Welcome Aboard

Our newly appointed Board Chair remembers walking around as a five-year-old with a paint scraper, tasked with scraping gum off the bottom of the tables. Does this sound familiar? That’s right, Mason Ayer, CEO of Kerbey Lane Café, has been appointed Board Chair of the United Way for Greater Austin Board of Directors. Mason can trace many of his early childhood memories to the Kerbey Lane Cafe’s original location in Central Austin. As the son of Kerbey Lane Cafe’s founders, David Ayer and Patricia Atkinson, he was literally born into the business.

“I’m honored to Chair the Board for such a critical and backbone organization that serves the city I love and the place I’ve called home for most of my life. It’s an exciting time for Austin and United Way is growing to meet the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. I can’t think of any more important way to spend my volunteer time.” 

-Mason Ayer

United Way is also honored to announce Jennifer Poppe as the new Board Secretary. Poppe, a partner at Vinson and Elkins, has been a United Way Board member for the last four years.

“Vinson and Elkins have been a long-standing supporter of United Way since well before I joined the firm over 20 years ago. I’m proud to continue this tradition of giving back to the community through one of the most impactful organizations in Austin. Good things are happening through United Way, I’m excited to be a part of the Board leadership that will see it through.”  

– Jennifer Poppe

In addition to the board leadership changes, the United Way Board is also welcoming two new members, Laura Gottesman and Jeff Vernor.

Laura Gottesman, Broker and Owner of Gottesman Residential Real Estate and Jeff Vernor, Head of Risk Management or Dimensional Fund Advisors recently joined the United Way board and will provide leadership and set policies for United Way for Greater Austin.

“UWATX has one of the strongest boards in Austin. We are thrilled to welcome Laura Gottesman and Jeff Vernor as we continue growing an engaged and active Board with a true heart for our mission to fight poverty and make Austin a better place for all,” 

– David C. Smith

Jeffrey Vernor is the Head of Risk Management for Dimensional Fund Advisors LP. Dimensional is a global investment manager dedicated to implementing the great ideas in finance. Vernor is responsible for executing the risk management framework and supporting the appropriate risk culture throughout operations.

“I have personally witnessed the tremendous good United Way and their supported agencies have done and continue to do in each community I have lived in over the last twenty years. I want to thank current and former board members, staff, and volunteers for positioning UWATX so well to meet the pressing needs of our community. I look forward to working with David and his team and my board colleagues in the coming years.”

-Jeffrey Vernor

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