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  • Impact Austin

Discover Day 2019 Panel Two: Using Data to Drive Grantmaking

Data is rapidly and fundamentally changing every aspect of our daily lives. This conversation with leading social innovators considers how data can be used to drive equity-focused grantmaking to achieve a greater positive impact in the lives of more people.

Moderator: Christina Gorczynski, Executive Director Impact Austin


Ellie Haggerty Coplin, MPH, Evaluation Officer, St. David's Foundation

Virginia Potter, Portfolio Director, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation

Susan Dawson, President and Executive Director, E3 Alliance


Panel Bios

Moderator: Christina Gorczynski 

Executive Director, Impact Austin

Christina Gorczynski joined Impact Austin as full-time Executive Director in August 2018. Christina holds a Women's Studies from Beloit College in Wisconsin, a JD/MBA from the University of Houston and a Nonprofit Finance Certificate from Rice University. Most recently, Christina served as a Program Officer at the Simmons Foundation. Previously, she was the Principal Consultant at First Person LLC, a Texas-based consulting firm specializing in advocacy and capacity building for nonprofits, private foundations and social enterprises. Christina started her career serving as the Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of the Houston Area. For her work empowering women and girls to seek equity through education, advocacy, and civic engagement, Christina was named an "Inspiring Latina" by Latina Magazine, and honored for youth and online engagement by the League of Women Voters of the United States. She received the Young Alumni Award from her alma mater Beloit College, and was selected for an Equal Justice Works public interest law fellowship.

Panelist: Virginia Potter

Virginia Potter joined the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation in 2008, leading projects in California, Colorado, Cape Town, South Africa, and finally Central Texas. In the Central Texas community, she manages efforts to improve children’s ability to engage and perform effectively at school, to increase access to quality healthcare services for children and their families, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of abused or neglected children, and to support organizations engaged in transforming the Central Texas community while helping children on a path to prosperity. Virginia is also a member of Good Measure, an association of philanthropic organizations working together with their grantees to creatively and strategically use data to make a bigger difference in the lives of more people. Prior to joining the Foundation in January 2008, Virginia was the Director of Product Marketing at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Earlier in her career, she was a Spanish teacher at Lanier High School in Austin, Texas and ran her own editing business. Virginia has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Linguistics from the University of Virginia and an MBA in Global Business from Saint Edward’s University.  

Panelist: Ellie Haggerty Coplin

Evaluation Officer, St. David’s Foundation

Ellie Haggerty Coplin is the Evaluation Officer at St. David’s Foundation.  In her role, Ellie evaluates and measures the overall impact of the Foundation’s funding strategies and philanthropic work. She also participates with Good Measure, an association of philanthropic organizations such as private foundations, corporate foundations, family foundations and similar grantmaking organizations.  Prior to joining the Foundation in 2013, Ellie served as the Program and Evaluation Manager at Cardea Services, managing a federal HIV prevention grant for Office of Minority Health and the evaluation of a federally funded multi-site teen pregnancy prevention program. Ellie began her career as a Bilingual Reproductive Health Specialist at Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. She has a master of public health from Columbia University and a BA in Anthropology and Spanish from Washington University in St. Louis.  

Panelist: Susan Dawson 

President and Executive Director, E3 Alliance 

Susan Dawson is a Texas entrepreneur, business and civic leader.  She founded and leads the E3 Alliance (Education Equals Economics), a regional collaborative to increase economic outcomes by aligning our education systems to fulfill the potential of every student. E3 Alliance has been recognized across the country for its ground-breaking work in systemic change for education. Susan led multiple successful technology firms and served as Chair of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. Her many awards include the Leadership Austin Polly Scallorn Award for Lifetime Achievement in Community Trusteeship, Austin Under 40 “Austinite of the Year”, Hero for Children by the State Board of Education, Austin Profiles in Power “Profile Leader”, Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” and the UT McCombs School “Trailblazer Award” for the distinguished woman alumni trailblazer in business and community. In 2011, the Austin Business Journal named Susan Dawson one of “Austin’s 30 Most Influential” leaders who have shaped Austin’s economy and culture in the last 30 years. She has a B.S. cum laudefrom Princeton University and an MBA with Highest Honors from UT Austin McCombs School of Business. In addition to her work with E3 Alliance, Susan is busy surviving Stage 3 breast cancer diagnosed in March of 2016. She has spent significant time understanding and working to improve the cancer research, prevention, and clinical care infrastructure in our region and our state. 


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