IRMA Magazine Member Lois Rodriguez, Strategic Partnership Manager, Texas Highways
Name: Lois M. Rodriguez
Magazine: Texas Highways
Position: Strategic Partnership Manager
Favorite magazines: Aside from any of ours? Saveur, Travel + Leisure, New Yorker, Garden and Gun
What do you love most about magazines? The morsels of information packaged like little treats with great photos/art, call outs of information and engaging writing.
Who or what inspires you? Those who speak up and take action against injustices – big or small. I am inspired by the person in the room who will stand up to someone else’s bully. Also nature.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in the industry? People matter. Their stories matter, and our job is to tell those stories (places = people). We play a powerful role in shaping the culture around us. How people view the world, outside of their individual bubbles, is often through the window of what is presented in the media. That’s a lot of power we wield. Let’s use it for good.
What aspects of your job do you like best? The people in the industry are so smart, creative and fun. Good company is always a win.
If you could choose anyone as a mentor, who would you choose? Having Brene Brown on speed dial would be sweet. 😊 Georgia’s voting rights activist Stacey Abrams. Or Jane Goodall.
What are some fun facts about you that not many people know? Many know I bake as a hobby, but in 2005, I created cake balls before cake balls were a thing to make bite-sized versions of the dark chocolate/raspberry cake I’m known for making. They were available at a friend’s restaurant whenever I had time. They were noticed and I ended up winning a Best of Austin award from the Austin Chronicle. That led to an invitation to sell at Whole Foods and my continued years-long streak of doing baking demo/classes at the annual Fredericksburg Food and Wine Festival (the area is Texas’ top wine region). I recently started to volunteer for Bake-a-Wish, which matches bakers with people in shelters so they can have a birthday cake made to their preference/wish.
Another fun fact: Just fresh from filming her Oscar-winning performance in Judy, Renee Zellweger taught me how to fold fitted sheets. Her mom had just taught her. How? After a big hurricane/flooding event in Houston, I had volunteered to help those who evacuated to Austin, but decided to also devote time helping the local animal shelter, which was overloaded for taking in so many animals from the Houston area. I showed up offering to help where needed, and was taken to the animal shelter’s overwhelming laundry facility (sheets, towels, bedding, etc.) and was soon joined by Renee, who had come from L.A. to help, too. She picked the shelter because she got her dog Dylan there years ago. She shared her chicken wrap with me that first night. The two of us spent 3 days together having a blast while whipping that laundry room into shape, cleaning cages, etc. She made me pose for a photo for that momentous occasion of me finally getting the fitted sheet thing down.😊 We called ourselves the Speed Queens (the brand name of the industrial dryers there).
Drink of choice (alcoholic or non): Lemonade. Or any drink (alcoholic or non) with lemons.
What’s the last book you read? Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey if audio books count.
What’s the first concert you ever attended? Sonny and Cher at the Houston Rodeo at the Astrodome when I was about 7. They brought out Chastity (now Chaz) and introduced her to the audience. It was a great show, until I discovered my mom was heading to see Olivia Newton-John the next night. I begged to go.
Mom: “You already saw Sonny and Cher yesterday.”
Me: I hate Sonny and Cher!
What did you want to be growing up? I wanted to be a reporter (true impetus: so that I could interview Olivia Newton-John. Yes. I was obsessed!) I started a newspaper in elementary school. It was just as good as you might expect it would be. I was editor of my high school and college papers, yadda yadda. Somewhere along the way, I did get to interview Olivia over the course of spending two days with her. 😊
When not making amazing magazines, how do you like spending your time? I look for experiences, and regularly find myself in extraordinary places. I also love to travel, so some of those experiences are tied into travel like taking a ride on every waterway I can (the Yarra, Douro, Rhine, Thames, Amstel…), going to bucket list concert venues across the nation (and Canada), attending the Pilgrim’s Mass at Santiago de Compostela in Spain, making binational snow angels at the Austria/Germany line atop the Zugspitze mountain, singing the Sound of Music while dancing in an Austrian field of flowers. Ha. A lot of other amazing experiences have just happened organically from being open to it. Lots of fun things closer to home, too.
I also love kayaking, spending quality time with people I care about, and spoiling my cats and fish. I built a 1,700 gallon pond during the pandemic. I call it my “PONDemic” pond.
Volunteering also is a big part of what I do. I am drawn to causes that make life better for women, children, homeless, and animals, especially, as well as other causes that present themselves. I am an activist, and have traveled for causes. I serve on Austin’s LGBTQ film festival board and the city of Austin’s Tourism Commission.