Austin is a great place to live and work. It’s the home of several major universities. It’s quickly becoming a technology hub. It’s got an entrepreneurial spirit and an artistic soul.
But sometimes, it can be hard to find your place in it all.
In a city that’s growing so fast in a world with so many possibilities, latching on to your career path and discovering your true passion can be difficult.
That’s why the Austin EcoNetwork is proud to announce that we’ll be hosting the “Eco + Civics Mentorship Fair” at this year’s Austin Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 22nd at Huston-Tillotson University. At the Austin EcoNetwork, we’re dedicated to lifting up the next generation of Austin’s leaders and serving the community that we all know and love. That’s why we can hardly think of a better way to spend our Earth Day – connecting our city’s leaders with all of you, and hopefully, fostering a whole new group of amazing, inspiring, and impactful Austinites.
Here’s how the mentorship fair will work:
- Anyone who is interested in participating can start signing up for one-on-one mentorship sessions with local community leaders using this form. Mentorship sessions are 7 minutes long. You can sign up for up to meet with up to three mentors.
- This year’s Earth Day Festival is being held on Saturday, April 22nd at Huston-Tillotson University. On the day of the festival, head to the ReZone (marked with a giant red star on the map below). The mentorship fair will be held inside, in the back right corner of the room. Don’t worry, there will be signs directing you where to go. (For those who are familiar with the Huston-Tillotson campus, this is the President’s Meeting Room in the Student Union building.)
- Please plan on arriving at least 10 minutes before your scheduled mentorship session and bring business cards or contact info to share with your mentor.
One last thing – If you sign up for a mentor session, please make every effort to actually attend. Our mentors are an incredible group of movers and shakers in Austin and are taking the time out of their busy schedules to meet with you. It’s an amazing opportunity and is definitely not one that you want to miss out on. If for any reason you do need to cancel, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 20th at the latest.
And without further ado, here’s our list of incredible mentors:
Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Austin
Lucia Athens is the City of Austin’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, working as a champion for many ground-breaking achievements that support Austin’s reputation as a leading green city. With more than two decades of green building and public service experience, and recognized internationally as an authority on sustainability, Lucia describes herself as a “spark plug for positive change” and a “practical idealist.” She is also author of the Island Press book Building an Emerald City: A Guide to Creating Green Building Policies and Programs.
Contact Lucia at email@example.com or (512) 974-5603.
CEO of Crux Climbing Center
Kevin grew up in The Woodlands, Texas but had the opportunity to travel quite frequently throughout his high school years. He was first introduced to his passion of rock climbing in Virginia but it was only in 2008 that he decided that he wanted it to be his life. In 2008 he started college at the University Of Redlands as well as his first “real” rock climbing job. In his four years at the University of Redlands, he worked every job imaginable in the climbing gym industry as well as traveled all over the United States to climb everything he had ever dreamed of. After graduating with a degree in Environmental Business in 2012, Kevin decided to move to Austin, Texas to be closer to his family. Call it perfect timing but it was in 2013 that he met his business partner and embarked on his business adventures. Fast forward three long and hard years and Crux was born. As of today Crux have over 1,000 members and feels as though it’s cultivated one of the best climbing communities in the world.
Director of the Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin, Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center
Ryan Spencer graduated from Texas State University – San Marcos in December 2009 where he received his BS in Water Studies with a minor in Geology. He continued his education at Texas State University and in December of 2013 graduated with a Masters of Applied Geography in Geographic Information Systems.
Ryan is currently working as the Manager of the Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin. In this capacity he helps bring awareness, resources, and people together to help solve the children in nature issue in Austin, Texas.
His current position experience/responsibilities includes:
- Membership Campaigns
- Social Media
- Outdoor Education
- Public Speaking
- Online Development
Specialties: GIS/Remote Sensing, Certified Interpretive Guide, Leave no Trace Trainer, Wilderness Medical Institute, Project Wild Certified, Geographic Field Methods, Wild Land Firefighting, Social Media, Fundraising for Nonprofits.
Director of Operations, Austin Habitat for Humanity
Greg Anderson joined the Austin Habitat team in January 2015 after spending five years at City Hall as Policy Director for Austin Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole. He has more than 15 years of experience in real estate development, including the 360 Condominium Tower and the Austin Habitat for Humanity Community Home Center and currently serves on the City’s Planning Commission. Greg received both his MBA and his undergraduate degrees in Urban Studies and Geography and the Environment from the University of Texas in Austin.
