Every Day is Women’s Day in Texas at Austin Woman Magazine

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Empowering Women is the Secret Sauce Behind Austin Woman Magazine’s Longevity and Success

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Shot on location Parkside, Austin, Texas by Jarrah Marie Photography.

What we have done is to normalize the reality that all women from all walks of life are doing amazing things to make our world better.

Austin, Texas–based Austin Woman magazine celebrates this year’s International Women’s Day with the release of its first-ever survey of cover women. The survey includes in-depth interviews with past cover women conducted during a four-month period from November 2017 to February 2018. The detailed results provide unique insights and varied perspectives into Austin’s emergence as a top city for startups, venture capital, business, technology and overall livability.

Austin Woman magazine’s debut issue in September 2002 predated Austin’s numerous “Top City” designations, such as Best Places for Business and Careers(Forbes), Best Places to Live (U.S. News), Best Places to Retire (U.S. News), Top 5 Cities for Chefs (Star Chefs.com) and more. As the only publication in Austin focused exclusively on women entrepreneurs, executives and changemakers, Austin Woman has cultivated a unique insight into the powerful impact women have in Austin throughout this period of tremendous growth. In addition to looking at how Austin came to be what it is today, the cover women share their forecasts into what’s next as Austin strives to stay weird while maintaining its current growth trajectory as a top city.

“When I started Austin Woman magazine in 2002, there were no publications focused on telling the story of real women in Austin,” says Melinda Garvey, co-founder of Austin Woman and On the Dot, a global start-up. “I wasn’t interested in beauty tips, D.I.Y. or home décor. I wanted to discover and to share inspirational stories of real women making bold decisions and taking risks to create meaningful lives for themselves and for others. What we have done is to normalize the reality that all women from all walks of life are doing amazing things to make our world better every single day.”

Austin Woman has featured almost 200 women on the cover of the magazine since launching in 2002. Of the cover women, more than 40 percent are entrepreneurs who started their own companies. It’s no surprise, given the recent report from American Express ranking Texas as No. 2 in the U.S. for the fastest growth in the number of women-owned businesses. What these numbers may also confirm is that women are no longer waiting for a seat at the table. Instead, they are creating the jobs they want to have.

“After following the corporate path in the music industry and feeling like the opportunities were not coming my way, I decided to start my own business. I was done waiting for others to pick me. I picked me,” says Sharon Mays, April 2009 cover woman and founder and CEO of healthy fast-food startup Baby Greens.

Within the 40 percent of Austin Woman cover subjects who are entrepreneurs, 28 percent started philanthropic organizations. This seems to validate a perception that women are more motivated to create value for their community as a whole.

According to research done at Rutgers University, "When women run they run because they want to make their community stronger” says MP Mueller, April 2007 cover woman, founder of ad agency Door No. 3 and communications director at Annie’s List, a nonprofit political organization that works to get progressive female candidates to run for office. She shared: “When men run, their goals tend to be seeking the position for attainment of power.”

Following are a few of the top insights from the survey of these cover women:

What impact did being on the cover of Austin Woman have for you?
Among the cover women surveyed, all were unanimously overwhelmed by the positive response from friends, colleagues and family, as well as strangers who reached out to them. Many cover women responded that they had very specific new opportunities arise from their time as cover women. However, the top response was from May 2017 cover women Sara Brand and Kerry Rupp, co-founders of True Wealth Ventures. Shortly after their issue hit newsstands, a potential investor reached out to them directly via LinkedIn. This investor then showed up at an event and handed them a check for $1 million to invest in their women-focused fund.

What makes Austin special for female entrepreneurs?
Time and again, the survey respondents echoed common sentiments, noting, “No place like Austin,” “a community of engaged, open and collaborative women,” “a legacy of strong independent women,” “supportive,” “ a city of ideas” and “accessibility.” March 2005 cover woman Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girls Scouts of the USA, summed it up best when she said, “Austin is the city of ideas, a place where it’s possible to do things at a grassroots level. There is a level of accessibility to get in with like-minded people, to get your ideas funded and to access decision makers that you don’t find in most big cities.”

Why do we need a publication focused just on women?
Most all respondents agreed that storytelling focused on real women is key to AW’s success and impact, with the effect of making women with elevated reputations or levels of celebrity real, approachable and, therefore, relatable role models. Mellie Price, March 2016 cover woman with multiple titles preceding her name, including founder and former CEO of Front Gate Tickets and serial investor, had this to say: “Old forms of information gathering such as TV are simply not relevant anymore. Everything is a sound bite or tweet. But the power to convene has been built over time by Austin Woman. They have an archive of over 15 years that is unstoppable and cannot be recreated by anyone.”

Put another way, “As humans, storytelling is crucial. It’s hard to get past statistics. It’s the singular story that matters,” stated Christy Pipkin, cover woman October 2009 and co-founder and executive director of The Nobelity Project.

What do you envision in the next 10 to 15 years in Austin?
Almost all the survey respondents want Austin to become “the number one city for women entrepreneurs.” Currently, Austin ranks as the top city for startup activity, according to the latest survey from the Kauffman Index. Katie Fang, cover woman June 2016 and founder and CEO of education technology startup SchooLinks, predicts, “Austin will continue to grow. More people will come. More technology companies will call Austin home. Diversity and growth will continue. But at the same time, I hope Austin can keep its open-mindedness and still keep it weird!”

To get the complete list of Austin Woman cover features, more insights, survey findings and images, please contact Kimberly Strenk, Five Two SQ at kimberly(at)fivetwosq(dot)com.

About Austin Woman
Austin Woman magazine is a leading monthly magazine for women in Austin and the only women-centric publication of its kind in Central Texas. The magazine was started by Melinda Garvey and Samantha Stevens, with its first issue published in September 2002. As national magazines have declined, Austin Woman has grown its readership and remained relevant in an increasingly changing and competitive landscape for print media. With a mission of inspiring and supporting enterprising women, Austin Woman and its digital platform, ATXWoman.com, is for the movers and shakers, the artists, the philanthropists, the businesswomen, the entrepreneurs and those who believe no dream is too big. For more inspiration, visit http://www.atxwoman.com or call 512-328-2421.

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Kimberly Strenk
Five Two SQ
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