Nina Flanigin

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I have lived in Austin my whole life until attending Texas A&M University, where I got my Bachelor of Science in Telecommunication Media Studies. After living in rural College Station for four years, I decided to move back to Austin after graduation and am happy to be back to city life. In my spare time, I enjoy going on the lake, yoga classes at Black Swan, camping with friends, and catching up on my favorite podcasts.

Quick facts about Nina:

  • She love cooking new recipes for my friends (she asks them a million times if they actually like it or if they are lying to be nice).
  • She is particularly good at the song association game.
  • She must have a lot of doppelgangers because random people constantly stop her to tell her she looks like somebody they know.

Eli Benitez

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As a Strategic Sales Research Manager, Eli helps lead our Community Builders that find and connect with people leading change for our communities. Eli has a passion for improving processes and technology that helps us do our jobs better. He has a B.A. in Communication Studies and a Master’s in Education Technology from Texas State University. He was previously a Math teacher and has worked at both small startups and enterprise companies.

He is a native Austinite and lives with his partner and two dogs in Southwest Austin. Eli enjoys watching basketball (his dog’s name is Dirk), running town lake, and traveling.

Quick facts about Eli:

  • He was once a 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math teacher within the same year.
  • He declares Predator to be one of the best films ever made.
  • He has a goal of running a 100-mile ultra-marathon one day.

Aaron Bennet

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After starting his career working various roles in the music industry, Aaron eventually developed an interest in conducting B2B research. Having had a lifelong interest in learning about new topics, he enjoys curating information that can grow organizations and help them make informed decisions. Aaron has done research work in a variety of industries from homeland security to finance.

A Michigan native, Aaron is a graduate of Western Michigan University where he received a B.B.A. in Management. After being away for a few years, he is excited to be returning to Austin and getting reacquainted with the city.

Quick facts about Aaron:

  • He is an electronic music DJ and avid record collector.
  • He recently developed an interest in hockey, and is planning on taking up the sport…as soon as he learns how to skate.
  • He once simultaneously managed the official Willie Nelson, Matchbox 20, and Lil’ Wayne online fan clubs.

Laura Berrones

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As a Community Manager for GasPedal, Laura is focused on making people happy through systems and procedures that deliver the most joy. She loves crossing items of checklists, developing reports in Salesforce, and using excel to find shortcuts to maximize output.

Laura is a graduate of Purdue University where she studied Communications. After graduation, she started her career in sandwiches (because we all know that the quickest way to someone’s heart is through their belly) hoping to make the most people happy in short periods of time. After many years in the sandwich biz, she stumbled into GasPedal by means of free sandwich tickets and a continued passion for taking care of people. Spreading happiness and creating positive ripple effects are what make her tick, so she felt she found her calling in the work at SocialMedia.org.

Quick facts about Laura:

  • Laura loves picking up stray pennies and assigning their luck to other people.
  • She has a regular yoga and kickboxing habit – it’s all about yin and yang.
  • She’s recently discovered the music of Devendra Banhart and may have become an instant super fan.

Elisa Sepulveda

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Elisa moved to Austin nine years ago on a one-year bench assignment with IBM. After her first winter, Elisa fell in love with the culture of Austin, the outdoors, and lack of snow, so she decided to stay.

Elisa’s background in technology, business development, operations, and community building brought her to GasPedal. She became passionate about artificial intelligence and technology as a member of the IBM Watson commercialization team, which led to her to grow and scale artificial intelligence startups in Austin. Elisa then worked to grow the data science ecosystem for Galvanize and ran sales and operations for five locations of The Riveter, a coworking space for women. In addition to her day job, Elisa is a local director for Founder Institute, an early-stage entrepreneurship accelerator.

Quick facts about Elisa:

  • She spends most of her free time with her horse Watson competing in local hunter jumper shows or trail riding at Austin parks.
  • She likes to travel and explore with her mini schnauzer Potato. So far, they have traveled to both coasts, swimming in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
  • She loves to cook and bake, replicating dishes from her travels around the world.

Loraine Brown

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As the VP of Organizational Development, Loraine works to continue building and optimizing the high-performing team at GasPedal by developing systems and providing our team the knowledge & tools to support their professional learning & development.

