Executive Director of Creative Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fellow of Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Centennial Professorship in Fine Arts
Professor of Practice
Jan Ryan joins the College of Fine Arts with 28 years of experience as a serial entrepreneur, digital thought leader working with public brands and an early champion of women entrepreneurs, both in Silicon Valley and Austin. With a passion for the intersection of human-centered design and entrepreneurship, she brings vast industry knowledge in building companies from seed to expansion stage, resulting in four successful acquisitions and one IPO.
In 2009 Ryan co-founded Social Dynamx, the industry’s first digital, social support platform to improve customer experiences in large brands. Acquired by Lithium Technologies in 2012, the platform is deployed by dozens of Fortune 500 companies today. Prior to Social Dynamx she was CEO of predictive analytics start-up Sigma Dynamics in Silicon Valley (acquired by Oracle in 2006), and was Founding SVP Sales for Vignette Corporation, which IPO’d in 1999. The first half of Ryan's career was spent building industry-recognized sales and marketing teams in enterprise software companies.
Jan was one of the earliest champions of women entrepreneurs in Austin. She founded the fast-growing Women@Austin network in late 2013, a mission-driven community with one raison d’être: to advance female entrepreneurs and empower them with a killer advantage—permission to break the old rules, to connect and innovate. With a focus on mentoring, connections and access to capital, the network has grown today to more than 700 women, with a Board composed of Austin’s most experienced female leaders and entrepreneurs.
Ryan is currently a strategic advisor and angel investor to some of Austin’s most innovative young companies and serves as strategy consultant to private equity companies such as Warbug Pincus. She is a partner at Capital Factory, an Austin-based tech accelerator and mentoring program for startups, as well as TechStars, an international accelerator where she frequently shares her founders story and funding advice.
Ryan earned a BBA degree from Baylor University, and she is an active keynote speaker and moderator at tech industry conferences in Texas and Silicon Valley, as well as for women’s causes and entrepreneurial events.