In.gredients Zero Waste Grocery Store
Josh Blaine likes to think of himself as a Texas “volunteer” rather than a transplant because he arrived in early 2012 without any intention of setting his roots here. Thanks to in.gredients’ inspiring mission and vision, he’s been a resident of Austin and a core member of the in.gredients team ever since. He was General Manager of the zero waste grocery store for the better part of four years and currently manages the finances, doing the bookkeeping and business development.
In 2015, Josh was appointed by Council Member Houston to the Zero Waste Advisory Commission where he helps craft policy recommendations regarding the City’s Zero Waste Master Plan and chairs the Construction and Demolition Committee. Josh is also co-founder and president of the Manor Road Merchants Association, a product of a city pilot program to support up-and-coming business corridors. As a leader in zero waste and local food, Josh has spoken to hundreds of groups – large and small, young and old – about the importance of building strong local economies for more just, healthy communities.
Executive Director of Texas Campaign for the Environment
Robin Schneider started her activist career in high school as a 17-year-old canvasser for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) raising funds door-to-door to assist pro-ERA candidates. During college she led a campaign that stopped a plan to drill for oil on the UCLA campus, which would have displaced the university’s childcare center. She also led a delegation of 18 college students that traveled to Florida in early 1982 to work for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Robin began working with Texas Campaign for the Environment and its sister organization Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund in 1997. Under Robin’s direction, TCE took a leading role in the campaign to close the Grandfather Loophole in the Texas Clean Air Act, for which she was dubbed the “Best Advocate for Breathers” by The Austin Chronicle.
Under Robin’s direction, TCE has also been working with landfill neighbors to impact local trash and recycling issues and statewide legislation. In addition, she was an early advocate for Zero Waste policies and helped shepard the adoption of Austin’s Zero Waste goal and plans. Robin is also the Executive Director of TCE’s sister organization TCE Fund. She serves on the Board of Earth Share of Texas for TCE Fund. Her spouse works on land restoration projects at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center. She has been active with AFS Intercultural Programs as a high school exchange student to Kenya in 1977 and has hosted exchange students from Ghana, Indonesia, Turkey, Kosovo and Afghanistan. She lived in Northeastern Thailand for 2 years as a volunteer English teacher at a teacher training college and enjoys making Thai food at home.
Sustainability Coordinator, Austin Community College District
Alyssa Halle-Schramm serves as the Sustainability Coordinator for the Austin Community College District (ACC). She joined the ACC team in January 2017 and is responsible for initiatives ranging from campus engagement to analyzing recycling and waste management practices. Prior to ACC, Alyssa worked at the University of Texas at Austin sustainability office where she was primarily responsible for supervising the office’s affiliated student organization, the Campus Environmental Center. She also played a key role in the university’s sustainability planning efforts.
Alyssa previously worked with Virginia Tech’s energy and sustainability office focusing on student initiatives, sustainability planning, and measuring the campus’ sustainability progress. Alyssa holds a bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a Master’s of Public Administration and a Master’s of Urban & Regional Planning from Virginia Tech. She also has professional experience in urban planning. Alyssa serves on the City of Bastrop’s Planning & Zoning Commission and on the Executive Committee of the Texas Regional Alliance for Campus Sustainability.
Environment and State Agencies Reporter, Austin American-Statesman
Asher Price has covered energy and the environment for the American-Statesman since 2006. Three times the Society of Environmental Journalists has named him a finalist for its beat reporter of the year award, most recently in 2015. Asher is the co-author of The Great Texas Wind Rush: How George Bush, Ann Richards and a Bunch of Tinkerers Helped the Oil and Gas State Win the Race to Wind Power (UT Press, 2013), and author of Year of the Dunk: A Modest Defiance of Gravity (Random House, 2015), about his efforts to dunk a basketball, for the very first time, in his mid-30s. He studied English at Yale and has graduate degrees in public policy and journalism from Oxford and Columbia, where he was a Knight-Bagehot fellow studying business and journalism. He lives in the South Congress neighborhood with his wife and dog.
Second Round of Mentors Announced!
A Musician With A Message
A national summer tour, 2 TEDx Talks and performances at Google HQ and The Kennedy Center For Performing Arts in Washington D.C. are some of SaulPaul’s recent career highlights.
SaulPaul, the 2017 Austinite of the Year and one of Austin’s official creative ambassadors, is better known across the country as a Musician with a Message. Part rapper/part singer songwriter, SaulPaul travels the world entertaining and inspiring audiences as he blends his voice, his guitar and his loop pedal to create a live show that is nothing less than an EXPERIENCE.
