FLEMING’S prime steakhouse
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15, 2020
6:30 PM – 10:00 PM
tickets are $125 and include a multi-course dinner and cocktails.
Matt Swinney is the founder of Fashion By Texas, the parent company of Austin Fashion Week, Fashion By Houston and Fashion By Dallas. Matt has helped build the overall Texas fashion industry by providing direct-to-consumer access for emerging and established fashion designers and lifestyle brands throughout the state. Matt is a frequent contributor for the City of Austin, having been an international delegate to Mexico, Pakistan, Egypt and Australia, bringing each of those country’s fashion aesthetic back to the US in various ways.
Matt is a native Austinite and continues to call Austin home with his wife Kara and their kids Sadie and Cashion.
An Austin native, restaurateur Chef Shawn Cirkiel is distinguished by both his organic path to success and the sustained growth of his businesses. The core of Parkside Projects is built around Cirkiel’s dedication to Austin, his team, and his uncompromising quality of service and product. The success of Cirkiel’s ventures hold similar narratives of finding customer loyalty in unlikely locations, rather than a series of lucky moves or marketing gimmicks. His intuition and experience are what have ultimately led to his success. Cirkiel’s kitchen philosophy as a cook, first and foremost, is to be willing to adapt and try new systems — or, as the chef says, always get better. Cirkiel consistently seeks out new systems, talent, methods and opportunities. This is one of the elements that enables Parkside Projects to flourish.
Parkside, Chef Cirkiel’s first restaurant, pays homage to the housing project in the Bronx, New York where his father grew up. Parkside opened its doors on historic Sixth Street in 2008. At the time, the area was a decidedly non-culinary destination. The farm-to-table concept at Parkside began long before the idea was a hashtag for influencers around the globe. Every night since, Parkside is full of out-of-towners, from the growing number of hotels in the area, but also by a mix of downtown locals and Austin’s destination diners. Parkside opened a second location at Austin – Bergstrom International Airport in Fall 2019, anchoring the new terminal and Delta Sky Lounge.
Two years after launching the Parkside concept, Chef Cirkiel opened the Backspace, Austin’s first true Neapolitan pizzeria, directly behind Parkside. The better part of a decade later, Sixth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard continue to be the cornerstone of the downtown dining scene. The Backspace will open its second location in North Austin in Spring 2020.
In 2012 a beautiful three-story building surrounded by a 200-year-old oak tree became available in the Bryker Woods neighborhood in Central Austin. In just a few months, Chef Cirkiel transformed the space into an authentic Italian eatery, Olive & June, named for his and his wife’s grandmothers. The restaurant features the most dynamic Italian wine and Amari lists in Austin. Olive & June holds one of only eleven spots on Wine Spectator’s “Wine Stars” list for the entire state of Texas. The restaurant prepares a dozen different pastas in-house daily and is now an established neighborhood favorite. Olive & June celebrates its seventh anniversary in 2019.
Two event spaces were added to Parkside Projects in recent years, 800 Congress in the heart of downtown and 7Co in Austin’s east side arts district. Both spaces host a multitude of events throughout the year for both local and international clients.
Cirkiel’s grab-n-go concept, Jugo opened downtown in 2017. A fresh, clean take on a juice bar with wholesome, chef curated grab-and-go food. The downtown juice shop has already won an AIA award for design.
A Ranch Style Tex-Mex restaurant, ¡Vamonos! is Cirkiel’s newest concept, which opened April 2019. Perfectly placed in the booming Mueller/Hyde Park neighborhood, the authentic menu includes Parkside Projects’ fresh food philosophy and explores the Tex-Mex cuisine, traditions and shared culture along the Rio Grande. The menu offers local meats grilled over Texas Oak and celebrates their traditional and frozen margaritas while boasting its southern hospitality and stellar service.
Saurabh Khetrapal is a philanthropist at his core. His passion for wildlife conservation and social impact motivated him to create Fair Trade Safaris – the only luxury travel company that donates 100% of its profits to a variety of fully vetted wildlife protection, community development, and poverty alleviation projects around the world. The company, which is more of a labor of love than a business, is the culmination of Saurabh Khetrapal’s life’s work.
Raised in Tanzania and Kenya, Saurabh developed a keen appreciation for Africa and African cultures & societies, and learned to thrive as a multicultural individual. He spent his early childhood and adolescence in East Africa, and moved to the United States in 1990 for his university education. After getting a degree in Computer Science & Mathematics, Saurabh founded his first enterprise software company in 1995. Given his business acumen, appetite for challenges, and driven personality, Saurabh has since become a highly successful serial entrepreneur (as the founder of three technology start-ups, plus several other initiatives) as well as an active venture capitalist & private equity investor. But above all, Saurabh is a passionate wildlife conservationist and a prolific philanthropist.
Alejandro Ruelas is a respected figure in the marketing and advertising industry. He’s co-founder at THIRD EAR, an ad agency that has been recognized globally with every major award in its category and is considered among the top creative agencies in the industry. He is also a founding partner in CapStream Group, a boutique investment bank of seasoned entrepreneurs who sell businesses and raise capital for fellow entrepreneurs.
Throughout his career, Alejandro has been active in business and educational endeavors. He currently serves on the Board of The Texas Tribune, the nation’s first non-profit, nonpartisan online news organization. He also previously served on the Board of Directors at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC; as an alternate on the Board of Directors of Grupo Modelo, Mexico’s beer industry leader; and as Board member for several other non-profit organizations.
A graduate of California State University, Los Angeles, Alejandro also holds an MBA from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis, where in 2010 he was honored with the Olin Distinguished Alumni Award.