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Community Partner Spotlight: Team Austin

Gaby Dumit

Community Partner Spotlight: Team Austin's Image
 On the left, Reza Piri, President of Team Austin and CEO of Gennovacap Technology
On the left, Reza Piri, President of Team Austin and CEO of Gennovacap Technology

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”.

 Team Austin networking event
Team Austin networking event

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.

 Brandon Monroe, Vice President, Team Austin
Brandon Monroe, Vice President, Team Austin
Team Austin started with a group of friends creating an environment that allowed people to help each other before trying to help themselves. Brandon Monroe, Vice President of Marketing

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.

Back in 2009, I switched careers from business consulting to software development. Attending university for another 2-4 years to obtain another degree seemed somewhat useless and expensive considering universities don’t actually teach you how to code. My only option was to roll up my sleeves and spend countless hours on the web doing tutorials, digging into programming books on my own, and finding clients to pay me to code. Bootcamps like Hack Reactor are a real win for people wanting to become software engineers in 13 weeks. - Reza Piri

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.

I chose Hack Reactor because of their standards, diversity data transparency, and third-party accountability partners are best in class. - Jacob Johnston

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.

Vela Wood is a proud supporter of Team Austin and the work it does in the Austin community. The coding scholarship awarded to Jacob Johnston is one of the main reasons that we continue to give of our time and money to Team Austin. We want to thank the Team Austin board and membership for all of their tireless work that has brought so many in the community together and that is continuing to work to make Austin a more equitable place to live and work. - partner Kevin Vela

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.

I want to reciprocate that and give back, something like this is something I don’t take lightly I understand there were a lot of great applicants and I want them to know this is pretty huge. - Jacob Johnston

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 scholarships@hackreactor.com.

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