About the Council
There are up to 21 members on the Mayor’s Maker Council. Saray Taylor-Roman is one of these 19. She was first appointed in 2019 by Mayor Madeline Rogero to serve a two-year term. Recently, Mayor India Kincannon reappointed Saray to serve two more years.
The Council describes their mission like this: “The mission of the Mayor’s Maker Council is to develop a shared vision for our region’s diverse maker community; raise awareness of Knoxville’s local maker movement and associated micro-economies; promote local goods and services; and address government policies and regulatory issues that impact maker businesses.”
Additionally, the Maker City provides a community of Knoxville makers for those in the creative industry. It’s better to go on a journey with others supporting you!
What does it mean to you to be a part of the Maker City?
It means that Knoxville is growing and becoming more diverse. It makes me happy to play a part in that. As a first-generation immigrant from Mexico and the first “artist-preneur” in my family, I hope to see more Latinos in our community join the maker community. The Maker City started as an idea just a few years ago at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC). The KEC is where I found resources on how to start my own business and where I received guidance from local business coaches. I love that I’m able to give back by being a member of the council and to offer my unique perspective as a Latina maker in East Tennessee.
What is your primary role on the council?
The purpose of the council is “to promote equity in our creative economy by fostering relationships between makers and consumers, by building networks of public technological, and financial resources, and by creating educational opportunities and partnerships.” At first, I was part of the Events Committee which scheduled monthly Lunch-and-Learns on business topics for small business owners and entrepreneurs and monthly networking events at local maker spaces. I was also a speaker at some of these events. Now, I’m a co-chair for the Summit Committee. We had our annual summit in September of this year. I got to emcee the event along with Tanika Harper, Founder and CEO of Shora Foundation, and with Chris McAdoo, a painter and printmaker, who is also the KEC Chief of Strategy and Engagement. The summit is a place and a time to be inspired, to be re-energized and to get connected!
What resources are there for professional or hobbyist makers?
There are a ton of resources. I say start at https://knoxec.com/ and subscribe to their newsletter. From there find the maker city page and subscribe to their newsletter as well and find them on social media to learn about our scheduling. There is something for everyone! If you are a maker, add your info to our directory, which is free and a great way for local people to find you. #MadeforKnoxville, which you will also find in the KEC website, is a beautiful way to be inspired by local maker stories. Best of all, join our community of makers. The entrepreneurial journey is so much more fun and more rewarding when done in community.