Jan Ryan, director of Creative Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Fine Arts.

Jan Ryan is a well-known advocate for women in the Austin technology community.

She founded Women@Austin in 2013 after identifying a need for women to promote themselves and their companies in Austin.

In October, Ryan joined the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin in the new position of Director of Creative Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In that job, she plans to help students gain entrepreneurial skills and launch ventures of their own.

Ryan is an entrepreneur, former software technology executive, and an angel investor, strategic advisor and mentor to many startups in Austin. She is a partner at Capital Factory and Techstars.

Ryan co-founded Social Dynamx, which was acquired by Lithium Technologies in 2013. Before that, Ryan was CEO of Sigma Dynamics, which was acquired by Oracle. She was also senior vice president of sales for Austin-based Vignette Corp., which had an initial public offering in 1999.

In this episode of Ideas to Invoices, Ryan gives advice on the importance of sales and customer acquisition, knowing when to persevere and when to quit and the importance of promoting women to leadership positions and promoting female-led startups in the Austin tech industry.

Ryan is also a huge advocate of design thinking and the creative economy.

The creative economy is the fastest growing sector of the economy right now with creatives making up 11 percent of all workers, Ryan said.

“We talk so much about keep Austin weird, keep Austin weird, what we really mean is keep Austin creative,” Ryan said. “That’s what we are doing. We are seeing Austin emerge with many different new creative industries, but also innovation and creative ideas.”

With a topic like artificial intelligence, students at UT Austin in design are going to have to take courses in how to design AI because, in four or five years, everyone is going to be moving in that direction, Ryan said.

Austin can lead in AI and become the hub of that world, Ryan said.

“We are just building on this ecosystem and strengthening it to make Austin an even bigger player on the national stage,” Ryan said.

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