Meet the Launch Team: Jaison Oliver

As promised in our campaign launch post, we want you to meet all the passionate people behind Impact Hub Houston. Jaison Oliver (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaisonoliver) shares how he first engaged with Impact Hub Houston and how YOU can help drive impact in our community too:

Activists and organizers are mobilizing to end discriminatory bail practices, small businesses are providing vital space and sustenance for neighbors, and we’re all checking on one another amidst the smoke and pollen swirling around.

I’m excited about our future! I attend dozens of events weekly where I’m constantly energized by seeing people work through methods both old and new to make Houston better. Solving problems is what we do, and Impact Hub is the embodiment of that collaborative spirit.

I met Grace Rodriguez and Shiroy Aspandiar at an Open Project Night years ago. Open Project Night is a space where people collaborate to drive ideas and projects forward to make Houston a better place./em>

Shiroy and I had a shared interest in education technology since I had just left an ed tech startup. Shiroy was developing One Jump, a platform that connects under-served students to enrichment opportunities to the shorten the opportunity gap.

Seeing Shiroy tackle a major problem for schools helped me realize just how little our education system has changed despite all the new innovations we have at our disposal. It also reminded me how much power we have to change it ourselves. I’m basically One Jump’s biggest fan and I tell every student I encounter about how invaluable it is for summer opportunities.

Meanwhile, Grace was supporting Writers in the Schools as a board member. Watching Grace wield her unique amalgam of experiences for good constantly pushes me to be more creative in my own work. I’ve been hacking for Houston alongside them ever since.

I love this city and I want to see us all thrive. In my experience, thriving begins with creating robust ways to invite people into our work. Here are a few ways I want to build community and solve problems with you:

I shared those examples because it’s important to consider the many ways that change making is already happening in our neighborhoods, especially in communities of color. I want to connect that innovative spirit to institutional resources and knowledge that can help advance Houston.

To that end, one major project I’ll be working on through Impact Hub is to map out support pathways for social entrepreneurs. How can we better define pathways to success for problem-solvers? If you want to share the story of how you navigated this process, please reach out to me!

Also, we’ve built up quite the community of change makers over the years but we can’t do this work without partners. If your organization is solving problems in Houston, I want to know about it. We want to amplify your voice, expand your impact, and look for ways to partner with you.

Houston feels different. America feels different. Everything is changing. Can you feel it? We invite you to subscribe, volunteer, mentor, and — if you’re feeling our mission — slide us some coins for our crowdfunding campaign to help us increase our capacity for programming! Let’s shape and embrace change together. I can’t wait!