Loraine grew up in Huntsville, Alabama and arrived in Austin in late 2004 after stops in Nashville, Charleston, SC, and Washington DC. During those stops, she majored in Political Science and Communication Studies at Vanderbilt, ran Customer Support and founded both Professional and Educational Services at Blackbaud, and worked as a Research Director at CEB (now Gartner). Upon moving to Austin, Loraine worked with GLG as the operational head of the Austin office, and then later served as the firm’s first Chief Compliance Officer and Global Head of Legal & Compliance Operations. Her most recent role was as Director of Operations for Red Velvet Events. She lives in south Austin with her partner, Josh, in a house that’s really owned by their two cats, Bailey and Patricia.

Quick facts about Loraine:

  • Loraine has traveled to six continents and has flown around the world (really!) on three separate occasions. Favorite destinations for fun include the Tuscany region in Italy, the Stellenbosch region of South Africa, and the Burgundy region of France.
  • She’s a Certified Wine Educator through the Society of Wine Educators, and passed the Level 1 exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers.
  • Her job during summers and holidays in college was Camp Counselor at Space Camp & Academy in Huntsville, AL.

Kaitlin Butler

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Kaitlin grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, went to school in Dallas, and moved around every chance she got (Santa Fe, Berkeley, a dreamy castle in northern Italy, Memphis, Chicago!) before finally landing in Austin. She’s thrilled to be back in the land of breakfast tacos, Townes Van Zandt, and endless streams of Topo Chico. Professionally, she spent most of her career in higher ed fundraising before making the shift to GasPedal. She’s loving the mission-driven work as well as her short commute, and spends much of her free time planning a backyard vegetable garden, learning how to two step, and throwing elaborate dinner parties.

Quick facts about Kaitlin:

  • She’s an avid music fan who once served as music director for her college radio station.
  • She’s hopelessly devoted to her cat, Henry Perkins, who’s a dead ringer for a young Timothy Dalton.
  • She has a secret method for winning raffles, and it works—prizes to date include gift cards, hockey tickets, and an enormous flatscreen TV and soundbar.

Sam Callahan

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As a Community Editor for our Communications Team, Sam helps create the voices of our brands through newsletters, member communications, blogs, and marketing content.

Sam is originally from the great state of New Jersey and studied Communications at Ramapo College. After graduation, she worked in social media and consumer rewards marketing for four years before deciding to make a major life change. After a particularly harsh and seemingly never-ending East Coast winter, Sam packed up and moved to Austin, TX where the temperature rarely dips below 50°. She has never really cared for tacos but this city might just change her mind.

Quick facts about Sam:

  • She was a varsity bowler in high school. There is no such thing as a “friendly game” when Sam’s involved. Luckily for everyone, she was forced to leave her custom bowling ball at home during her recent move.
  • Despite her crippling fear of flying, Sam has traveled to 44 U.S. states and nine countries.
  • At one point in her life, she could accurately identify any species of frog in the northeast just from the sound of its call.

As a Membership Director, Jeff helps our members get the most value out of their membership. He enjoys building relationships and making sure members are comfortable with sharing ideas, asking questions, and making connections with other members.

Jeff graduated from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, with a degree in journalism. He worked as a reporter for both a weekly and daily newspaper, and also wrote for an insurance trade magazine for Crain Communications. In other parts of his career, he handled auto claims for Progressive Insurance and worked in public relations, marketing, social media, and digital content at Zurich Insurance. In fact, he’s a former SocialMedia.org member!

Jeff grew up in the suburbs of Chicago but has moved as far north as Superior, Wisconsin, and as far south as Durham, North Carolina. Now, he lives in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, a literal stone’s throw from Wrigley Field, with his lovely wife, Kristi, and their son, Declan. And yes, he’s a fan of the Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs, and Bulls.

Quick facts about Jeff:

  • He met his wife, Kristi, at a Grizzly Bear concert at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park and proposed to her on the very spot they met.
  • Jeff played lacrosse at Western Illinois University.
  • He also won a Virginia Press Association award for feature writing.

Paul Castillo

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As the Technology Manager, Paul does his best to keep everything IT related running smoothly at GasPedal. If it’s technology-related and broken, he’s the one to fix it. And if something needs improvement, Paul will get it done. He enjoys helping people and solving problems.

Paul came from a help desk background, working at a small business in Georgetown to support onsite IT issues for business and residential clients. He quickly advanced to a lead role and became the go-to guy for everyone in the shop. Paul’s happy to assist co-workers and clients alike, and enjoys working in a challenging and fast-paced environment.

Quick facts about Paul:

  • At two years old, he stuck a fork in a 220V outlet and survived unscathed.
  • He still hosts LAN parties, where his kids have mastered first-person shooter games.
  • At home, Paul says he’s known as the “Troll” dad — he’s constantly messing with his four children and making them laugh.

