The Austin business community finds strength in our diversity, and our chambers of commerce represent all of us. Notably, all local chambers are now run by women.

On Wednesday, October 14, we were joined by Mayor Steve Adler, the local chamber CEOs, and Jeremiah Bentley of Texas Mutual to explore ways we can continue to collaborate and strengthen our local business ecosystem.

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  • Mayor Steve Adler

    Austin, TX

Chamber leadership

Webinar recording

Laura Huffman highlighted how the Austin Chamber, in partnership with all the other local chambers and many local businesses and organizations, led the task force on how to safely reopen Central Texas for business. The business community helped on informing public policy, and it was an important way to show how we can prioritize public safety and support small businesses at the same time. The task force launched the City of Us campaign, which emphasized how a mask on each of us is a win for all of us. In that same vein, Tam Hawkins expanded on this by adding that the chambers can support social and racial justice policy along with good economic policy, and she sees collaborative opportunities like the task force as a way to promote community engagement and policy development.

Alyssia Palacios-Woods sees the chambers as providing a venue to bring the community together, as witnessed by the success of the Opening Central Texas for Business Task Force. She also spoke to how the Austin Young Chamber is focusing on DEI, and building a diverse pipeline of start-up businesses is a top priority for their organization.

Diana Maldonado emphasized the important work of the chambers in supporting legislative changes to lift up women and marginalized communities, especially during this time of economic crisis. Tina Cannon quoted Ann Richards about the importance of having more women in leadership positions: “If you're not at the table, you're on the menu.” She also sees the upcoming legislative session as an opportunity to proactively promote policies of non-discrimination, as seen in the work of Texas Competes, supported by the Austin Chamber and the LGBT Chamber.

Fang Fang quoted the Chinese proverb that with every crisis comes an opportunity, and she sees the challenges of the pandemic as a way to take another look at how women can effectively lead in the workforce.

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