Leisa: Hello, I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson and welcome to another edition of Women Mean Business, where we’re going to take you up close and personal with extraordinary women doing extraordinary things. My guest today is Grace Rodriguez, Co-founder and Chief Experience Office for Station Houston. Grace, welcome to Women Mean Business.
Grace: Thank you so much. I’m happy to be here.
Leisa: Station Houston is an awesome set up down here, this co-working and collaborative space for startups and entrepreneurs here in Houston, and I bet a lot of people would love to be involved in co-founding it, but how did you get to this point in your career?
Grace: Well, honestly Leisa, it’s been a long and winding road. I get mistaken for a millennial all the time, but I’m actually in my mid-forties, but I’ve taken kind of that windy path. I Initially was pre-med. I wanted to be a cardiothoracic surgeon when I went to school, was doing cognitive neuroscience research, and then pivoted and transferred to Parsons for fashion design. From there I was doing marketing. I ended up doing marketing on Wall Street in New York, and I got burned out and decided, you know what, I’m going to move to a West coast. And so, I visited my parents in Houston and I ended up staying because I just love the city, I love the people here. I had a couple of friends who were DJs, who asked me to manage them, so I went to managing DJs, and then became an editor for a magazine that was called Rice Addict, those folks on the Asian American community. I got recruited to work for Gordon Quan when he was at city council. When he was term limited out office I started my own branding and PR consultancy, started working with oil and gas companies, energy companies, non-profit organizations, got on the boards of a few non-profits, and then ended up working at Mercury fund and started helping startups there.
Before Mercury I was actually working with Caroline Collective, another co-working space, so I got involved more in the creative community. And then from Mercury went to work with Culture Pilot; we were doing the TEDx Houston events; and then from TEDx Houston, actually was recruited to work for TED. And so, I worked for TED, around that time I turned forty, and decided where am I going to have my birthday party. A friend of mine was launching a bar, they were looking for investors, I invested in a bar, and then that was doing well enough that I didn’t have to do anything. And Blair Garrou from Mercury Fund reached out and said, you know what, we’re actually launching this idea. Because we had been noodling this around for a long time, Blair even more so than me. And he had introduced me to Emily Keaton, and Emily went on to her journey of a thousand coffees, and met with me, and met John Reale who became our CEO, and the idea just coalesced, and here I am and here we are. It’s just this really amazing journey, so for anybody who is interested in starting something like this, I recommend to try as many things as you find interests you, or you’re curious about, because all you can do is learn along the way. And that will prepare you for something as adaptive, as changing as this is.
Leisa: Thank you. That was awesome. Thanks so much. There you have it, another extraordinary woman doing extraordinary things. I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson, author and voice of Women Mean Business. You can find me on Twitter @lhnelson. We’ll be back again next week with another edition of Women Mean Business.
brought to you by