“Mentors help you refine your leadership skills, and teach you hidden chapters of career playbooks many don’t have access to” says Janice Omadeke, the impressive founder of The Mentor Method

The Forrest Files: November 17, 2020

Janice Omadeke is the CEO and Founder of The Mentor Method, an enterprise platform helping companies keep and develop their diverse talent using the proven power of mentorship. Using a double-blind algorithm, The Mentor Method is closing the opportunity equity gap in the workplace.

Omadeke is a 2020 Austin Under 40 nominee and winner of DivInc’s Champion of Change Diversity Champion of the Year for the city of Austin. …


“We are building a community where creative people can learn and thrive,” says Doreen Lorenzo of her mission as Assistant Dean at the new UT School of Design and Creative Technologies

The Forrest Files: October 29, 2020

Doreen Lorenzo is a successful leader of global creative firms and has advised Fortune 100 companies on design and innovation issues for decades. In August 2017, she was named Assistant Dean of the newly founded School of Design and Creative Technologies, a collaboration between the Department of Design and Center for Arts and Entertainment Technologies.

Previously, Lorenzo served as Director of the Center for Integrated Design at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a co-founder of mobile video insights firm Vidlet, as well as a board member and advisor of several other startups, and a columnist for Fast…


Texas Competes Managing Director Jessica Shortall says we could see a bipartisan nondiscrimination bill next year if the state legislature flips to blue in the November election

The Forrest Files: October 27, 2020

Jessica Shortall is an advocate, author, and speaker, focusing on the economic and human case for people being able to bring their whole selves to work and their communities.

She runs Texas Competes, a coalition of more than 1,450 Texas employers making the economic case for Texas to be welcoming to LGBTQ people, and America Competes, a national coalition in the same vein.

Shortall keynoted at SXSW 2017 on the story of Texas Competes, the Texas bathroom bill, and building unexpected bridges in a divided time.

Her 2015 book, Work. Pump. Repeat., is a survival guide for breastfeeding and going…


According to co-founder Danielle Barnes (center with microphone): “The beauty of Austin Design Week is not just what happens during the week but the conversation and connections that continue afterward.”

The Forrest Files: October 23, 2020

Danielle Barnes is the CEO of Women Talk Design, where she works with hundreds of speakers and event organizers to get a more diverse group of speakers on stage and to inspire more women and nonbinary folks to raise their hands to speak.

She also co-founded and co-organizes Austin Design Week, a week-long event celebrating the design community in Austin through free community-hosted talks, workshops, and events. This year’s edition of Austin Design Week runs November 9–13.

Previously, Barnes worked at the education company General Assembly where she founded and led the Austin campus, launched the San Francisco campus, and…


“Don’t wait until Election Day to vote,” advises Congressman Lloyd Doggett, “but continue to encourage those you know who have not yet voted to vote some way, somewhere right up until 7 p.m. on November 3.”

The Forrest Files: October 20, 2020

U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett represents communities from San Antonio to Austin. He serves as Chairman of the Heath Subcommittee on the House Ways & Means Committee, the oldest committee of the US Congress. Doggett is also a member of the Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee, the Joint Committee on Taxation, and the House Budget Committee.

Since he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994, Doggett has served as a strong defender of Social Security, Medicare, health care, immigration reform, the environment, our veterans, small business and entrepreneurs, and public education. …


Sharron Rush of Knowbility says that the current scope of DEI thinking is much too limited: “Most diversity and inclusion initiatives have not extended the concept to include people with disabilities.”

The Forrest Files: October 13, 2020

Sharron Rush is the award-winning co-founder and Executive Director of the Austin-based nonprofit advocacy, consulting, and training company Knowbility.

Since 1998, Sharron has been a leader in raising awareness and skills around the issue of access to technology for people with disabilities. Her work at Knowbility includes policy review, performance analysis, technical consultation, and training development for private and public companies, government agencies, and schools.

Her technical expertise, understanding of the barriers faced by people with disabilities, and strong communication and training skills have contributed to her leadership position in the field.

Rush has served as an Invited Expert at…


The Editorial Director of Carnegie Mellon University’s ETC Press, Brad King has written and edited several books covering a variety of topics including “Dear America: Reflections on Race.”

The Forrest Files: October 8, 2020

Since 2017, Brad King has worked as the Editorial Director of Carnegie Mellon University’s ETC Press, an open access publishing press that specializes in trade and peer-reviewed books, academic journals, conference proceedings, and editorial content for the general public. He earned his Masters in Journalism from the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he won the Wired magazine excellence in technology journalism award. He then went on to become a reporter, editor, multimedia storyteller, and senior producer for Wired magazine, Wired.com, and MIT’s Technology Review. He has co-authored three books (“Dungeon & Dreamers,” “Frankenstein’s Legacy,” and…


The founder of the Austin-based startup Tankee, Gerald Youngblood helps to create a safer user experience for gaming-related videos for his son J and millions of other younger viewers.

The Forrest Files: October 6, 2020

Gerald Youngblood is the Founder of Tankee, Inc., an award-winning media company dedicated to the future of family-friendly digital entertainment.

He is also the Head of Brand, Consumer & Creative Services for NSF International, an organization dedicated to protecting and improving global health since 1944. Additionally, Youngblood is a Mentor-in-Residence at the University of Texas at Austin Longhorn Startup Lab.

Most importantly, he is a proud husband and father who games with his son purely for research purposes.

Asked to list his favorite things about Austin, Youngblood replies: “This is the city where I looked into the eyes of my…


“Austin is Silicon Valley’s cooler, younger sibling that is on the rise” says Sputnik ATX Managing Partner and CEO Dr. Oksana Malysheva. “I predict investors will lend more of their attention to startups launching here.”

The Forrest Files: October 1, 2020

Dr. Oksana Malysheva is an Austin-based investor, entrepreneur and business executive. She is the Managing Partner and CEO of Sputnik ATX, an accelerator that funds and mentors early-stage startup companies. She is also the Managing Partner and President of Linden Venture Fund.

She was born and raised in Ukraine and the Soviet Union. On an academic scholarship, Malysheva moved to the United States with her husband and only $100 to their name. She earned her PhD in physics from the University of Pennsylvania, and soon after, pivoted her focus to business and marketing.

Asked about her favorite reads, Malysheva replies…


Phyllis Snodgrass of Austin Habitat for Humanity says this non-profit was “founded on the vision of a world where we share one humanity, and that’s a world that we believe in and fight for every day.”

The Forrest Files: September 29, 2020

Phyllis Snodgrass has been a leader in community engagement for almost two decades. During her 17 year Chamber of Commerce Career, she served as President/CEO of three local chambers before going on to become the VP of Chamber Relations for the Texas Association of Business.

Snodgrass then spent four years as the COO of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce before coming into her current role as CEO of Austin Habitat for Humanity, where she works to maximize AHFH’s impact on the most critical issue in the community today — affordability.

She was the recipient of the Executive Leadership Award…

Hugh Forrest

Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store