Holly Custard

Holly Custard

Deputy Director, Partnerships and Outreach

Strada Institute for the Future of Work

Austin, TX USA

Learn new things and expose yourself to diverse ideas and practices, then find ways to infuse these into your work and life. It is what makes you, you!


My road in life has taken me all over.
First College I picked wasn't a good cultural fit for me. Left after Freshman year.
Every summer during my undergrad degree, I worked to save money and then traveled internationally on the cheap.
I intended to join the Peace Corps after graduation, but decided to get married and move to a new state instead.
I chose to work for institutions that I believed in and that had a strong mission and vision. I developed skills to do each job along the way, while acquiring additional degrees that interested me.
I found the good in each job I took but pivoted when a new learning, or problem-solving opportunity came about. This kept me learning and growing.
I had two children while working and going to school full time. It was very difficult, but my husband and I shared the load, prioritized our family's needs and I eventually graduated with my Ph.D.
I took a dream job that I thought was a good fit, but it was not. It was very difficult to leave without a net, go into the unknown. The financial & mental challenge was hard / good for me in the end.
I joined meet-ups, took online classes, and constantly work to expand my perspective and learn new ideas and skills to tackle the work and life challenges that come my way.
Keep following my journey


Deputy Director, Partnerships and Outreach

I learn, share insights, and develop relationships that drive innovation between learning and working.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Problem Solving

Day to Day

I study, learn, and communicate a vast amount of practices, ideas / theories, and academic research related to learning and work. I work collaboratively, and closely, with my remote team using a variety of video, chat, and doc-sharing tools. I build relationships and communicate frequently with internal and external stakeholders. I produce creative content, share ideas, and support the broad goals and objectives identified by me and my team.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

First, decide what problem you want to help solve in this world. Then, research organizations of all kinds, across multiple industries (non-profit, for-profit, start-ups) that align with your core values and that have a mission and vision that you can put yourself into 100%. Assess your strengths and learn how to communicate them effectively. Learn new things and expose yourself to diverse ideas and practices, then find ways to infuse these into your work and life. It is what makes you, you!

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"There aren't any jobs, or money that you can get with an International Relations degree."

Challenges I Overcame

Balancing Multiple Responsibilities