What Makes Me Texan by Nature – Joni Carswell

What makes me Texan by Nature?

In its simplest form, I love Texas. I love our landscapes and natural environments. I’m incredibly proud of our business leadership and innovation (HEB, Whole Foods, Dell, Rackspace, Southwest Airlines, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Mary Kay, …the list goes on). I think Texas is a special place in so many ways. Combining these elements, I think of myself as not only Texan by birth, but also Texan by nature.

But what’s a Texan? Is it someone born in Texas? Someone who lives in Texas? Someone who visited Texas? Or, is it simply a state of mind? Texas and being Texan is many things to many people, but one of my favorite Texas quotes from Edward Smith sums up the state of mind perfectly. “Texans ignore “better,” long ago forgot the useless word “good.” Everything in Texas is “best.”” I concur. Everything in Texas is Best. Business. People. Landscapes. Natural Resources. Texas Aggie Football. Best.


Hyperbole aside, why do I feel this way? To me, a Texan state of mind is a combination of pride and indomitable spirit – a melding of wide open space in nature, vision, and future. It’s an indescribable combination of independence and collaboration. In Texas, 1+1 doesn’t just equal 2 (or 3 as some leaders push for), it equals a million or more….just ask a Texan.

As a fifth generation Texan (born in Dallas), I’m obviously Texan by birth. From my early days of enjoying Big Bend, Garner State Park, Cap Rock Canyon, Palo Duro Canyon, the Guadalupe Mountains, Fort Davis, Port Bolivar, and the fields behind our home in a suburb of Dallas to moving to West Texas as my father started his own hydroponic tomato business, I have enjoyed, been awed by, and worked the vast landscapes and resources of Texas. I was taught to appreciate everything our state has to offer in terms of nature, business, opportunity, and education.

My appreciation for education and business in Texas grew as my path took me to Texas A&M (Industrial Engineering) and outside the state to start my career. Moving back to Texas (Austin) in 2007 was a true homecoming with the opportunity to explore and lead Texas business, both big and small. Through all of these experiences, I’ve been continually struck by the similar, yet unique personality and mentality of Texans. By the way we think. The way we collaborate. The way we innovate. The way we lead. The way we appreciate. The way we conserve. The way we can bring it all together.

What is Texan by Nature?

It’s pride.

It’s spirit.

It’s open space.

It’s appreciation for incredible resources and landscapes.

It’s big thinking.

It’s savvy.

I like to think all these things make me uniquely Texan by Nature.