We welcomed a lucky number seven new members onto our board this year. With backgrounds ranging from communications to the arts to entrepreneurship and beyond, we’re confident that they will be creative and skilled stewards of our organization.
Help us welcome them by learning more about their backgrounds below.
Harold Hardaway, Secretary
Dr. Harold Hardaway is a speaker and thought leader on corporate communications and culture. He believes that everyone should “Chase the Good” and centers his work on helping organizations create spaces where that’s possible. Today, he serves as Co-Founder and CEO of Cardigan—an internal communications and employer branding consultancy—and he was previously the Director of Corporate Communications and Culture for H-E-B. Harold is an Adjunct Faculty member in the McCoy College of Business at Texas State University and has been featured in San Antonio Magazine and Business.com. His writings have been featured in the Austin Business Journal, and he was recently recognized as a Finalist for the 2019 Austin Under 40 Awards. In addition to Creative Action, he serves on the Board of Directors for Leadership Austin and Equality Texas.
Tara Miko Ballentine
In her 20s, Tara Miko Ballentine was in fashion, in her 30s, she was in health and wellness and in her 40s, she is getting it right! She have married the love of both fashion and wellness into FNCH, a multi-level marketing firm that creates, consults and, connects clients to their goals. Tara has been a entrepreneur for her entire career with wins and big losses, which have all been valuable lessons in working with other startups and senior companies. When she is not on the grind, she is chasing her spritely three year old or on her yoga mat for some much needed zen.
Erin Mindell Cannon
Erin Mindell Cannon is a Program Manager on Google’s Developer Relations team, working on google.dev — an inclusive educational platform for developers at all phases and experience levels. Prior to this role, she worked on Google’s Computer Science Education team where she focused primarily on external education outreach. She has worked on projects such as Computer Science for High School — a grant-giving program to “train the trainer” in CS education, CS First — which brings Computer Science education to middle school children of all backgrounds, and the open-sourced platform Course Builder — a product that allows anyone to create an online course from a template. While on that team, she developed and led programs in the CS retention space, including the CS mentorship programs igniteCS and AI Research Mentorship. Over the past several years, Erin has been involved in various CS Education related initiatives including the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Education Board Retention Committee, helping the College Board’s Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles get up and running, the College for Every Student’s CS initiative, and serving on the Advisory Board for a National Science Foundation (NSF) project on collaborative research in the CS education space. Prior to her 11 years at Google, Erin worked at the non-profit Jewish National Fund on their education team. Erin was born and raised in Topeka, KS, and has lived in four additional states: California, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Boston College with a B.A. in English, Women Studies, and Jewish Studies. Erin completed her M.A. at Sarah Lawrence College in Developmental Psychology with a focus on technology while working at Google. Erin has resided in Austin since 2015 along with her partner, their two children, and two dogs. She has been locally involved in Meals on Wheels as a volunteer, along with her five year old.
Patricia Shults is a nonprofit executive director; she joined Art Alliance Austin as their ED in February 2018. Patricia’s experience includes founder/director of a community-based nonprofit that served thousands of at-risk youth over a dozen years. Patricia was the CEO of the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce/City of Sonoma Economic Development, prior to which she served as the VP of Membership at the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Patricia has a passion for community involvement-particularly around youth empowerment; she has served on many nonprofit boards as well as being an active volunteer for numerous clubs and organizations.
Benjamin Slade is a design leader and creative director with experience leading wide-ranging brand and digital strategy, identity and user experience, customer acquisition and engagement, as well as retail and environmental design initiatives for clients in the B2B, B2C, and nonprofit spaces. He currently serves as Partner and Creative Director at what.it.is, which he co-founded in 2010. During his time in Austin Ben has stayed involved in the community as a member of MASS Gallery — a collective in East Austin — as well as working with the Waller Creek Conservancy to incubate and brand their annual picnic. Prior to his agency work, Ben oversaw marketing, membership and digital communications for Arthouse at the Jones Center (now The Contemporary Austin).
Suzanne Tappe is the CFO at Observint Technologies. She is a native Texan with 20+ years of experience managing accounting, admin and HR departments. She previously worked for American Innovations, a privately held company that saw tremendous growth, both organically and through acquisitions during her 20 years there. She loves helping organizations work through change and discover streamlined and efficient systems – to make the “work” part of work easier, leaving more time for the fun stuff. Suzanne earned her BA in Accounting from the University of Houston.
Leslie Wingo is a twenty-year advertising veteran, President and CEO of Sanders\Wingo, an agency pioneering behavioral science applications to create marketing strategies and brand solutions rooted in human connection and great storytelling. Known for her expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion as exemplified in her recent TEDx talk, Leslie is highly sought-after keynote speaker and prolific consultant dedicated to diverse solutions for forward-thinking organizations.