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Tracey Nelson: From NY to TX and Impact Austin

Meet New Board Member Tracey Nelson

In 1999, Tracey Nelson and her husband sat down in their Chappaqua, NY home - with a map and a bottle of wine - to rethink their lives. With two high-powered jobs (hers in brand marketing and licensing, his in corporate finance) and big, time-consuming commutes into New York City, they realized, “this is no way to raise a family.” So they made a list of what was important to them, sent away for information from chambers of commerce, and chose Austin as their new home.

Fast forward to 2017. After years of working remotely for East and West Coast companies, then running an Austin-based strategy marketing consulting company, Tracey was looking for what the next phase of her life should look like. By that time, her son and daughter had graduated from college and were working. Her husband was planning to retire. So she met with an executive coach to help her come up with a new plan. At the end of an hour, he said, “You should do this. You don’t need me.” The light bulb clicked on! Tracey completed training and earned certification as an executive coach, working with her own clients and as part of the team at Momentum Consulting. “I love it. I get to work with amazing people and help them - and their teams - achieve their goals,” she says. Recently, Tracey and her husband downsized and moved downtown, enjoying life as empty nesters.

How did you first connect with Impact Austin?

I had heard of Impact Austin for a long time but I didn’t want to join until I could really join. In 2018 I met [Impact Austin Board President] Susan Palombo on a women’s adventure trip run by my workout group. We were hiking up a mountain in Whistler when she talked to me about joining Impact Austin. My first brush with Impact Austin was at Discovery Day in 2019, and I was so blown away by the passion I felt, thinking, “I’ve got to be a part of this.”

Lauren Paver and Susan discussed joining the Board with me when I first became a member, but I wasn’t ready yet. I wanted to learn how everything worked. So I joined the Advancement Committee and the Catalyst Grant Review Committee (GRC) and I loved the whole grant review process. After that, I was thrilled to join the Board and am now also co-chairing the Advancement Committee with Lauren.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time on the Board?

I am excited about a new leadership program we are developing for young women, to encourage them on their philanthropic journeys. We are exploring ways to tie in corporate sponsors with the program. For example, a corporate sponsorship could include the opportunity for one or more rising young women go through a leadership program that includes exposure to Impact Austin and nonprofit partner leaders and the completion of a capstone project. We are hoping to launch the program next fall.

What have been the best parts of your Impact Austin experience?

The members are amazing. They are from such diverse backgrounds and there is so much passion. I am super excited about the DEI initiative and especially the new Social Innovation Grant. We’ve identified an important issue and look at what’s happened! I am thrilled by this [new grant]. It’s incredibly empowering to see what we can accomplish by giving and working together.


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