Austin Forum


Wednesday, July 6, 2016 | George Washington Carver Museum | 6:00pm

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Ruben Cantu, moderator

Laura Donnelly
Las Latinitas
Michael Henderson
Developers Doing Development
Dawn Jones
Carl Settles, Jr
e4 Youth

George Washington Carver Museum
1165 Angelina St.

5:15pm Doors and Cash Bar
6:00pm Presentation, Q&A
7:00pm Reception

The lack of diversity in the national tech community often results in limited opportunities for women and Underrepresented Minorities (URM) to innovate and participate in this industry. However, studies show that a focus on diversity from large and small companies results in higher net revenues and a competitive advantage over other tech companies. The national and local tech communities have realized that while there is no specific intention to keep communities of URM out of executive level roles in corporations, there is a severe lack of fostering and cultivating that talent to foster the minority pipeline in education to employment, and to help them rise to the top and become leaders in their fields. Corporations like Intel are now focusing on diversity and investing millions of dollars to address the issue and are hoping to lead and influence other companies of all sizes to follow suit.


Ruben Cantu is the CEO of CORE Media Strategies and Executive Director of Austin+SocialGood and a Connector for the Global +SocialGood network. As a media strategist and consultant he works with brands to create social conscious campaigns and movements that help advance our community and world. He helped pioneer the social good conversation at SXSW Interactive. He is part of Leadership Austin’s Essential Class 2014 and was nominated as entrepreneur of the year for the Austin Under 40 Awards. In his spare time he mentors high school students teaching them entrepreneurial skills.
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Laura Donnelly is the Chief Operating Officer/Latinitas Co-Founder. Formerly, she was a book publicist for eight years in New York City , working with authors such as Michael Crichton, Erica Jong, Maya Angelou and former President Jimmy Carter, until she realized she wanted to generate her own media. A “big sister” in Big Brothers/Big Sisters for ten years, she had long been inspired to create a forum for “girl speak.” She received her undergraduate degree in English at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison , NJ and a masters in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003. The co-founder of Latinitas Magazine and Outreach, Laura is strongly dedicated to empowering Latina youth. As Chief Operating Officer, Laura manages the production of Latinitas magazine, program outreach and resource development for Latinitas. She is also a documentary filmmaker producing a short work titled, “Capirotada,” which was featured in South by Southwest Film Festival. Laura was named a YWCA of Austin Woman of the Year, “Leader of Promise” and was awarded the Young Women’s Alliance 40 Under 40 Award for her work empowering Hispanic girls and teens.
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Michael Henderson is an entrepreneur, children’s book writer, international connector, and organizer who wants to share his passion for fun, youth programming, technology education, and cultural exchange with the world. Michael is the founder of “Doing Development.” He was born and raised in Austin, Texas and studied Philosophy and Economics at Howard University. His work has taken him around the world with documentary crews and renowned conferences. In the past few years Michael, voyaged to Oman, Morocco, Poland Russia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Mexico, Qatar, South Africa, and Ecuador. He’s sat with Nobel laureates, world leaders, and young up-and-comers. Michael produces the website, where he showcases international development projects both on culture, education, and business.
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Dawn Jones is the Texas Public Affairs Manager currently residing in Austin, Texas. In this role she is responsible for creating and implementing Intel’s external strategic engagement plan for the state of Texas. Dawn focuses on ensuring Intel has a positive corporate reputation among key stakeholders, creating education programs and volunteer opportunities that support STEM, securing positive media and proactively mitigating negative media and/or external risks. Dawn has managed and delivered several large projects successfully such as serving as media liaison for Former Chairman and CEO Craig Barrett, managing Arizona’s Fab 32 Grand opening event and in 2014 she completed a 6-week rotational assignment in South Africa where she created and implemented a project plan for scaling the Intel® She Will Connect program on the continent of Africa. The program focuses on digital literacy training for 5 million women.
Dawn began her career at Intel in 1997 in Arizona as an Administrative Assistant in FSM Finance. She has honed her craft through working in various roles in Intel’s Public Affairs organization for the past 16.5 years. These roles include: Assistant Media Coordinator, Media Manager/Community Manager (AZ, CO, HD, UT, TX) and Southwest Region Media Manager. Additionally, Dawn currently serves on the following boards, Austin Chamber of Commerce, Ann Richards Young Women’s leadership academy (Governance Chair, Secretary), Austin Partners in Education (Governance Chair) and Skillpoint Alliance Board.
Dawn holds a BS in Broadcast Journalism from Arizona State University and a MS in Communications Management from Syracuse University. She has a strong passion for helping others and is active in coaching fellow colleagues and aiding them in navigating career challenges.
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Carl Settles, Jr. is the Founder/Executive Director of E4 Youth and is a Motivational Speaker. He is a proven, innovative leader and talent cultivator able to develop educational frameworks that help both teachers and students thrive. Carl has deep ties within the creative and business communities and over 20 years experience in high technology as a developer and producer. Recently, Carl was featured in Microsoft’s national ad campaign as one of their “People of Action”.
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