Amber Wakem, Founder and Executive Director

Founder, Amber Wakem, doesn't have a claim to fame. You won't find her name on the big screen, featured in books, or known around the world---yet. She is simply a woman who set out to change the way we look at education. 

After her bubbly daughter shut down in kindergarten and was later identified as being dyslexic, once teacher shifted her views on how to best support her daughter after she watched her started a business at the age of eight. Quitting her job to start a non-profit, Amber sees entrepreneurship as a way to not only empower students with learning differences, but equip an otherwise unprepared generation with the crucial life skills they will need to succeed beyond the classroom. 


Kelly Bethke, COO

Kelly has an MBA in Sustainable Systems with a focus on organizational leadership and social impact finance. A passion for healthy people, planet, and profit is the driving force behind the work she does. As a mother and nature enthusiast, Kelly works to create healthy, balanced enterprises which will support a prosperous future. Collaborating with StartUp Kids engages her love of local community and the unique energy that comes from entrepreneurship.



Shawn and Victoria Waite, Lake Travis Community Library Teachers

For more than a decade, Shawn has managed internal operations and financial initiatives for businesses; working to maintain a strong operational foundation during times of growth.  Shawn ensures every daily financial and operational item is handled efficiently and effectively.  The roster of companies he currently works with includes PypestreamBeneville StudiosRealConnex, and The Wright Fit, as well as other businesses and individuals.  

Victoria commits her full-time energy to raising her family, while also participating in Shawn's business endeavours.  With any additional time she is able to carve out, Victoria devotes energy to her passion for art, which she has sold across the country.  Her work can be viewed on Instagram.

Shawn and Victoria have been residents of Lakeway, Texas since moving from New York City in 2014.  Along with their twin daughters, Preslee and Kaylee, they love the community atmosphere of Lakeway, and all that Austin has to offer for young families.


Kylie Bradford, Austin Discovery School Teacher

Kylie Bradford graduated from Texas State with a degree in business. Since graduating she’s worked at the Austin Discovery School for a combined year. During that time she has led a young entrepreneur’s club that proved full of creativity. She’s excited to join the Startup Kids Club team and see what possibilities are to come!