In order to highlight Austin Tech Alliance’s growing membership of individuals who support our mission to promote civic engagement in Austin’s tech sector, we regularly feature profiles of ATA members. Up this month: Christa Freeland of Powershift Group
Introduce yourself and where you work in Austin’s tech sector.
I’m an entrepreneur-in-residence at Powershift Group, a venture studio where I help launch early-stage tech companies. Over the past few years I’ve also started a young professionals’ networking app, and cofounded a restaurant coworking startup. Recently, I became a Fellow at Next Wave Impact, an early stage venture capital firm investing in women and people of color founders working in social or environmental impact.
On the local government side, last year I was asked to help with Mayor Adler’s re-election campaign focusing on millennials, which won an award for digital creativity. I’ve collaborated with Ricky Joshi, cofounder of Saatva, to encourage our other founder friends to sign a pledge and promote Election Day within their tech companies. In 2017, I served as a committee member for the Technology and Telecommunications Commission’s tech grant, advising the City of Austin to fund nonprofits addressing the digital divide.
What do you love about Austin?
I feel like this city has a little something for everyone, and because of this I enjoy friendships with many different types of people here– that’s what I love about it. Looking back, this was probably what made Austin the best launch pad to really start my life and I’ve been lucky to grow with it over the past ten years.
What do you think are the community’s biggest challenges?
What I love about the city and see as its strength is also what I believe is its challenge.
Austin can be so diverse and has grown so quickly, we don’t always listen or respond to some of our community’s needs. We need to ensure that anyone can have a role in shaping the community. Equitable and inclusive participation is important.
Why is it important for the tech community to become more civically engaged?
Along with my previous point, it’s imperative that our community, including the tech scene, upholds their civic responsibility. No spectators. Give to the community, don’t just take. Cities really need everyone’s perspective, creativity, perseverance, ambition, compassion, and urgency in order to solve the hardest problems.
What does civic engagement mean to you?
Civic engagement means everything to me because of my core belief that life rewards action.
It’s one of the most amazing experiences in life to have some spark of an idea manifest itself from a tiny figment of imagination into actually changing and shaping the environment. I feel like I show the world my gratitude by paying attention, “showing up” for it, and then letting that define my path.
What’s your favorite ATA membership perk?
I really enjoy and admire when the tech scene gets active in their community. The best perk of this membership is seeing and being part of those who are loyal to that standard.
Learn more about Powershift Group by visiting www.powershift.com.