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Karavel Shoes recognized for business leadership during pandemic

Anyone who has experienced foot problems knows how important it is to find shoes that are the right fit. And it isn’t always easy — sometimes you need the help of an expert to figure out what you need. I’ve been there myself. I grappled for almost a year with painful plantar fasciitis, and what finally solved my problem was finding supportive shoes I would actually wear because they were also cute. So I really enjoyed having the opportunity to interview Rick Ravel, president of one of Austin’s oldest independent shoe stores, Karavel Shoes. You can read my article here about how the company was able to reopen quickly while prioritizing the safety of staff members and customers during the current pandemic.

Interviewing community leaders: The Tocker family

Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to interview some of the families who shape Austin through philanthropy. Recently, I spoke with Barbara and Darryl Tocker, whose family provides assistance to literacy efforts and public libraries in Texas’ rural communities, the Texas Book Festival and other projects through the Tocker Foundation. Read my interview with them here.

Austinite assists Native American communities, hard hit by COVID-19, in New Mexico

Jennifer Failla kicks ass. Since 2015, she has served as a member of Texas Search and Rescue and has been deployed many times, including for the Wimberley floods and Hurricane Harvey. She also assisted at Austin area COVID-19 testing centers. Trained in ground, flood and swiftwater rescue, she is the Dive Team lead, a K9 handler, and is able to leave her house with her TEXSAR gear within six minutes of being activated. As a U.S. Navy veteran, interviewing and telling the stories of strong women who break stereotypes while doing great things is work that is close to my heart. Here is my most recent article about Failla, who assisted the Department of Emergency Management and Department of Homeland Security to get food and supplies to Native Americans in Pueblo communities and Navajo Nation.

On the front line of COVID-19: Telling the stories of those shaping this crisis

This month I had the opportunity to interview lots of truly inspiring people who are hard at work right now making a difference in the coronavirus crisis. So many people — from those checking out customers at the grocery store, to mail carriers, to techs, nurses and doctors taking care of patients — are putting their own lives at risk to keep life moving along for the rest of us. I talked about how life has changed over the past few months with local teachers, who switched from in-classroom to online teaching over one weekend, as well as Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers, the top epidemiologist at the University of Texas, and Rabbi Anna Beroll, a chaplain at a medical center. Hearing from them, especially at such a busy time, and sharing their perspectives was a huge honor, and I am glad I had the chance to do it.