From the Houston Chronicle:
Grace Rodriguez, who spent much of her childhood in Houston and would later return as an adult in 2000, has long promoted Houston and its innovators. She strived to change the city’s perception during the six-year run of the “Houston at SXSW” promotional effort; helped Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez create the first Mayor’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee during his tenure on the Houston City Council; and worked as a lead organizer for Women In Tech: Houston and TEDxHouston.
In 2016, she was one of four founders who started Station Houston and helped grow it to 184 startups, 139 mentors and 351 members. The organization has become a driver for the city’s efforts to become a hub for high-growth, venture capital-attracting technology companies. And Station Houston fit well with her track record of working behind the scenes to found and nurture young organizations. But this time around, Rodriguez will take the next step in her career as the CEO and face of an organization.
Impact Hub is a global network with more than 100 hubs in over 50 countries. Roughly 6,400 startups were founded at its hubs between 2012 and 2016. Starting an Impact Hub is a long process that requires approval from the global network. Shiroy Aspandiar and Natasha Azizi co-founded Impact Hub Houston in 2016 and then reached out to Rodriguez this past summer.
“Grace has the right mix of mindsets, character, experience,” Aspandiar said, “and also just a true love for helping people that I think would make her a natural fit to be able to lead the helm of an Impact Hub.”
Others in Houston’s startup community likewise saw Impact Hub as a natural fit.
“She’s had such a focus on all social issues,” said Russ Capper, executive director of Houston Exponential, a nonprofit tasked with marketing and connecting Houston’s various innovation initiatives. “She likes to integrate them deeply into innovation and startups.”
Learn more about Grace, her background working in Houston’s creative, startup and innovation communities, and her crazy path to becoming the new CEO/Executive Director of Impact Hub Houston through her interview on “Working Wisdom” podcast from the C. T. Bauer College of Business: