Meet the Soul-y Austin Team
This blog entry features our Soul-y Austin team: Nicole Klepadlo, Donald Jackson, and Anahi Bendeck. Nicole, Donald, and Anahi make up the hard-working team that makes Soul-y Austin a reality. From planning meetings to assisting with the development of the District Plans, the Soul-y team is fully immersed in supporting the Soul-y districts and the participating businesses. Read more about our team:
Nicole Klepadlo is a Redevelopment Project Manager in the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department. A native Michigander, Nicole received a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Wayne State University in Detroit, and holds nine years of experience in urban planning, local and regional government, and community and economic development. With a background in Social Work, and a career in Community Planning Nicole has found a balance that promotes the integration of people and business, places and community and economic development.
Nicole has been working for the City of Austin for two (2) years. When asked about her favorite part of being on the Soul-y Austin team, Nicole says “Soul-y Austin at its core focuses on bringing tools that would otherwise not be available to businesses to their doorsteps. Soul-y promotes collaboration, creativity and leadership among the business community, stakeholders and within City of Austin departments. One of my favorite aspects is meeting business owners, learning of their challenges and being empowered and energized by their passions. My favorite part of being part of the Soul-y team is the unique collaborations that are explored to leverage, compliment and implement success in the business districts”. In addition, Nicole believes that Soul-y Austin serves as the foundation for capacity building, cohesive visioning and identifying district implementation projects – it’s an opportunity to highlight the great Austin business flare within the districts and further assist the business community towards their success.
Donald Jackson moved to Austin, Texas from Shreveport, Louisiana almost thirteen (13) years ago. Donald received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Hampshire College and also earned a Master of Arts in Community and Regional Planning and Master of Arts in Sustainable Design from The University of Texas at Austin. Donald, a Project Coordinator for the Economic Development Department, has been working for the City of Austin since spring 2015.
Donald’s favorite part about being on the Soul-y Austin team is helping small businesses in Austin’s commercial districts develop creative, cooperative relationships and strategies. As for how he believes Soul-y Austin will transform Austin’s commercial corridors, Donald says “The City’s comprehensive plan, Imagine Austin, gives clear direction to channel new growth of residents and jobs to our major corridors and centers. Our commercial corridors already contain businesses and organizations that are strong anchors for the City’s culture and identity. Growth is happening and it can be a real boon to small and local businesses, but it must be approached intentionally. By incubating and supporting merchant associations, helping them develop unified district visions, and aligning those visions with city programming, policies, and infrastructure, Soul-y Austin can help insure that new growth on corridors resonates with the soul of Austin.”