Q&A with New Board Chair, Thomas Miranda

Mission Capital staff and board are proud to welcome our newly elected Board Chair, Thomas Miranda, who will be leading board governance, strategy, financial oversight and community ambassadorship for Mission Capital over the next year.

Originally from San Antonio, Thomas brings a wealth of professional industry expertise, civic leadership, and important lived experience to Mission Capital. In his professional life, he is the Founder & CEO of Sparkovation Advisors, a growth and digital transformation firm that helps companies accelerate innovation, modernize IT, and develop growth strategy. He has championed corporate Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives for underrepresented communities within Fortune 100 tech firms, and believes in the powerful combination of social innovation and equity & inclusion to drive community change.

Thomas has lived in Austin for over 20 years. As a community leader, he is currently on the boards of The Texas Lyceum, Workforce Solutions Capital Area, and Mission Capital. He also serves as an active member of the Austin Area Research Organization (AARO). Thomas’ past board experience includes: Board Chair of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Board Chair of Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI). 

We sat down with Thomas to ask him about his experience in board leadership, trends in the social sector in Central Texas, and the role of Mission Capital to “equip and connect mission-driven leaders, organizations & networks as we advance equity & opportunity in Central Texas.

How long have you served on the Mission Capital Board and what keeps you engaged?

I have served on the Mission Capital Board since 2013 and have kept engaged primarily for two reasons:

1) I know that the critical and executive work Mission Capital does is helping to further advance the region’s social sector and human capital needs.

2) I take board service very seriously and honor the commitment that board members have entrusted to me, in being a responsible fiduciary with duty of care, loyalty and obedience.

What lived experiences inform your professional and civic leadership?

Growing up in San Antonio, I experienced economic and environmental adversity early on in life and remember looking for ways to achieve parity, balance or success through problem solving, innovation and creativity. My professional journey was informed from those experiences and, in turn, my civic leadership was rooted there, too, along with the inspirational leadership of former Mayor Henry Cisneros.

Are there any trends in the social sector that are shaping the way you will approach your role as Board Chair?

Absolutely! In my professional career, I have grown to learn of and rely on data to influence decision-making and will look to data as a leading indicator to assess gaps and community needs that need to be addressed.

Through Mission Capital’s backbone work with Good Measure, we are formulating goals to drive positive outcomes using data and other innovative tools to help Central Texas nonprofits, philanthropists, businesses, government agencies, funders, and activists in advancing equity and opportunity through their work. It is an honor to support mission-driven organizations across the public, private and government sectors, as they strive to meet the growing needs in our region and maximize community impact.

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for our social sector in Central Texas?

The biggest challenge in Central Texas is that many competing causes often result in scarce resources desperately needed to achieve larger systems change goals.

As a nonprofit itself, Mission Capital understands the operational and financial reality of what it takes to sustain important community services. But in its role as a nonprofit intermediary, providing nonprofit leadership training, collective impact backbone support and consulting on strategic planning and executive transitions, Mission Capital has a unique view of the larger social sector ecosystem. This bird’s eye view enables us to be a strategic and neutral connector and collaborator, identifying opportunities for cross-sector partners to work together to leverage resources.

As a capacity builder working with institutional funders and philanthropists, Mission Capital also serves as a bridge and trusted broker, planting seeds for potential community collaborations and alliances. A great example of this is the Travis County Care Collaborative (TCCC) work we’ve backboned for over 8 years which coalesces over 65 nonprofit organizations, working towards improving outcomes for foster care children and their families.

Mission Capital is also home to the Austin chapter of Social Venture Partners (SVP). SVP is a global network of engaged philanthropists and skills-based volunteers who dedicate their time, talent and treasure to help nonprofits build capacity. Social Venture Partners bring community commitment, entrepreneurial business savvy, valuable networks and 1:1 team leadership coaching to support nonprofit strength and sustainability.

As Austin continues to grow and prosper as a city and community, we recognize that disparities in income, health status, workforce and overall opportunity are also increasing. Mission Capital is humbly beginning the personal work of understanding these disparities and the racial and systemic inequity that has hindered opportunity for many in our region.

What have you learned from board service?

The depth of generosity and commitment of my fellow Mission Capital board members has been extraordinary – I have the utmost respect for people who give their time, talent and treasure for nothing in return. We live in an amazing city where so many give so much.

What advice would you give someone aspiring to join a nonprofit board?

Don’t take board service lightly, especially if a nominating committee is asking you to join their board. Be mindful of the level of commitment, time, duty and responsibility required of you over a long period of time, usually 3 to 6 years.

Ask to review finances and ask a lot of questions. Familiarize yourself with the organization before you say yes. Once you are in, take the time to learn, grow and ease into leading and championing committees, events and executive roles. Your leadership makes a difference!

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