Taylor Catalon

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Taylor was born and raised in sunny Southern California and attended Pacific Union College in Napa Valley to study Communications in Public Relations and Journalism. She spent a year abroad in Florence, Italy and earned her Italian minor. After graduation, she worked at an academic health system managing the annual and employee giving programs then transitioned to launching a strategic alliances department while earning her MBA in Marketing from University of Redlands. This is where her love for connecting people to their passions blended with her business acumen.

Taylor and her husband took a leap of faith and moved to Austin (where they didn’t know a soul) in 2017 and quickly realized this was home. They live in Southwest Austin with their spunky Boxer, Amber. She enjoys taking her paddleboard on the lake, walking Amber around the greenbelt and game nights.

Quick facts about Taylor:

  • She’s a Yelp Elite. She loves writing about the mom and pop shops, neighborhood restaurants and local businesses almost as much as she loves eating her way through Austin. If you need an Insta-worthy happy hour spot, she’s your girl!
  • She went skydiving when it was -13℉ in the air. Her nose is still thawing out.
  • She moved to Austin on Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. Some say they would’ve won if she didn’t abandon California that day. Go Dodgers!

Haley Dearing

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Haley was born and raised in Houston and attended Texas A&M University where she received a Bachelor’s in Political Science. She finished her last semester abroad studying foreign affairs at Richmond University in London. She then moved to San Francisco to earn a Master’s in International Business with a Specialization in Sustainability while working for a non-profit on CSR efforts and editing for an international magazine.

After grad school, Haley moved to Austin to pursue a career in Business Development and Public-Sector Marketing. She currently lives in South Austin with some friends and a cat, Arya, who she is unfortunately allergic to. Haley enjoys trying new restaurants, being on the water and taking spontaneous weekend trips (near or far).

Quick facts about Haley:

  • She can say anything backwards, including Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
  • In high school, Haley raised a pig that bullied her.
  • She’s visited 11 countries – and counting – and successfully missed 3 flights during those travels.

Don Vanderslice

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At seven-years-old, Don went door-to-door selling his stick figure renderings of the The Miracle on Ice to neighbors on Shadywood Lane. Since then, he started a few nonprofits, created some art installations, worked in tech, and went through an awesome mid-life crisis.

Don gets pretty passionate about the stuff he loves. Those things include watching his son and daughter messily learn how to become themselves, breakfast tacos, Hafiz and Rumi, running, Blackwing 602 Firm Graphite pencils (“Half the pressure, twice the speed”), the history of hip hop, Andrei Tarkovsky films, Frank Ocean’s music, and the National Basketball Association.

Quick facts about Don:

  • In 2019, Don co-wrote and directed “The Lesser Known Rules of Werewolves,” a short film that was selected to screen at SXSW and Deep in the Heart film festivals.
  • He’s hung out with Mother Theresa and Iggy Pop (unfortunately not at the same time).
  • Don’s first concert was a trifecta of early 90s energy: MC Hammer, En Vogue, and Vanilla Ice.

Andrew Dobbs

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Andrew Dobbs (or just “Dobbs” to friends) is a native Texan originally from the Dallas area, who has lived in Austin for most of the last 17 years. He attended the University of Texas where he studied history and got involved in local, state, and national politics. He ultimately ended up with a career in environmental activism and public interest advocacy, learning about Gaspedal while he worked with our neighbors on the landfill that gives Trash Mountain Ranch its name. After getting to know some of our people he decided to pursue a career change to make a difference here.

He lives less than 15 minutes from the ranch now with his partner (and two cats) and spends as much time as possible obsessing over the Dallas Cowboys, re-watching The Sopranos, and reading.

Quick facts about Dobbs:

  • Dobbs once spent months wandering the US on Greyhound buses and reading Tarot cards on the street for a living.
  • He appeared on Jeopardy! in 2011… and lost badly.
  • In 2014 he produced and co-hosted a live televised debate for Austin Mayor (and did much better than he did on Jeopardy!).

Andrew Epps

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Andrew is a self-described autodidact, whose passion for learning and sharing drives him to help people make connections. As a Sales Development Representative, Andrew helps us find amazing new community members.

Andrew’s entrepreneurial spirit has led him on a diverse path working for early-stage startups and building businesses of his own. He is a graduate of the Praxis Entrepreneurship Program and a voracious reader.

Quick facts about Andrew:

  • He plays eight different musical instruments (to varying degrees of success).
  • He was born in Aberdeen, Scotland.
  • He’s a huge history nerd.

