Austin | Dallas | Houston
The Influentials


Texas has long been a place that attracts people who want to make a difference. It doesn’t matter who your parents are or how little money you have, if you possess a great idea and want to achieve great things, the Lone Star state welcomes you with no questions asked.

In this editorial series, CultureMap highlights those individuals who impact Austin in a big way. These leaders help shape our city with new — and often bold — ideas. Some are powerful household names; others fly under the radar and work tirelessly behind the scenes without recognition.

With the sheer force of persuasion and determination, the Austin Influentials are molding the economy, enhancing the culture and creating a blueprint for the 21st century — making our hometown a better place to live.


Alamo Drafthouse founder discusses revolutionizing entertainment and making people happy

By Ryan Lakich

Jul 30th, 2013 at 4:38 PM

In 1997, the first Alamo Drafthouse opened in downtown Austin on Colorado Street, and Founder and CEO Tim League has been revolutionizing entertainment — in Austin and beyond — ever since. A ...


Austin's healthcare visionary on tenacity and the importance of balance

By Arden Ward

Jul 10th, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Healthcare visionary Gail Page understands the importance of the convergence in the health and technology sectors — in Austin and beyond. Fueled by a passion for emerging technologies, Page’s career ...


The globetrotting powerhouse at the helm of Ballet Austin

By Caitlin M. Ryan

May 29th, 2013 at 3:15 PM

"My love for this city comes as a result of a wide-range of comparative data," says Cookie Ruiz, executive director of Ballet Austin, of having lived in 17 cities around ...


Austin's jewelry artist, the classically trained creator of award-winning work

By Arden Ward

May 13th, 2013 at 3:01 PM

Sir Zoltan David’s career is a storied one, decorated with a host of accolades as unique as the handcrafted jewelry he creates. A classically trained goldsmith and diamond setter ...


The modernist architect shaping Austin's design aesthetic

By Arden Ward

Apr 22nd, 2013 at 4:00 PM

One can imagine that Dick Clark was born hammer in hand. A lover of architecture since his earliest days, Clark’s work has been an integral part of the Austin ...


Financial wizard connects Texas Wall Street Women with tomorrow's female leaders

By Caitlin M. Ryan

Apr 8th, 2013 at 5:03 PM

"It's amazing to put a group of these women in a room where they can talk to other women who also love the finance business," Christine Breck explains of ...


The decorated innovator humbly leading businesses, students and those in recovery

By Caitlin M. Ryan

Mar 25th, 2013 at 8:23 PM

Steve Hicks is a man who has not only made great strides to improve the industries in which he's worked, but also taken great care to better himself and ...


The skilled strategist and devoted lobbyist consulting the powerful and political

By Arden Ward

Mar 11th, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Native Austinite Andrea McWilliams has been a political force in Texas since she became a Chief of Staff at the tender age of 21. The founder of McWilliams Governmental Affairs ...


The public relations mastermind with a passion for Austin's philanthropic initiatives

By Arden Ward

Feb 26th, 2013 at 12:39 PM

As the founder and CEO of Austin-based public relations firm Dynabrand, Carla McDonald has developed PR strategies and programs for the likes of British Airways and W Hotels. But McDonald ...


Leading courageous and authentic global education for today's changing world

By Caitlin M. Ryan

Feb 11th, 2013 at 2:00 PM

"We're supposed to be preparing these kids for their lives, not some slightly different version of our own. . .So how do you prepare children for a world that you ...


The self-proclaimed troublemaker paving the way to a thoughtful urban future

By Caitlin M. Ryan

Jan 14th, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Editor’s note: CultureMap is proud to introduce a new series called The Influentials, in which we profile the people who help to shape the City of Austin.  Melba Whatley ...

Page 1