Austin Chamber’s Leigh Christie Discusses Austin A-List Awards and How the Pandemic is Affecting Entrepreneurs

A native of Austin, Leigh Christie has seen the city change from a sleepy college town to a high-tech boomtown.

Today, she serves as senior vice president of global technology and innovation at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

She’s also a lawyer who previously served as executive director of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas and served as director of Lemonade Day Austin, which is geared to getting youth involved in entrepreneurship.

In this episode of the Ideas to Invoices podcast, Christie talks about the 2020 A-List Austin Awards, which has broadened its scope this year to include more entrepreneurs than ever. The deadline for applying to the awards is Friday, August 28th.

The Chamber is looking for nominations from individuals and companies who create or develop innovative technologies, platforms, or business models that are changemakers.

The A-List event is normally held at Austin City Limits’ Moody Theater downtown, but this year’s event will take place virtually on October 7-8th. It’s called A-List: Up Close & Personal and its hosted by the Austin Chamber and SXSW. The event will feature a three-part series of virtual award announcements and speakers.

In the podcast, Christie also discusses how the Pandemic has affected entrepreneurship in Austin and how businesses are coping with the dramatic changes.Atlassian, which occupies a downtown office tower, told its 5,000 workers that they can work from home permanently. And Google, which also occupies a downtown office tower and is building another new high-rise, has told its workers they can work from home until the summer of 2021. Facebook, which also last year moved into its new skyscraper in downtown Austin, has also told its employees they can work from home until the summer of 2021. And Austin-based Indeed which has more than 2,000 employees in Austin, has told its employees to work from home as well.

All of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s 41 employees began working from home in mid-March and they don’t plan to return to the office until December at the earliest, Christie said.

In her role, Christie spent a lot of time traveling the globe representing Austin in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Israel, the United Kingdom, Egypt, and other countries, but all that came to a halt once the Covid-19 Pandemic struck. Still, Christie has managed to reach out to contacts globally and work together virtually. She has worked with entrepreneurs in Israel and Mexico virtually to help make connections in Austin. And because people aren’t commuting as much, some people have more time to spend on a Zoom or phone call than in the past, she said.

For more, listen to the entire podcast, pasted below, or wherever you get your podcasts – available on Google play store, Apple iTunes, Spotify, PlayerFM, Libsyn, and more.