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Sandra Hofmann on the Startup Scene

by Klaire Wesolowski

Sandra Hofmann is definitely one of Atlanta’s startup ecosystem’s most valuable assets. While this GA State grad soaks up her favorite aspects of the city (climate, culture, community, conservation, and cost), she invests her time mentoring one entrepreneurial program after another. From ATDC to TiE, Sandra has made is easier for all of ATL’s entrepreneurs and startups to thrive in the city, and the city has taken notice. The Georgia CIO Leadership Association selected Sandy as the Georgia CIO of the Year in the 2003 regional category and in October 2010 Sandy received the organization’s first Lifetime Achievement Award. Also, in 2013 she received Women In Technology’s Leadership Legacy Award.

Read more to learn why we’re so fortunate to have her paving the future of ATL’s startup scene.

sandy
What’s your current role?
I serve as chair of the Atlanta Regional Commissions Economic Competitiveness Implementation Strategy Innovative Subcommittee. The ARC developed a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the 10 county Metro Atlanta region. This strategy includes a vision of building on innovative attributes of the region to benefit the development of our entrepreneurial assets. As chair of the Innovative Subcommittee, my efforts are to engage talent from across the community to implement actions which will attract and nurture new startup enterprises, establish Metro Atlanta as a top 5 market for academic research, innovation and commercialization in the US, and to improve capital access and incentives for innovation at regional and state level.

I also serve on the Board of Directors for TiE Atlanta and co-chair their program Council of Board Advisors. The focus on mentoring is further extended by my role as mentor for Pathbuilder’s Achieva program.

What startup/tech projects have you worked on?
Too many companies and individuals to name! In my role as co-chair of TiE’s Council of Board Advisors, I have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of companies. Previously I served as CIO-in-Residence at ATDC and focused on mentoring startups and early stage companies.

What tech/tools are essential to you?
I am an Apple fan so the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook are my tech partners! Not a big tweeter, but all over Facebook and LinkedIn! I enjoy exploring technology to solve problems and also try to introduce change often so I don’t get lazy.

How do you stay connected with your network?
Atlanta is the most “networked” community I know of. You could spend all day every day attending events related to your needs! I try to keep my involvement narrowed to several key areas and I focus on my relationships across the community rather than trying to “work a net!” For example, engaging with the North Fulton United Way allows me to understand the needs of my immediate community; supporting TechBridge ensures that I can apply my time/talent/treasures to address the technology needs of the nonprofit sector; serving on the Georgia CIO Leadership Association Advisory Board provides the opportunity to stay involved with CIO executives.

How do you stay informed & on top of emerging trends?
In addition to the organizations that I participate with where I can gain insights and knowledge, I am a voracious reader. From the Atlanta Business Chronicle to various blogs to LinkedIn and even Facebook, there are so many ready sources of content that I’m only limited by time to pursue! There are also key individuals that I consider to be gatekeepers of information channels and I often seek them out to broaden my perspectives.

Why do you choose to hang your hat in Atlanta?
I am a native Southern and first came to Atlanta in the early 70’s. Although I’ve lived in California and Boston, I consider Atlanta my home and you couldn’t pry me loose for anywhere else. Climate, culture, community, conservation, and cost – all areas where Atlanta scores positive points. Sure traffic is a problem, but walkable communities are gaining popularity and public transportation does seem to be gaining ground. No surprise that people who move here rarely move away by choice!

[Photo Credit]

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