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Joanne Parker
Development manager

What brought you to Austin?
I moved here from Houston to attend the University of Texas.  At the time, Austin had less than 250,000 people! While the city grown has grown by leaps and bounds, I love the fact that much of Austin's character remains.

Who is a local entrepreneur you admire?
Karen Bantuveris, Founder and CEO of SignUp.com

Who inspired you? 
My hiring sales manager at Abbott Labs, Kathi Eckler. She inspired me to do my absolute best every day and helped me realize my potential by encouraging me to believe in what was possible. She also taught me the importance of celebrating success, having fun at work and not to take myself quite so seriously.

What is your favorite Austin business?
That's a tough one, so many! Bicycle Sport Shop, Torchy's Tacos, Embellish Nails, and the Pilates Movement Studio...I could go on but I'll stop here!

Why Junior Achievement? 
For me, it's about seeing the students realize what is possible for their futures.

What is a piece of financial advice you rely on or wish you had learned earlier?
Pay yourself first.

What is some advice you would give your high school self?
Take a gap year and go see the world before college.