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Austin, My International City

by Brenda Hall

When I moved to Austin in January of 1985, I was working for IBM.  I took for granted that everyone working in large corporations was focused on the world, how to work across countries and cultures, and traveling to collaborate with international team members. I was fortunate indeed to have traveled to London, Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and many other international cities.

When I arrived in Austin, I’d already lived in cities from New York to Boulder, to Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale to name a few. Austin immediately made me feel welcome and at home.  An initial surprise was how much Austin wasn’t on an international roadmap. There were either major corporations like IBM, 3M, Texas Instruments, or there were startup companies like Dell, Austin Ventures and Whole Foods. There didn’t seem to be a city-wide focus on building and branding Austin as an international player. I don’t believe our university system had yet branched out with a focus on global commercialization, and Austin Community College didn’t have a program focused on building a work force with global knowledge and skills. As a matter of fact, that didn’t happen until January 2000 when a few of us were corralled together for a few days to create the framework ACC would then fill in with courseware. Continue reading