Staff and Volunteer Spotlight

Staff and Volunteer Spotlight

Amanda Espinoza: Staff Accountant

What is your role and what do you do at Shalom Austin?
As a staff accountant, I perform several duties like processing payments and collections, but my main focus is making sure all incoming transactions are coded correctly. I help make sure our members' dollars go to the right place.

What is your background and what brought you to Shalom Austin?
I had never heard of Shalom Austin before finding the job posting online. Once I learned about their mission and what I would be doing, I jumped at the chance to be a part of this organization.

What do you feel has been your most rewarding experience so far?
Working with Jewish Family Service. Even though it is very much a behind the scenes type of role, I am helping individuals and families in need by providing accounting support to this branch of Shalom Austin.

What is your favorite part about working here?
My co-workers! I love working with such a fun group of people.

Describe any exciting programs or projects in the works?
I am so excited to be part of Shalom Austin’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee. We are in the beginning stages of creating new events and programs centered on the inclusion of our LGBTQ+ Jewish community members and I am really looking forward to making Shalom Austin a safe and welcoming place for all.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin?
Come hang out with us at our next event and experience firsthand what we’re about.

Jeff Miller: Shalom Austin Volunteer

What is your role at Shalom Austin?
I am chair of the Austin Jewish Repertory Theater Steering Committee.

What made you decide to become a Shalom Austin volunteer?
I first volunteered with the Cultural Arts department at the Shalom Austin JCC in 2001. I then started my company, Acorn Designs, in 2004 as a way of providing affordable sound design and equipment to arts nonprofits. I had been heavily involved at the JCCs in Rochester and Orlando when I lived in those areas, so it was a natural fit to offer my company’s services to the JCC here in Austin. I met Adam Roberts in 2006 when he was directing the summer youth musical here, with what was then Theater at the J. Through the years he and I forged both a professional relationship and a friendship. I then became chair of AJRT’s first committee in 2015.

Why is volunteering important to you?
Nonprofit arts organizations often aren’t able to attain the certain quality of sound design that they’d like, because equipment and design fees are often very expensive. I wanted to give back to the arts community by providing those services at prices local performance groups could afford. Once I was looped into Shalom Austin and the performing arts happening here, Adam asked me to be the committee chair of AJRT when it was established. I agreed to serve as chair because I wanted to apply the industry knowledge I had gained as a Broadway sound engineer to support the development of AJRT.

What is your background?
I have degrees in computer science and electrical engineering, and I work as a software engineer when I’m not designing sound through Acorn for events and productions around central Texas. My wife Andrea and I live in Austin with our daughter Téa. Our daughter Alyx also lives in Austin.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin?
Shalom Austin has lots of opportunities for volunteering, so there’s something for everyone. I’ve volunteered in lots of different areas, and I’d especially encourage people to consider getting involved in one of the arts offerings at the J. ■

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