Ashley Jennings is an award-winning entrepreneur and skilled operator with 10+ years of experience in project management, investor relations, portfolio operations, media, fundraising, sales, event management, community engagement, strategic partnerships, and curriculum creation.
She currently sits on the new venture and technology commercialization team at The University of Texas at Austin, where she manages day-to-day operations and supports strategic goals of the Texas Innovation Center, helping researchers navigate their commercialization journey; taking their discoveries from the lab and classroom into the market.
At the Texas Innovation Center Ashley serves a portfolio of 30+ startup companies founded by UT Austin faculty and students, 50% of which are ran by women and 25% are ran by historically underrepresented groups, spanning across 10 industries (including Alternative Energy, Advanced Materials, CPG, Data/AI, Agribusiness, Healthcare, Robotics, SaaS, and Sensor Tech).
Prior to this role, Ashley was part of the McCombsSchool of Business team, driving innovative programming for students across the Forty Acres, and cultivating a network of college stakeholders in the startup and VC space.
A diversity in tech thought leader, Ashley helped co-found and served as Chief Marketing Officer for Texas’ first tech accelerator for women and ethnically diverse tech founders, aimed at increasing diversity in the tech industry. To date, 63 companies and 85 founders have gone through the DivInc program, raising a combined $14M. Over 225 jobs have been created, generating more than $3.2M in revenue.
She also co-owned a video production agency as Executive Producer, championing content for clients of all sizes, from local startups to Fortune 100 companies.
Through her work in the startup ecosystem, Ashley’s been deemed a top “connector of people and organizations in Austin,” focused on real change around systematic problems for women in the workforce and gender inequality.
She started her career in New York, where she helped launch Al Jazeera Media Network’s American channel, Al Jazeera America, and was part of the ABC News field team who traveled the country covering breaking news, weather and politics.
Her time with ABC News earned her five Emmy nominations along with a Peabody Award and two Edward R. Murrow Awards.
Ashley’s greatest joy is helping unlock potential in entrepreneurial ecosystems, with a focus on serving historically underserved and underrepresented communities.