Preston Firestone

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Preston has led human resources and recruiting operations for GasPedal and its clients since 1999. He has served in similar positions with a variety of new media companies as well as traditional consulting enterprises. Preston spent five years on the road with The Vanilla Fudge and raises pet mudsharks. Preston isn’t real, but most job applicants don’t read this far.

Erin Gant

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A true “Georgia Peach”, Erin is originally from Atlanta, GA! After graduating from Georgia College and State University, Erin’s career took her to Melbourne, Australia and eventually to Austin in 2014 for a positon working with universities in international education. With experience in recruitment, business development, and sales she continues to follow her passions as a Community Evangelist. She is proud to be part of a team striving to build long-term member relationships by providing extraordinary customer service through meaningful conversations.

She absolutely loves the warm weather and rivers that surround Austin! Spending most of her weekends with friends soaking up the sun during the day and dancing or singing karaoke by night. She is crafty and always has a project going – painting, bedazzling, knitting, or whatever new hobby she can learn! She plans to stay in Austin forever, watching one spring filled with Texas wildflowers after another!

Quick facts about Erin:

  • She LOVES dancing – Salsa, Bachata, Swing, Polka, and of course the good ol’ Texas Two-step.
  • She was captain of her university’s all red-headed flag football team.
  • Over the last five years she has lived in two sheds, a garage, and spent five months traveling the western US in her Honda Element.

Katlyn Gant

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Katlyn attended St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas where she earned an Bachelor’s degree in International Business. She studied abroad twice, a short trip to Taiwan and a semester in France. She currently lives in South Austin with her three roommates. Katlyn enjoys traveling to new places, pad thai, and golden retrievers.

Quick facts about Katlyn:

  • She is an ordained minister via the internet.
  • She collects Starbucks mugs (at least tries to) from all the places she has visited.
  • She can speak a decent amount of French and loves listening to French music.

Ellyson Glance

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As a Community Editor for our Communications Team, Ellyson is the voice of our brands, writing communications, blog content, and marketing content.

Ellyson studied English Language and Literature at Davidson College in North Carolina (of Steph Curry fame). Originally from Middle Georgia, she moved to Austin in 2016 to do the nonprofit thing before joining the GasPedal team.

Quick facts about Ellyson:

  • Despite living in Austin, she doesn’t care for breakfast tacos. Yes, she knows how weird that is.
  • She used to sing in a Madrigal Choir because she is just that nerdy.
  • Several months ago, she got into the habit of going to a weekly movie at Alamo Drafthouse and hasn’t been able to stop since.

Jessica Granatowski

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Jessica is an Oregonian who landed in Austin by way of New York – and will never leave! Prior to joining GasPedal, she built and scaled sales organizations in SMB and healthcare marketing for over a decade, including website development and SEO/SEM with Yodle, practice automation software with Lighthouse360, and retention marketing with eRelevance.

As VP of Sales with GasPedal, Jessica is responsible for leading a wonderful group of Community Builders, SDRs, and Account Executives in their charge to find the best and brightest business leaders in the world and bring them into the Board.org and Socialmedia.org families.

Quick facts about Jessica:

  • Jessica was a theatre major at NYU. Her first “big” role was as the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of OZ in 8th grade.
  • She has two puggles (pug/beagle mixes) that run her house
  • International travel is one of her passions. She fully intends to retire to Belize and spend her days snorkeling someday.

Leah Gravley

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Leah grew up in the rural community of Argyle, TX and then attended the University of North Texas. She recently moved to the Austin area and has lived in West Lake Hills since last autumn. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, organizing, traveling, hiking, kayaking, finding cool new restaurants to try, and spending time with her family and friends.

Quick facts about Leah:

  • Leah loves the outdoors and is an avid snowboarder, beach lover, and regularly goes offshore/deep sea fishing trips with her family.
  • She’s a crafty person and usually has a new DIY project that she’s working on, whether it’s redoing a piece of furniture or finding creative ways to repurpose and reuse old stuff.
  • She has a large standard poodle named Kingston that goes everywhere with her.

Sami Havens

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Samantha is an Account Executive for GasPedal and is passionate about connecting people with the resources needed to make meaningful changes at the world’s biggest companies.

After graduating from Texas A&M, Samantha launched her career in Business Development in Oklahoma. After realizing that there’s no place like Texas, her family moved to Austin where she began helping PR professionals quantify their work by educating on modern technology and techniques for branding.

