We are excited to present the inaugural Allies In Action section. The men featured in the following pages were hand-selected by the AW Ownership team as outstanding examples of true male allies who have boldly and consistently used their voices to champion women. Further, we asked them to financially sponsor this section in order to help underwrite what Austin Woman does each month to amplify the voices of all women, especially those who are underrepresented. We are grateful for their allyship and support and are thrilled to be able to celebrate them in this very special issue.
The AW Ownership Team: Melinda Garvey, Lana Macrum-Craig, Lynelle McKay, Terry Mitchell, Gretel Perera, Shuronda Robinson Ana Ruelas, Neha Sampat.
Steven D. González
PNC Bank | SVP, Regional President & Head of Corporate Banking – Austin
Steven González is the PNC regional president for Austin. He has been in the financial service industry for nearly two decades, and during that time González consistently goes above and beyond to support woman identified clients and colleagues, brings positive change, values equality and actively works to achieve it. He is reminded every day of the importance of being an ally when he sees his young daughter Gigi. As a PNC leader, González helps women move financially forward with initiatives like Project 257, designed to help close the economic gender gap and support women who are financial decision-makers. Additionally, PNC has Certified Women’s Business Advocates, bankers whose passion for supporting woman-identified clients and employees is both personal and professional. González is a genuine ally. He is educated on gender inequalities, is empathetic, acknowledges there is a lot of work to be done and does everything he can to make progress.
Moonshots Capital | General Partner
As an entrepreneur, investor and Army veteran, Craig Cummings is a true Austinite super-connector immersed in the city’s vibrant tech community. He is a special advisor for Military and Veteran Affairs for Capital Factory and serves on the advisory boards of VetsInTech, Texas Venture Labs at UT McCombs School of Business and DivInc. After 17 years of military service that earned him a Bronze Star, he co-founded the transportation platform RideScout, which was acquired by Mercedes-Benz. In 2014, Cummings co-founded Moonshots Capital alongside Kelly Perdew to invest in extraordinary leadership in the military veteran community and beyond. He holds a B.S. in political science from West Point, where he was their first Truman Scholar and later served as assistant professor of political science. He also holds a Ph.D. in political science and econometrics from Columbia University, is a member of the 2016 class of Henry Crown Fellows with the Aspen Institute and was recently named a Future Texas Legend Veteran by the Texas Business Hall of Fame. He is married to Lawton Posey Cummings and has two children,Addison (20) and Cooper (18).
Code2College | CEO & Co-Founder
Matt Stephenson is the CEO and co-founder of Code2College. Launched in 2016, Code2College is an Austin-based nonprofit that serves more than 1,000 students annually and places hundreds of historically underestimated high school students—primarily Black, Latina girls—into paid summer tech internships to dramatically improve their chance to enter and excel undergraduate majors and careers in STEM. In 2020, Code2College launched Vision 2024, its key initiative to support, develop and place 200 Legacies – Black and Latina girls – into STEM roles by 2024. To date, six cohorts of Vision 2024 Legacies have been served and placed into these life-changing experiences. Stephenson started his career in K-12 education as a high school math teacher, and later a Leadership Fellow, at Achievement First in New Haven, Connecticut. Prior to his career in K-12 education, Stephenson was a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs as well as an internship program manager for Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, where he was able to help 93% of the interns in his cohort to receive full-time job offers from their host firms. He has also served as Director of Finance at KIPP Austin Public Schools as well as an Adjunct Professor at The McCombs School of Business at UT Austin, teaching a course on philanthropic investments.
Robert Turner & Patrick Dobbs
Jamie Turner | Owner, Designer
Entrepreneur and Texas-native Robert Turner’s most recent business endeavor is perhaps his most creative and unexpected yet: handcrafted luxury jewelry. Turner’s lifelong love of geology turned him into a collector. He’s amassed one of the world’s largest personal gemstone collections. When he couldn’t find a quite-right gift for his daughter, Jamie, he realized he could bring a unique point of view to the luxury jewelry space and learned the craft. He named the company for Jamie, who’s personal style and appreciation for fine jewelry influence the brand aesthetic. Together, with master jeweler Patrick Dobbs, they developed the line and launched the company’s DTC business in 2022. Never one to follow a rulebook, Turner is drawn to organic shapes and unique gemstones like blue zircon, tsavorite and rare boulder opals. Each piece is designed and handcrafted in 18-karat gold by a team of world-class artisans in their Austin design studio.
Preston L. James II
DivInc. | Co-founder & CEO
Preston is the co-founder and CEO of DivInc, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to generate social and economic equity through entrepreneurship by equipping diverse founders with access to the critical resources they need to build investable companies. Founded in Austin in 2016, DivInc has supported more than 100 companies and more than 130 founders since its inception. A former 20-year veteran at Dell, he served in executive leadership roles in enterprise IT sales and consulting where he oversaw teams responsible for driving $250 million-plus in revenue. He also served as the managing director for the Dell Global Center for Entrepreneurship, where he oversaw the $100million Dell Credit Fund and helped expand the center’s initiatives globally. James is a champion for transforming and broadening the tech ecosystem by making it authentically inclusive. He firmly believes that the future prosperity of our nation is directly tied to our ability to empower women and people of color through entrepreneurship and innovation.
T. Kahler Coaching | Executive Coach
Recognized as one of Austin’s top executive coaches, Terry Kahler leverages his decades of leadership experience and 11years as an executive coach to help leaders and organizations of all types increase their effectiveness. His approach to coaching is based on pragmatism and industry-standard tools and methods to deliver measurable outcomes. When he began coaching in 2012, Kahler’s vision was to embed social impact into his practice. As such, proceeds from his purpose-driven practice fund nonprofits in the Austin area that are focused on community, education, entrepreneurship and healthcare. He also advocates for women in the workplace and plays an active role in furthering their cause. Kahler has called Texas home most of his life. He is an accomplished photographer, has a passion for cooking, enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife. The Kahlers reside in Austin with their three cats.
THIRD EAR | Founder & CEO
Alejandro Ruelas is a respected figure in the advertising world. He parlayed a successful corporate marketing career to start one of the most celebrated advertising agencies in the industry: LatinWorks, now known as THIRD EAR. Turning 25 years-old this fall, they’ve helped transform brands with innovative creative business solutions for Fortune 500 clients. Twice named one of the top 10 agencies in the U.S. by Ad Age magazine, THIRD EAR has achieved enviable milestones in its space, including crafting the number one rated spot in the 2007 Super Bowl broadcast. Notably, a key secret of the agency’s success is the fact that more than 60% of THIRD EAR’s workforce is made up of women. Ruelas has served on multiple nonprofit boards, including The Ann Richards School for young women leaders, The Texas Tribune and the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. He holds an MBA from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis, where in 2010, he was honored with the Olin Distinguished Alumni Award. Alejandro is married to Ana Ruelas, founder of luxury real estate brokerage The Agency Austin. They have three children, Gabriel (23), Melina (20) and Alejandro (9).