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, this is a regular feature profiling members of ATA.
Up now: Jennifer Houlihan.
Introduce yourself and where you work in Austin’s tech sector.
I’m Jennifer Houlihan. I am managing director for the Austin Forum on Technology & Society, a nonprofit that engages and informs the Austin community about the importance and impact of technology on society and stimulates discussions, collaborations, and partnerships on new technology opportunities.
I also serve as managing coordinator for Austin CityUP, a nonprofit consortium of companies, organizations, and individuals supporting the development and application of Smart City technologies and infrastructure to improve Austin.
What do you love about Austin?
No matter what your interest, no matter how mainstream or obscure, there’s a community in Austin that’s waiting to welcome you.
What do you think are the community’s biggest challenges?
Household affordability, including housing and transportation costs, are affecting all Austinites, some more disproportionately than others.
Crafting more efficient land use policy and dedicating sufficient resources to our public transit systems to accommodate growth are key to addressing our shared affordability issues. These solutions will require new types of public-private partnerships and meaningful citizen engagement opportunities.
Why is it important for the tech community to become more civically engaged?
Austin’s tech people are problem-solvers, creative thinkers, and future-focused, dedicated to delivering measurable outcomes and effecting real change. It’s time for us to get more deeply involved in building the city that Austin aspires to be: sustainable, mobile, and connected, with demonstrated commitments to education, social equity, and opportunity for all.
To build that city, we need all voices to be heard – and the tech community is ideally suited to launch innovative public-private partnerships, to invest in creating future-oriented municipal policy, and to elect city leadership eager to guide a Smart City that’s accessible to everyone. We can also play a key role in making sure all of Austin, not just part, has a say in our future. We can open the doors to civic engagement more widely and welcome all those ready to create change, for the better.
The easiest way to get started? Register to vote. Then vote.