Thank you for joining us in the sixth iteration of our Community Perspective series. This week we share the perspective of Erin Miller.
Hey, there! Who are you and how do you identify?
Hi! My name is Erin Miller and I’m a community builder. I love everything entrepreneurship-related and I’m a champion of young underrepresented founders! I am the Director of Community at 3 Day Startup where we provide entrepreneurship education that is dynamic and inclusive. I also enjoy art and storytelling as platforms to bring people together of similar interests and initiatives.
How engaged are you in current Austin policy and government?
I’d say I’m pretty engaged in the economic development side of Austin. Recently, I helped organize a social impact and sustainability exchange program with the U.S. Embassy in Austria and I got to connect with a lot of people in Austin who are creating circular economies within the city. When I lived in Austin two years ago, I was more involved in the policy scene, much more than in the past. I used to work at Capital Factory and Austin Tech Alliance really got me educated and engaged with all the policy development in the city. They helped me register to vote, too!
How do you value or use technology in your day to day and with work?
I use technology every day at work! Thankfully, creating art, sharing messages, and communicating with people is more accessible these days since all you need is a phone and wi-fi. I work on my laptop in a work from home situation. I also do a lot of media production so I use a camera, microphone, and editing software to create videos and social media bits. My way of staying connected to communities in Austin is through newsletters and Linkedin. I’d say I’m a people person so I value social media a lot. It’s my way of keeping in touch and not being isolated during the pandemic!
It’s been shared that tech jobs are contributing to gentrification and pushing out Central Texas’ people of color. What changes do you think might help to mitigate these rapid changes within the Austin tech community and through city policy?
There are a lot of big technology companies moving to Austin. We can utilize these wealthy newcomers by connecting charitable branches of tech companies to connect with the local community and provide resources like computer labs, reliable internet, and inclusive spaces to empower Central Texas’ people of color. I think that it should be mandatory that a percentage of a company’s revenue should be pumped back into the community where they’re located. These resources should go into specialized training programs to provide people with advancement opportunities. Companies that move to central Texas have a social responsibility to their community to give back.
What future do you imagine for the Austin community as a whole?
The ideal future for Austin is that it becomes a safe and accessible destination for people to start something great. Austin was a music hub! It still is, but now it’s transitioning into the tech era. There are a lot of places where young entrepreneurs can start a business and network their way up in the world but like all industries, there are still barriers and injustices for BIPOC, AAPI, and other underrepresented communities. The ideal Austin would provide level playing ground and advancement opportunities for these communities so we can start to see diverse leadership that represents the cultural majority of Central Texas.
Thank you for sharing, Erin!