In 1994, Lori Bravo was employed by the University of Texas at San Antonio as a computer programmer II. She had just received her diploma in English Literature when she stumbled across the internet and a new way to distribute information using it — the World Wide Web. After setting up a server and authoring the University’s first web page, the 300th site to be registered at CERN, she decided to break free of the fetters of a “real job,” and commune with the entrepreneurial spirit that enveloped technology.
By 1995, she had opened the first internet coffee shop in Texas and the 3rd one in the world. The Coffee Gallery was located near downtown San Antonio in St. Paul’s Square, across from the Alamo Dome. Simultaneously, she was the founder of a web and b2b internet services company called Tristero, Inc.
Tristero developed web sites for most of the major non profit organizations in San Antonio, including the San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio Botanical Gardens, and the Carver Community Culture Center, among many others. Tristero frequently partnered with a major advertising firm in the city and created the Methodist Healthcare System’s first site as well as a large site for San Antonio’s only major grocery chain, H-E-B.
Call it unfettered growth, or call it burn out if you want, but after four years running two businesses, Bravo decided to shut the doors on both businesses and get a “real job,” where someone else was responsible for accounting and human resources. She quickly located a company where she was welcomed as their first “Webmaster,” a job title that was still not mainstream at the time.
Lori Bravo worked at Newtek for a total of 12 mostly happy years in various capacities. Newtek is the company that created the Video Toaster and the 3D software that is used in many of Hollywood’s feature films. At times, it was as if founder Tim Jenison had created Newtek just for Lori. As the company grew out of its offices on I-10 and Callaghan, Bravo and a colleague worked from her home for two years until headquarters moved to a much larger facility.
Lori discovered WordPress CMS in 2006, and developed her personal web site using the platform. Later, as a freelancer, she would develop web sites using WordPress for many diverse clients, including a toy company that designed and sold imitation / toy shrunken heads. Really.
For a short period of time, NewTek convinced Lori that she was a marketing goddess. She was enticed to accept the position that no one wanted — Director of Marketing. For almost 2 years, she led the company’s marketing presence in print, video, web and major trade shows. Newtek was an anchor participant at SIGGRAPH in San Diego and NAB Las Vegas during her tenure.
Like most web geeks, Bravo is not suited to bringing donuts and sweet-talking Union workers during booth construction. After four major trade shows (and a few small ones), Bravo took a break from Newtek for a little more than a year and spent necessary quality time with her family.
She returned to the company, this time working as senior support in Information Technology. In 2010, Lori’s husband (of over 20 years) landed a position as director of the International Museum of Art and Science on the Texas border in McAllen, so the couple moved to the Rio Grand Valley where she was not so successful in the position of “Museum Director’s Wife.”
After a four year tour of duty on the border, the couple returned to their home in San Antonio, where both are consultants in their respective career areas. Occasionally, they will find a project where both of their areas of expertise are required and they enjoy working together.
Now in semi-retirement, Bravo enjoys spending time with her family, photography, travel, drawing and watercoloring, blogging and enjoying the company of her Boston Terrier, Abigail, a trained Service Animal who assists Bravo in everyday tasks.
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