Samantha serves with various non-profits across Austin, helping young women achieve personal goals and launch their professional careers. She resides in Northeast Austin with her husband and rambunctious pup, Indiana Bones, “Indie” for short.

Quick facts about Sami:

  • She always has an itch to travel.
  • Texas wine country is her favorite weekend retreat.
  • Her idea of resting is staying busy and fills her free time with hobbies including sewing, running, reading, hiking, gardening and event planning.

Heather Mason

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Heather is a Minnesotan who came to Austin in 2015 to enjoy mild winters and hot summers. For 5 years before GasPedal, she was a freelance consultant. She supported several brands on marketing content strategy and sales processes to help them connect better with customers. Prior to that, Heather enjoyed a 10-year tenure at tech firm SPS Commerce, where her efforts on the sales team allowed SPS to grow exponentially as she built relationships with some of their largest, most complex customers.

Heather came to GasPedal to leverage her sales experience and love of problem-solving to help connect her clients with exciting tangible business outcomes. She’s an ROI wizard who loves a good spreadsheet. Given free time, Heather often finds herself in the woods camping, hiking, fishing, or swimming. She can tell you the common name of most Texas wildflowers.

Quick facts about Heather:

  • She’s a major Elvis Presley fan who decorated her dining room in all Elvis memorabilia. Touring Graceland and Sun Studio with her dad and sisters was a huge highlight in her life. Her main passion is attending live music shows in many genres.
  • She drag raced for 4 years in Minnesota and Wisconsin on NHRA tracks. Her fastest reaction time off the line was .502 and her top speed was 110MPH. Her main drag car was a 1972 Chevy Nova. She’s also rebuilt 5 motors.
  • Heather lives under the jurisdiction of 2 beloved cats: Cecil and Felix.

Lindsay Ketchum

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Lindsay Ketchum comes to GasPedal after more than 12 years of public relations and communications experience.

Lindsay earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and a Master of Science degree in organizational leadership and ethics from St. Edward’s University. She played on the women’s soccer team at St. Edward’s during her undergrad and served as a graduate assistant coach while getting her masters.

Lindsay lives in Austin with her husband and two kids. She volunteers with Early Matters Greater Austin (recently formed organization with the United Way for Greater Austin and E3 Alliance) to mobilize and unite the business community to help us assure every child in the Austin area enters kindergarten prepared for success.

Quick facts about Lindsay:

  • She can execute a super loud two-finger whistle.
  • In 2017, she and her firefighter husband started a successful dryer vent and dryer vacuuming company, Fireman Dryerman.
  • She recently moved into the house directly next door to her old house.

Marcia Kinsey

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As a Membership Director, Marcia helps to create an atmosphere in our community where great conversations happen, connections are made, and deep relationships are forged. Marcia works behind the scenes, helping members get the most out of their experience.

Marcia has had the great fortune of always doing work she believes in. Before coming to GasPedal, she worked for two nonprofits dedicated to helping create an economy and government that works for everyone. She also spent two years as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Belize City, where she helped Americans get out of all kinds of binds.

Marcia lives in Austin with her husband, two kids, and a very slow-moving tortoise. She volunteers at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House and her children’s schools. An avid kayaker, Marcia loves being on Texas rivers and lakes, regardless of the temperature or the time of year.

Quick facts about Marcia:

  • She helped evacuate Americans from Belize during Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
  • She has listened to virtually every This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour podcast while working out.
  • She is from a ridiculously large family and is the 7th of 8 children and the 38th of 44 first cousins, on her mother’s side.

Zach Lepard

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Zach is a graduate of the University of Montana and holds a degree in Neuropsychology. He was an active member of the Deaf Community during college and enjoys signing with friends and colleagues. After leaving Montana he worked in the nonprofit sector in California, helping bring technology and people together within the California foster care system.

After Moving to Austin, Zach stepped into the member coordination field at a financial consulting firm and fell in love with community building and member driven organizations. He loves Austin and is developing an admiration for breakfast tacos and the Longhorns!

Quick facts about Zach:

  • He is a registered Sommelier and has worked with multiple wineries across the country.
  • He skied competitively for 15 years and is happiest in the mountains.
  • He is an avid reader and is always looking for new books!

Sam Myrick

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As a Membership Director, Sam has a pulse on the happenings of our member communities. Knowing our members and their programs so well, Sam is an expert on connecting members with other members that have similar programs and are facing similar challenges.

