A Conversation With Community Leaders

The 2017 Opportunity Matters Luncheon will feature an engaging conversation with a panel of community leaders, including the foundation's Founder and Chair Andy Roddick, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Brett Hurt from data.world, jewelry designer Kendra Scott, and Charles Thornburgh of Civitas Learning. The conversation will focus on how public institutions, the business sector, and nonprofit organizations can work together to develop a sustainable and systemic approach for supporting the most underserved young people in our community.


Andy Roddick

Founder and Chair,  Andy Roddick Foundation

Andy Roddick was nine years old when he realized what he was born to do. These days, he’s devoted his life to recreating that moment, over and over again­­––but not for himself. It turns out that one of the greatest tennis players of all time was born not just to pursue his own passion, but to help others discover theirs. He accomplishes that mission through the Andy Roddick Foundation, his Austin, Texas-based nonprofit working to take the time children spend outside the classroom and turn it into real opportunities. Through an innovative and acclaimed six-week summer program, investments in collaborative out-of-school time activities, and other joint initiatives with key groups throughout the city, the Foundation is creating new chances for underserved kids to grow in literacy, STEM, art, and sports––all during months and times of day when statistics show they’re typically most at risk and falling behind.

“Let’s expose these kids to everything, and let’s hope something sticks with them,” Roddick says. “That moment I had at nine, when I picked up a tennis racket and it clicked with me––it built my self-esteem and gave me a sense of self-worth at a young age because I could do something well. That’s the moment we’re trying to hit with these kids. And we’re going to give them every chance to find it.”


The Honorable Steve Adler

Mayor, City of Austin

Mayor Adler was sworn into office in January 2015 and has focused primarily on Austin’s growing affordability crisis and worsening traffic.

 On affordability, Mayor Adler and the Council created a 6% homestead exemption in 2015 to provide a property tax break to homeowners, raising it to 8% in 2016. Under Adler, the Council also increased the senior and disabled property tax exemption to $82,500 and approved a settlement with Austin Energy in August 2016 that lowered electric rates for everyone in town. Also in August 2016, HUD Secretary Julián Castro recognized Mayor Adler for completing the Mayors’ Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. On mobility, Mayor Adler convened a broad community coalition to win support of the Smart Corridor mobility bond before the Council in August 2016. 

 Mayor Adler has received recognition for his innovative ideas and leadership. In Jun. 2016, the United States Conference of Mayors elected Mayor Adler to the Advisory Board. In August 2016, Mayor Adler was voted by mayors surveyed by POLITICO Magazine as the co-winner of the Rookie of the Year award. In September 2016, Living Cities included Mayor Adler on the list of 25 Disruptive Leaders. 


Brett Hurt

CEO and Co-founder, data.world

Brett is the CEO and Co-founder of data.world, which is building the most meaningful, collaborative, and abundant data resource in the world as a Certified B Corp.  He is also a seed-stage investor at Hurt Family Investments (HFI) in partnership with his wife, Debra.  HFI are involved in 48 startups and 12 VC funds.  HFI has directly made 37 startup investments, and Brett has also joined the Advisory Board of 11 additional companies.  Prior to HFI, Brett founded Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV) and served as CEO and President for 7½ years, leading the company from bootstrapped concept to almost 2,000 clients worldwide and through its successful IPO.  He subsequently guided the company through a successful follow-on offering and two acquisitions, PowerReviews and Longboard Media.  Prior to Bazaarvoice, Brett founded Coremetrics and helped grow the company into a global, leading marketing analytics solution for the eCommerce industry before its acquisition by IBM.

Brett holds an MBA in High-Tech Entrepreneurship from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Texas at Austin.  He serves as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Wharton School.  Brett previously served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the McCombs School of Business and also served on the Board of Directors of Shop.org for six years.  Brett established the Bazaarvoice Foundation and is very active in the philanthropic arena.  He received the Austin Entrepreneurs Foundation’s Community Leadership Award in 2012.  Brett is entrepreneur empowerment group RISE’s Serial Entrepreneur of the year for 2012.  He was named by E&Y as Entrepreneur of the Year for Austin in 2009 and is a member of the Austin chapter of the international Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).  Brett was named CEO of the Year for large companies by the Austin Business Journal in 2012 and received the Joseph Wharton Award for Young Leadership in 2013.  Brett and Debra received the LBJ Humanitarian Award in 2014 for their dedication to public service, philanthropy, and the Austin community.  Brett was awarded the Henry Crown Fellowship from The Aspen Institute and joined the 2015 XIX class, named "Dare, Greatly".

To help support Austin's entrepreneurs, Brett serves as a Partner at Capital Factory and Mentor at Techstars Austin; invests in early-stage companies, funds, and philanthropic endeavors with Hurt Family Investments; serves as the Chairman of the Board at Edgecase (formerly named Compare Metrics); and blogs at Lucky7.io.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas as well as Conscious Capitalism, both of which are nonprofits designed to bring out the best in business in the way it can serve society at large.  Brett also serves on the nonprofit Boards of Data Coalition and Data Foundation, both of which are dedicated to advancing the open-data movement in government.  

Brett can be followed on Twitter at @databrett.


Kendra Scott

Designer, CEO and Philanthropist
Kendra Scott, LLC

Designer, CEO and philanthropist Kendra Scott started her company in 2002, with only $500 and just three months after her first son was born. Going door-to-door to Austin boutiques armed only with a tea box full of her jewelry, Kendra wowed businesses and customers with her infectious personality and unique eye for design.

The foundation of Kendra’s success has been her innate ability to utilize natural stones and custom designed shapes, which has brought her from a small start-up to a multi-million dollar business loved globally. Known for her unique use of color and genuine materials, Kendra has created collections of timeless pieces that have won over loyal fans, media and celebrities alike.

Today, her company continues to operate out of Austin, TX, in their 43,000 square ft. state of the art corporate office complete with design lab and an industry leading distribution center that caters to her employees’ career goals and family-life balance. 

Along with Family, Kendra maintains a focus on her other core pillars of Fashion & Philanthropy in all that she does. In 2016 alone, Kendra and the company have given back over $2.5MM and over 100,000 pieces of jewelry through their work with over 2,000 local and national organizations. She lives the belief of always having something to give.


Charles Thornburgh

CEO, Civitas Learning

Charles fell in love teaching while an undergrad at Stanford, and was naive enough to buy an education company (for debt) upon graduating.  He's since spent the last 20 years building educational technology businesses, as both entrepreneur and intrapreneur, with a focus on using technology and data to expand access to, and better understand the efficacy of, educational experiences at scale.  In 2011 Charles moved to Austin to found Civitas Learning, a VC-backed, growth-stage SaaS company bringing predictive analytics and design thinking to bear on solving the post-secondary completion problem in the US.  Charles's wife Natalee, and their 3 and 4 year old sons, love living in Austin's Travis Heights, even if dad is on the road a little more than they'd like.