Renuka Sastri, a digital strategy professional, shares why cross-pollination makes for a good atmosphere to grow your business.

The Orlando innovation ecosystem is rich with high-caliber tech talent and boundary-pushing entrepreneurs. In an effort to foster a more connected community, the Orlando Tech Council presents “Profiles in Tech,” a new series highlighting the region’s top executives, innovators and movers and shakers whose ideas and companies are changing the world right from our own backyard.

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This week’s Orlando Profiles in Tech features Renuka Sastri, a digital strategy professional, co-chair of 100 Women Strong and chair-elect of the Orlando Tech Council’s Ecosystem Committee. Read more about why cross-pollination makes for a good atmosphere to grow your business and more.

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Have you experienced an “only in Orlando” moment? If so, what was it? 

Rockets, manatees, gators in golf courses, and outdoor dining in Winter Park in February are just a few that come to mind. I’ve lured more than one family member to the area by having them visit when the weather is perfect and the azaleas are blooming.  

What brought you to the Orlando region? What’s kept you here? 

My parents had the choice of moving to either Macon, GA or Daytona Beach for work and polled me and my siblings. The rest is history. I went to Stetson University, moved away for grad school, and moved back when we had our first child. This area has been a wonderful place to raise a family; the schools are good, the airports are well-connected, and best of all, we can hike in the woods without driving too far.  

What makes Orlando the right place for your business? How does being in Orlando contribute to your business success or personal growth?

Orlando sets the gold standard for customer experience design with our theme parks. But the universities, and gaming, defense, space and healthcare industries all make this a wonderful place to cross-pollinate ideas. Whether it’s technology work related, philanthropy, or the arts, when I want to explore something new, there’s a supportive network ready to help. It has the feel of a small and welcoming place, with plenty of opportunities to join in or launch something new.

What makes the Orlando tech ecosystem unique? 

Most people think of Orlando as a leisure and hospitality hub, which we certainly are, but we also have a much more diverse set of players. I’m enjoying how technologists across industry, nonprofits and government are coming together to make this a more resilient community. It’s an exciting time to be here.

What’s one thing you wish Orlando had? What will it take to make that a reality?

We need capital to help our growing culture of innovation scale and create a flywheel effect for the ecosystem. Related to that, I wish we had an easy way to showcase everything we have – the diversity of industries, the talent, the startups, the opportunities. The Orlando Tech Council and others are engaged in this work, and I look forward to seeing what we produce.

If you had to describe to an out-of-town friend what it’s like to live, work, learn and play in Orlando, what would you say?

You’ll come for the weather and stay for the full life you can live here.

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The Orlando Tech Council is composed of private industry, resource organizations and public partners that work to develop new programs with the core objectives: strengthen the Orlando region’s innovation resources, create new opportunities for companies to scale, and to amplify the region’s success stories, raising the global profile of Orlando as a leading community for entrepreneurship and innovation.

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