Sam’s originally from northern Louisiana. He wound up in Austin eleven years ago after falling in love with a native Austinite. (They do exist!) He worked for nine years as a pastor in East Austin before spending a few years in the construction industry. He spends his free time with his wife, two kids, and a Beagle named Willie.

Quick facts about Sam:

  • Sam loves Texas barbecue. But he’s started avoiding it more recently because he’s worried his heart might explode.
  • Sam’s favorite hobby is watching movies at the Alamo Drafthouse. If you don’t think that’s a real hobby like sports or building things, Sam says, “Shut up.”
  • During college, Sam once won his entire dorm’s version of SURVIVOR. It was the TETRIS immunity challenge on NES where he really showed his skills and pulled away from the competition.

Jackie Owens

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As an Account Executive for GasPedal, Jackie recruits members for our unique communities that bring together executives leading meaningful change at the world’s biggest companies.

Jackie is a graduate of Texas A&M (whoop!) where she studied Psychology & Business. After graduation, she moved to Austin and started her career as a corporate recruiter. A few years later she joined a local staffing and recruiting firm and transitioned into business development. In that role, she built relationships with local businesses and helped them solve their staffing challenges. She was instrumental in growing the company, helping it triple in size, and led staff development and training for the team.

Jackie loves to spend time with friends and family, read, and be outdoors. She lives in Cedar Park with her husband, two adorable daughters, and two very large, very old dogs.

Quick facts about Jackie:

  • Jackie is a Daughter of the Republic of Texas.
  • Every time she steps into the sun she sneezes three times.
  • Her dream is to own waterfront property in the Texas Hill Country.

Kat Wheeler

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Kat is a native Austinite (Science Academy @ LBJ High School, in case you are also local and wondering). After attending UT for undergrad she ventured into the midwest for graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis. With a Masters in Social Work, Kat moved back to Austin for good and began her career in the non-profit sector. She has spent the past 15 years in fundraising, leading development efforts at both the Center for Child Protection and more recently at the Austin Young Chamber.

Kat and her husband David live in the Dripping Springs area with their twin daughters, mastiff, and cat. From a creative standpoint, Kat’s favorite activities are gardening and cooking.

Quick facts about Kat:

  • Kat’s parents were “fixer uppers” so as a child she moved around Austin a lot, changing schools multiple times. In 3rd grade, Kat went to Kirby Hall at the same time as Andy Roddick and they were almost boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • Kat and David had chickens at their last house in North Central Austin (prior to moving to the ‘burbs).
  • Kat loves checking out new bars and restaurants though admittedly after becoming a (twin) mom in 2018, she doesn’t get out so much these days.

As Content Producer, Kristen supports the team by writing, editing, and coordinating content for our blogs, newsletters, member communications, and public websites. She also manages our social media properties, helps with event marketing, and is even known to break out her graphic design skills now and then.

Kristen is one of the few Chicago natives on the team and will openly brag about her city to anyone who will listen. She received a bachelor’s degree in advertising and design from DePaul University while interning for GasPedal, and, because we all got along so well, she decided to stick around as a full-time part of our crew.

Quick facts about Kristen:

  • She thrives on live music and attends, on average, at least three concerts a month.
  • She owns over 18 wigs (because you never know when a costume opportunity will arise).
  • She once got fourth place in a Ms. Pac Man arcade tournament.

Alysia Santos

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As a Sales Development Representative, Alysia helps GasPedal find and invite new members into our communities. Alysia is finishing her Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Walden University. She furthered her love of people and giving magical experiences while working for Disney, and spent the past few years in Recruiting and Business Development for local Texas companies. Her love of digging deep and better understanding people and organizations brought her to us! She is always brimming with questions and really does want to know how your day is going.

Alysia was in born in Landstuhl, Germany into a military family that sparked her love of traveling to far off places and meeting new people.

Quick facts about Alysia:

  • Her 14-day solo-trip to Istanbul was due to a 4 a.m. lark and a nonrefundable ticket purchase — she regrets nothing.
  • She owns a dog named Reynauldo Santiago Santos.
  • She’s on a lifelong quest to eat the best Thai and Indian curry.

Jordan Shaffer

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Jordan was born and raised in McAllen, TX, and she moved to San Antonio, TX after graduating high school. She then earned her BA in Communication at the University of Texas at San Antonio. After graduating, she worked in the insurance industry for a while, but after four years in San Antonio, she and her husband wanted a change of scenery. They just recently moved to Austin, and cannot wait to see what type of adventures the city has in store for them. Jordan’s favorite things include eating, traveling, napping, and her beloved cat named Snart.

