Team Austin is a non-profit organization, developing Austin's entrepreneurial community through education, networking, and social impact. What started as a networking happy hour by local “connector” Reza Piri, has transformed into a growing network of entrepreneurs volunteering time with the organization to build their leadership skills, business contacts, and form lasting relationships.
The team empowers and engages their community with monthly happy hours, the Team Austin Speaker Series, and their annual fundraiser event, “The Takeaway”, to fund The Team Austin Foundation Scholarship. For the popular Speaker Series, the Team Austin Board utilizes their connections to bring C-Level Leadership to share stories, knowledge, and know-how to inspire entrepreneurs to succeed in what’s dubbed as the “Silicon Hills”.
Their strategy is executed through a lense of empathy, unity, and very hard work. Everyone is a volunteer; lending their time to the organization while balancing careers. But with an executive board of 5, and a number of director level volunteers, they’ve been able to make meaningful impact among the startup community in Austin, Texas.
Vice President, Brandon Monroe, says that Team Austin is a value driven organization, and believes that’s been the key to their success. That success has outgrown expectations. Over the past 5 years Team Austin increased to thousands of members, hosts dozens of events per year, and have turned their 10% of their revenue into meaningful social impact.
Although not a founding member, Brandon joined the organization as the Director of Marketing after moving to Austin in 2016. He was working for a startup at the time, ended up on a mailing list, and was enticed to attend a couple of events. Brandon enjoyed himself so much that, when a position focused on spreading the word opened up, he jumped on the opportunity to contribute. Brandon’s story is a microcosm of Team Austin’s lasting impact; connections are made, and opportunities are multiplied.
In 2017 Team Austin decided to use their social impact budget to fund a $7500 scholarship to Hack Reactor. The decision was easy, Brandon told me. The Silicon Hills are growing fast, and tech talent is needed right now - not to mention their former President and Founder, Reza Piri, is a self-taught programmer who saw the value in the accelerated learning that Hack Reactor provides.
The recipient of the Team Austin scholarship is Jacob Johnston, a Austin native whom applied to Hack Reactor hoping to move from IT consulting to Software Engineering. The Team Austin scholarship team was impressed by his non-traditional background, coding prowess, and family oriented approach to life.
Jacob discovered his knack for programming in 7th grade after he earned a spot in a 3 week summer intensive powered by Duke, hosted at Texas A&M. From there he took CS courses throughout high school, before earning 2 certificates in IT and System Administration. After working as a startup consultant he decided to take a break from IT and start re-exploring first love, Software Engineering.
Jacob researched a number of bootcamps and ultimately chose Hack Reactor because of the outcomes statistics and online reviews. He’s very excited about starting the course on April 23rd, and is appreciative of Team Austin for helping him fulfill his dream of becoming a Software Engineer. He hopes to give back to the community after graduation, and looks forward to growing closer to Reza and the team throughout the course.
Team Austin isn’t alone in their vision, with multiple organizations to thank for their overwhelming support and personal missions to make a difference in someone’s life. One such organization is Vela Wood, a boutique corporate law firm based in Dallas and Austin.
Jacob’s post Hack Reactor plan includes finding a job to help his sister pay college tuition, learning more about the back end, and ultimately sharpening his skills in data science. He is excited about the growing Austin community and mentioned that Zilliant, HostGator, Rackspace, and Indeed would be great places to work.
So what’s next for Team Austin in 2018?
They’re gearing up for another year of great events and plan to raise money for a second Hack Reactor scholarship. If you’re interested in learning more about the organization, visit the Team Austin Website or make a donation to their social impact fund.
Would you like to sponsor a Hack Reactor student?
Our scholarship program sources hundreds of hard working, underrepresented students every quarter. If you’re interested in sponsoring a student through Hack Reactor visit our scholarships page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.