Liz Tracy, director and founding team member of HQ Raleigh and lead facilitator for the Citrix Accelerator, will be headed to Vienna and Prague for Raleigh-based Leadership exCHANGE, Tracy, with HQ Raleigh five and a half years, is leaving that position, but expects to remain engaged in the startup ecosystem in the Triangle when she returns.

In a New Year’s email, Tracy said Jess Porta will be taking a larger leadership role at HQ in 2018. “She cares deeply about he mission of HQ and has the experience and talent to accomplish great things for our organization,” she wrote.

Tracy worked for Leadership exCHANGE in Panama prior to her gig with HQ,

In an interview with WRAL Techwire, Tracy said she is amazed how quickly the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem has grown “In the five and half years I’ve experienced it.”

“It has gained recognition beyond the region and I think its evolving the right ingredients to make it a really robust and successful environment. There are a lot of really strong collaborations and partnerships in the region that will help it scale in strength.”

The region’s major universities, for instance, “Play a role by bringing their students into spaces like ours (HQ’s) and the American Underground, and by building out their own entrepreneurial programs.”

She says the entrepreneurial community needs to “Continue doing a good job of storytelling about the region.”

She also sees a need to reach out to people who moved back to the region to retire after being successful elsewhere or to start a new chapeter in their lives. “We need ways to bring them into the fold, as C-level executives with a startup, or as mentors. We need to get them engaged to help continue growing the ecosystem.”

She says one thing the region is doing well and needs to continue focusing on is nurturing women in the startup community, a goal shared by the American Underground in 2018, according to a recent interview WRAL Techwire did with Executive Director Doug Speight.

Tracy says she is “Giving myself a little headspace to navigate what my next adventure will be. I have a few ideas.” She will return to Raleigh following her teaching gig overseas.

One thing she plans is to do something to propel the “B-Corp community statewide.” B Corps use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. They often use renewable energy sources, suppliers from low-income communities, offer professional development to employees, and give a portion of their profits to charities.

“Nothing is finalized right now,” she said. “I’m taking a little bit of time to step back and play around with some of these ideas. I’ve had a really supportive community here and know it will continue to be supportive when I come back.”

Liz Tracy is second from the left in the photo.