Championships in Yankton, S.D. That gold medal, an unexpected and emotional victory, came after Hamm’s nine-year break from the sport. “I missed competing,” Hamm says. “I love the adrenaline and the people I meet through archery, so I was ready to return.” Her reputation preceded her comeback. In the early 2000s, Hamm won nearly a dozen collegiate national and world championship titles while at Texas A&M University. At the U.S. Nationals in 2003, she became the first woman in history to score more than 1,400 points on the compound 1440 Round, an important qualification round in tournaments. Hamm’s achievements throughout her 20-year career make her one of the greatest archers of all time. But she’s not finished yet. This venerable champ, who practices at Double G Archery in Georgetown, Texas, has her eye on her next target: the Olympics. But getting to Tokyo in 2020 for the summer games will require a switch to a more difficult style of archery that employs a recurve bow with a string but no pulleys. Compound archery is not yet an Olympic sport, and few shooters have successfully crossed over. “I’m taking it slowly,” Hamm says. “It’s a long process to get there, so we’ll see.” Olympics or not, here’s how this straight shooter keeps hitting the mark. THE A.M.:

“I feed our animals and get the kids to school. Then I gather my lunch and equipment and head to archery practice for several hours.” THE WORKOUT:

“I shoot 100 arrows a day four or five days a week. That’s about three hours of shooting. My bow weighs about 8 pounds, which I have to hold up every time I shoot, so it’s pretty heavy. To pull back the bowstrings is a 48-pound draw, and it requires an arm motion that most people never 74 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  APRIL 2018

do in other exercises. The best way to build those muscles is to shoot. Free weights can help work stabilizer muscles, but most archers don’t do archery-specific strength workouts. They get stronger from shooting hundreds of arrows.” THE DIET:

“We eat plenty of game because my husband and I are both bowhunters. We like to make grilled elk fajitas with fresh veggies. In general, I try not to eat processed food, especially when I’m competing. During archery tournaments, I keep my energy up with celery and peanut butter, cheese and grapes, Kind bars and easy-to-carry high-protein foods. Sometimes I focus so hard in competition, I have to remind myself to eat.” THE GEAR:

“I own 20 compound bows, seven recurve bows and a bunch of longbows. For practice and tournaments, I mainly use a Hoyt Pro Comp Elite XL, a compound bow that costs nearly $2,000. I usually keep six Easton arrows in my quiver, and I use a Stinger stabilizer that helps balance the weight of the bow and removes vibration. Archery requires lots of walking and standing, so I like to wear tennis shoes. For practice, I wear jeans and T-shirts, but shorts and skirts work too. I usually wear a sponsor’s shooter jersey in tournaments.” THE MOTIVATION:

“I love archery and the opportunities the sport has given me. I’ve traveled the world and met amazing people because of archery. I can’t imagine not doing it. I just love to shoot.” THE MINDSET:

“Be consistent. Archery is all about consistency. If you stay consistent, you can outshoot your opponent. Focus on one shot at a time and don’t think about the 70 shots coming next. Just stay positive and do your best on that one shot. It’s a good mindset for most things in life.” THE P.M.:

“My time starts once the kids go to bed. That’s when I talk to my husband or do crafts. I cross-stitch, knit, crochet, quilt and sew. It’s how I relax. Recently, I started coloring, which feels like doing something and not doing something at the same time. Evenings are great for working on other aspects of archery. I visualize shots or read books that help me improve my mental game.”

Photo by Donna Hamm.

Forget Robin Hood. Mary Hamm doesn’t miss. The 35-year-old archer has a knack for shooting straight into the bull’s-eye.

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You might want to say, “That was ages ago, in a different culIf you look at the highlights of my story through a glossy ture.” So, for my daughter’s generation, growing up in a gendersocial-media lens, it would look almost like a Hollywood fairy neutral U.S. should be different. But is it? tale. I am a Ukrainian girl who came to the U.S. with $100 In 2016, only 6 percent of venture-funded deals went to to her name to study physics, got a Ph.D. from the Univerfemale founders, and they received only 2 percent of the total sity of Pennsylvania and entered the venture-capital world. funding. Is it because we Today, I am the CEO of have fewer talented and Sputnik ATX, a startup gutsy women among us, or accelerator in Austin is it because we have acthat helps promising cepted we have to choose startups with funding, between being brainy, mentorship and trainknowledgeable leaders in ing. I have a wonderful our fields or enjoying all family, and we have the other blessings being a each other’s backs on woman brings? both good days and In 2018, we are still facing bad ones. an uphill battle. As someone This may read smooth, who thrives on defying the deliberate and unreachodds, these three pillars able, but it would also helped me move forward: not be the full truth, and No. 1: Your team and such is not the real me. mentors shape you. When The real me will tell you I look back, many people my road has been bumpy; have helped me become the victories have been who I am. It all started interlaced with disapwith my dad, who tirelessly pointments. The thrill played math and physics of innovation has been games with me and made it sprinkled with some deciwicked fun while other girls sions that were pretty stupid. While I have It seemed like I had to were playing with dolls. been blessed with extreme loyalty, I have No. 2: Foster the joy of learning, innovation experienced visceral betrayals by those close choose: be who I knew and growth. The most important thing my to me. Such is life, and I am here to share how STEM education gave me was a mindset of it all started. I was and pursue what constant learning and discovery. I practice it I have to admit I would not have envisioned I thought was right for every day personally and professionally, and myself writing this at the beginning of my it is essential in propelling me forward. So, journey, as a girl fond of solving physics and me or fit into the mold. when you encourage your daughter to learn math problems growing up in Kiev, Ukraine. the Python programming language or to look I was a brainy and somewhat overweight up what a black hole is, you are teaching her much more than idealist in a culture that valued glamor, domesticity and so-called science facts. You are feeding her curiosity to learn and discover feminine skills above what was happening in my brain. I was a new things, to frame problems that have not been solved and nerd, hazed by the older students for being good at math and seed creative solutions. wearing the ugliest shoes in school. No. 3: Establish winning routines that help you beat the odds. My aunts would say I was too principled for my own good, not Get an early start to your day, learn something new every week, focused on mastering the womanly arts of cooking, dressing well program people and activities that are important or joyful to you or pretending to be less intelligent while on a date. Some 25-plus into your calendar and keep those appointments. This discipline years ago, in another world across the ocean, this was my reality. It helps me focus my creativity and decision-making power on new seemed like I had to choose: be who I knew I was and pursue what things, and delivers small victories during the rough days when I thought was right for me or fit into the mold. For people of my nothing seems to go right. generation, choosing the mold was the norm. Austin Woman features a reader-submitted essay every month in the I Am Austin Woman column. To be considered for July’s I Am Austin Woman, email a 500-word submission on a topic of your choice by May 1 to with the subject line “I Am Austin Woman.”

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Photo courtesy of Sputnik ATX.

Venture capitalist, serial entrepreneur, physicist and unlikely advice giver Oksana Malysheva discusses her path as a woman in technology.

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