Here at LiveMom, we love meeting new moms (and dads) doing interesting things around town. Our monthly feature series give us an excuse to learn more about these hard-working Austinites! This month, we’re featuring New York native Denise Burke, whom I met through Camp Gladiator, a fitness group with a session right next door to the elementary school our kids attend. She is a fierce fitness competitor and motivator, and she is smart and funny as well. Denise works for KidKiosk, an educational technology company based here in Austin, and she is passionate about her work and the company’s goals.
LiveMom: How long have you lived in Austin, and what brought you here?
Denise: We moved here as a family in July 2015; my husband was relocated by a tech start up in downtown Austin. We decided it was a great opportunity to leave the cold weather in New York, slow down our pace and come to the great Lone Star state! We had lived in Arizona and California from 2002-2009, before moving back to NY, and missed the sun and outdoor lifestyle, so while it was for work, it was also a family decision to improve our quality of life, which it absolutely has done! We love it here.
LiveMom: How many kids do you have, and what are their ages?
Denise: We have two children: a daughter,age 10, and a son, age 8.
LiveMom: What is your idea of a perfect day with the family in Austin?
Denise: A perfect day begins with a morning hike, followed by a delicious brunch at a place like Bouldin Creek Cafe and then swimming in the creek or a pool and then back to our house for a family dinner at home, BBQing or whatever my husband makes since he is an amazing cook! We all love the outdoors and good food.
LiveMom: If you had 24 hours to yourself in Austin, how would you spend it?
Denise: That’s a tough question! There are so many things I love about this city. I would likely head to the lake and go for a walk/jog and then grab a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants I love (Odd Duck or ABGB’s are two of my favorites) and then head to a spa for a massage at either Lake Austin Spa or Travaasa (I have been to both and they were both amazing). I would also love to catch live music at a local venue, nothing too formal, just being outside with music playing, which can be found at so many places. This city has so much to offer; I could probably come up with a whole list of things.
LiveMom: What do you like best about Austin? What would you change, if you could?
Denise: What I love most is that it’s simply gorgeous. We live in Westlake, so we have the hills, but going downtown I love seeing the Capitol and the lake. Further west, Lake Travis is just beautiful to me. We’ve rented a boat with the kids and went tubing, and it was as if we were on vacation right in our own backyard! What I also love is the amazing food scene and the laid-back atmosphere. What I would change is the number of people moving here since it’s getting too crowded so the traffic can be awful at certain times of the day and real estate is becoming too pricey.
LiveMom: What’s one piece of unsolicited advice you’d give to a new mom?
Denise: I would tell them to join as many things as they can to meet other moms so they have a support system and don’t feel overwhelmed and alone. Whether you join volunteer groups at school, or a gym class or any other interests you may have, you will feel more well rounded and connected. Motherhood is a community and when you try and do it all, you can often feel stressed and scared, especially as a new mom, but when you can chat with other moms and get ideas from each other, you feel so inspired. I wouldn’t have had such great transitions in all the cities I’ve ever lived in without the support of other moms that are going through the same types of things.
LiveMom: What is the best thing one mom can do for another?
Denise: Listen and be honest. Sometimes you just need to vent and not be judged. Moms need each other to talk to and be there for each other since they “get it”. I love having so many mom friends that make me laugh, but I also know I can call if I need them when stuff is hitting the fan. I love those moms that don’t judge and just love to be there to chat about anything without worrying that they are shocked about what I’ve just said.
LiveMom: What kind of music do you like? Any local musicians? Kids musicians?
Denise: I love most music! One Texan artist I love is Leon Bridges. We saw him perform live at ACL last year and he was amazing. I have always been a Willie Nelson fan and have gone to ACL the past two years in a row; I like seeing all the bands from all over the country come to Austin where people love and appreciate good music. As long as I can sing along, feel something, or dance to music, I love it. I usually know what I don’t like easier than what I like since that is a much broader spectrum.
LiveMom: What do you think is the best way to keep up with the Austin scene?
Denise: I subscribe to Austin Moms Blog and Thrillist.com and friends of mine are realtors, so they send me weekly eNewsletters with what’s happening around town that are super useful. Being a part of our school community also helps with fun things to do with the kiddos and, of course, social media always helps.
LiveMom: What might we be surprised to learn about you?
Denise: I love football and rock and roll! I have a passion for competitive sports, but football is my love. And my favorite band is Led Zeppelin. In my car, however, I listen to pop music since I can dance to it, but I love the classics so much. I am also a girl that can appreciate a beautiful motorcycle, although I do not like to drive one.
LiveMom: What is your job, what is your title, and what do you love about your job?
Denise: I am a Client Services Manager for KidKiosk, a small Educational Technology company based here in Austin, but I wear several different hats, as we are a true start up. I love that my job is a start up – lots to learn, so much to gain, and every day is an adventure. Working out of my home office gives me flexibility so I can attend meetings, plays, etc. for my two children, but still have projects to work on that keeps me mentally challenged. I work with childcare centers and technology departments, which are both my true passions; my Masters degree is in Educational Technology, so it is a perfect fit.
LiveMom: Do you have any charitable organizations you like to work with/ donate to/ volunteer for locally?
Denise: My kids and I volunteer our time at Little Helping Hands here in Austin each month and we also donate to the American Cancer Society, Make a Wish Foundation, and local public school organizations. My daughter is a Girl Scout, so we are always donating our money and time to that organization and support as many charitable functions as possible throughout the year.
LiveMom: What is your secret talent?
Denise: I can do a mean cartwheel… whenever…wherever But if you want me to be serious, eating a home-cooked meal most nights is super important to us, so I can cook a well-balanced meal for my family in less than 30 minutes, which I’m about to go do right now!
Find out more about Denise’s work here: