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: Liz Coufal.
Introduce yourself and where you work in Austin’s tech sector.
Hi y’all! I’m Liz Coufal and I’m on the Business Development team at Valkyrie Intelligence, but most people know me from my time at Capital Factory. I’m passionate about connecting entrepreneurs to opportunities and seeing our local tech community become more meaningfully engaged about giving back.
What do you love about Austin?
I think the true spirit in Austin is about embracing and celebrating individuality. Whoever you are, you have a place here. I think that effervescent attitude is what draws people, maybe even subconsciously, to our city.
As our tech influence continues to grow in Austin, I think the responsibility is on us to make sure that we hold true to that spirit to ensure that everyone has a place here – from the underserved communities to our local artists.
What do you think are the community’s biggest challenges?
In any successful, visionary community, there is always some sort of a disconnect to the local needs. These needs are anything from the homeless woman who hangs out outside our office to the Austinite families who can’t afford meals for their children.
We’re all a part of the same community and the burden to care for one another should be shared. And in the midst of these needs, there are so many leaders and organizations in tech stepping up. From ATA to the Entrepreneurs Foundation to Philanthropitch – there are countless ways for those of us in the Austin tech world to care for those in need.
Why is it important for the tech community to become more civically engaged?
I hope that as Texans and Americans, we’ve learned that we can’t afford to not be civically engaged at this point. Uninformed legislation and elected officials actively hurt people, our environment and our businesses. On the flip side, the right leaders can help us flourish. As we’ve seen with the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal in the US and the EU’s GDPR, our legislators are becoming more involved in regulating technology. This was bound to happen, but the duty is on us to elect informed, intelligent and compassionate leaders to help drive innovation and entrepreneurialism.