Chief of Staff for Austin City Council Member Leslie Pool, District 7
Amy Smith serves as chief of staff for District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool. She handles a range of issues, including environmental policy. Before joining Council Member Pool’s staff, she had spent most of her career as a newspaper reporter, most recently for the Austin Chronicle, where she was a longtime writer and editor.
President of Pegasus Planning and Development
Sean is a Community Planner, Economic Developer, Land Strategist, Strategic Planner, Facilitator, Market Analyst, Developer and Revitalization Expert. He leads a team of planners, analysts and creatives in providing strategic advice and direction to public and private sector clients. While his firm primarily consults with cities throughout the United States on Economic Development Revitalization Strategies, Sean has led the company into infill development projects in East Austin, Eastern Arkansas and is now undertaking Central Texas’ first Agrarian Community in Elgin– an 80-unit mixed-income and mixed-use Cooperative Community.
He has been in Austin for 20 years, and has lived in East Austin for the past 15 years. Sean has served on numerous boards including the YMCA, Chestnut Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation, Swede Hill Neighborhood Association, Austin Community Design and Development Center, Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) and the Urban Renewal Agency.
Sean has been a leader in Austin’s affordable housing initiatives, and has developed a 22-unit senior affordable housing project, several single family affordable homes and is now developing a 43-unit mixed-use and mixed-income affordable housing project in Central East Austin.
Founder and CEO of Wondercide Natural Products
Stephanie Boone is the Founder and CEO of Wondercide Natural Products, a local Austin company on a mission to help families and pets live without harsh chemicals and pesticides. With a full line of holistic pet care products, Wondercide is emerging as an industry leader and received the highest company valuation of any female founder on ABC’s hit TV show Shark Tank (aired in 2016).
Stephanie’s passions include family, the environment, and business. She has extensive experience using her strength in creativity and analytics to develop start-ups and privately-held small businesses into multi-million dollar companies. Her experience includes strategic planning, business modeling, operations, corporate identity, brand management, comprehensive client services, consumer products development, e-commerce, digital marketing, software design, social media, content marketing, research and development, as well as financial, legal and administrative management.
Partner at the Environmental Law Firm of Frederick, Perales, Allmon & Rockwell, Member of the City of Austin Environmental Board
Marisa Perales has been with Frederick, Perales, Allmon & Rockwell since September 2005. Ms. Perales previously worked for the Third Court of Appeals in Austin from 2000 through 2004 and in the Environmental Law Division at the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (now TCEQ) from 1998 through 2000. Marisa Perales has degrees in English and law. Preparatory education, University of Texas at Austin (B.A., 1994); Legal education, Texas Tech School of Law (J.D., cum laude 1997). She is a member of the City of Austin Environmental Board.
Carmen Llanes Pulido
Community Director for Go Austin! ¡Vamos Austin! (GAVA)
Carmen Llanes Pulido is Community Director for Go Austin! ¡Vamos Austin! (GAVA). Carmen has worked on public health and root causes of disparities for the last 14 years with a focus on community organizing. Previous to GAVA, she managed a program at Marathon Kids, in collaboration with the Sustainable Food Center, to engage parents and teachers at 18 public elementary schools in Austin’s “Eastern Crescent” to build healthier campuses.
Prior to this, she was a research analyst and organizer with the environmental justice organization, PODER, in East Austin. She served on Austin’s Independent Citizen’s Redistricting Commission, which drew maps for Austin’s first geographically representative city council under 10-1. Carmen currently serves on the city’s Hispanic/Latino Quality of Life Commission. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Chicago, where she concentrated on NAFTA’s impact on food systems and local economies in the U.S. and Mexico.
Volunteer Coordinator at Ten Thousand Villages of Austin
Jenna is originally from New York. She has her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Elementary Education and Master’s in Special Education. Always wanting to find sustainable ways to help people, she served three years in AmeriCorps with Habitat for Humanity and Literacy First. Next, she worked at Goodwill for three years as an employment case manager. Now, she works as the Volunteer Coordinator at Ten Thousand Villages of Austin, a local nonprofit, fair trade marketplace. Here she manages over 50 volunteers, coordinates events, and acts as the store assistant manager. She is happy to be in the fair trade community as this supports thousands of people in developing countries in a sustainable way. In her free time, she fosters dogs and volunteers with Austin Pets Alive and Family Eldercare.
Third Grade Teacher With the Austin Independent School District
Kate is a third grade teacher at Hill Elementary School in Austin. Kate is a Sustainability and Green Team Campus Advocate, consistently incorporating environmental education into her curriculum. In 2016, she was named the Texas Social Studies Teacher of the Year and served as a Transatlantic Outreach Fellow with the Geothe Institute in Germany.