Quick facts about Jordan:

  • Jordan finished both high school and college a year early.
  • She has never been stung by a bee.
  • Along with all 50 states, she wants to visit Australia and Canada in her lifetime.

Lauren Shultz

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As a Membership Director, Lauren helps to create opportunities for members to share insights, feel connected, and build relationships. She approaches all interactions with genuine empathy and works to create a space for comfortable, candid conversations.

Lauren has spent her career at the intersection of creativity and community. Her professional experience includes building a membership program at a new museum in San Antonio as well as directing the membership department at the oldest and largest national design association based in New York City. Through her work in nonprofit and association management, she has led member-facing teams, advocated for member needs, and strategized plans for community engagement.

Lauren attended The University of Texas at Austin where she earned undergraduate degrees in Art History and Italian. She received a graduate degree in International Arts Administration from St. John International University in Turin, Italy. She also earned a certificate in Business Perspectives for Creative Leaders from Yale School of Management.

Quick facts about Lauren:

  • Lauren is a great listener, she gets told weekly by friends, family, and Lyft drivers that she should be a counselor.
  • Her most recent obsession is boxing, and she’s training to level up at her women-only gym.
  • She speaks Italian fluently, and shamelessly looks for any chance to use it—dai, parliamo!

Ryan Ronayne

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As the leader of GasPedal’s Membership and Development Team, Ryan helps keep the community healthy for our members by leading our community experience and finding other great brands to join their ranks. He’s a liaison for potential members to our communities.

Ryan has a degree in marketing communications from Columbia College Chicago. He completed eight internships during his collegiate career, including his favorite at GasPedal. After getting over his sports interest (five internships), he started his career here using his communication skills to find other talented social media leaders to join SocialMedia.org. He loves living in Austin and enjoys the local food trucks and sporting events.

Quick facts about Ryan:

  • He went 3-0 in the Taco Bell Saucy Sprint mascot races at Minute Maid Park.
  • Even though he’s now two inches taller than Ryan, he’ll always call his younger brother “smalls.”
  • He volunteers weekly to jog dogs around Town Lake.

Andy Sernovitz

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Andy Sernovitz builds organizations that help people help each other. His company, GasPedal, builds peer-to-peer communities for people leading meaningful change at the world’s biggest companies. He wrote the best-selling book Word of Mouth Marketing, which teaches you how to rally fans for your business, your art, or your cause.

GasPedal builds peer-to-peer communities for people leading meaningful change at the world’s biggest companies.

Andy taught word of mouth marketing at Northwestern University and internet entrepreneurship at the Wharton School of Business. He’s a serial entrepreneur who founded and advises many startups and nonprofits. And he’s a rabid purist on the topic of marketing ethics.

Quick facts about Andy:

  • He has testified before Congress three times.
  • He was on the Ali G Show.
  • He once sauntered 32 miles around the coast of Manhattan.

Morgan Smith

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Morgan has a degree in business administration and English from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. After graduating, he went to South Korea to work as a foreign language teacher, where he spent about four years. While there, he had the opportunity to visit multiple countries and fell in love with experiencing diverse cultures. His favorite destinations to date are the Philippines and Vietnam. He now enjoys living in Austin with his wife and two adorable foreign dogs.

Quick facts about Morgan:

  • As a toddler, he (accidently) held onto the edge of an escalator and went down on the opposite side of the steps, where an elderly woman followed underneath to make sure he didn’t fall.
  • Most of Morgan’s hobbies are outdoor activities and he hopes to enter the world of rock climbing soon.
  • He enjoys reading fiction, but will try reading any book recommended to him.

As an Operations Manager, Evette manages and optimizes all of the tech, tools, and toys we get to work with every day.

Evette got her bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of the Philippines before packing her bags and moving halfway across the world for a master’s degree in marketing communications from the Illinois Institute of Technology. She joined GasPedal as an intern and loved it so much, she never left.

Quick facts about Evette:

  • One of her favorite things about living in Chicago is actually the weather.
  • She enjoys going on road trips to watch hockey in all sorts of awesome cities.
  • She once had a speaking part on a Broadway musical.

Kurt Vanderah

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Kurt is the Membership Director for the Talent Marketing Board, where he uses his passion for connecting people and helping them learn from each other.

He’s had some practice at that, having spent eight years at Executive Director of SocialMedia.org, helping grow that community from infancy to several hundred member companies. In other roles, he’s worked in a communications role for America’s dairy farmers, and he spent more than a dozen years at WGN Radio in Chicago. Kurt’s a fiercely proud Green Bay Packers fan, but prouder still of his son and daughter.

Quick facts about Kurt:

  • He’s seen Major League Baseball games in 45 different ballparks, from old Tiger Stadium to the Tokyo Dome.
  • Kurt is a board member for Dyer Babe Ruth baseball, a non-profit league in his Indiana hometown.
  • He’s a level 40 Pokémon Go player (yes, he still plays).
  • He once organized a miniature golf pro-am, bringing together local celebrities to raise thousands of dollars for Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Katrina Tofflemire

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Katrina is an original ‘weird’ Portlandian who arrived in Austin in 2018 after stays in Seattle and Madison. She has been fighting the good fight of process and structure at three diverse SaaS startups, where she was responsible for scaling business development, customer success initiatives and long-term support strategies. She has a special knack for tying systems together to maximize efficiencies and reduce redundant activities. Specifically, she has managed automations with Hubspot, Zendesk, Atlassian, and Monday.com to streamline customer billing, support and implementations.

Katrina has seen a diverse range of challenges throughout the last decade – from doubling product implementations to raise a $6M funding round to managing a $1B client relationship to a long-term partnership agreement. She sees each challenge as an opportunity for growth and is excited to take that experience to GasPedal!

Quick facts about Katrina:

  • Katrina is an avid horror movie enthusiast and has created a unique rating system that she will gladly explain at length if you let her.
  • Her first job was at Krispy Kreme Donuts and it remains the most stressful job she’s ever had. The Sunday crowds are no joke!
  • She has run in temperatures ranging 100 degrees in all of the places she has lived. Her love for running does not mean that she has enjoyed the single OR triple digit runs, however.

Lucy Salinas

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As a Membership Manager, Lucy helps members start the conversations and find the connections that help them succeed at what they do. She enjoys getting to know members’ different goals and KPIs to help them get the most out of the GasPedal community membership.

Lucy originally hails from Mexico City but has spent a significant amount of time in Miami and Austin as well. She has a background in advertising and marketing and is truly passionate about helping people build solid relationships within membership organizations.

Lucy lives in Austin with her husband and their three children. She spends her free time working on home projects, volunteering at her boys’ school or throwing dinner parties for her friends.

Quick facts about Lucy:

  • She loves languages! Though Spanish is her first language, she speaks fluent English, learned to speak Portuguese as a child, and taught herself basic French using tapes and a book as a teen one summer. Next on the wishlist is Japanese.
  • There isn’t a cluttered closet she can’t organize.
  • She can’t live without Spotify — collaborative playlists are her absolute favorite.

Cale Johnson

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As VP of Communications, Cale leads the communications team in their mission to create great content, earn loyal fans, and have reasonably non-broken websites. He’s part copywriter, part editor, and part project manager.

Cale has a degree in journalism from Drake University and got his start covering sports for The Des Moines Register. Cale lives with his wife Caroline, son Emory, cat Bella, and dog Ollie. When he’s not working at GasPedal, he’s probably planning his next national park adventure.

Quick facts about Cale:

  • He owns a lot of flannel — not that there’s anything wrong with that.
  • His hometown is smaller than yours.
  • He once ate fried butter and lived to tell about it.

As the Designer, Peter supports the team by tackling all of the design challenges and odd jobs related to web and print design. His days consist of designing websites from scratch, development, print design, and generally keeping everything looking nice and tidy.

Peter has a degree in sociology from the University of Michigan. He got his first job in graphic design when he started designing and illustrating for the university’s engineering textbooks. Since switching up the scenery with his move to the Austin office, he has found that designing for GasPedal is a lot more interesting than drawing pictures of circuit diagrams.

Quick facts about Peter:

  • He owns a handful of vintage synthesizers and makes electronic music in his spare time.
  • His favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger movie is Total Recall.
  • He runs a record label with some friends called Ways Inner Pass.

Mark Valderama

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As Controller of GasPedal, Mark leads and manages the Finance function. Number crunching and spreadsheets are the way for Finance. Finance holds many hats and Mark isn’t afraid of getting into the thick of things.

He is a former Big Four auditor starting his career at PriceWaterhouse Coopers.

Quick facts about Mark:

  • Mark grew up in South San Francisco, California and moved to Austin in 2005 after stops in Los Angeles and Phoenix.
  • Mark has a degree in Accounting from the University of Southern California and is a licensed CPA in Texas.
  • Mark loves living in Cedar Park and enjoys
    going outdoors with his family.