We had the good fortune of connecting with Jason Dyke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jason, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Throughout my life and career I have embraced risk. From starting multiple businesses to taking a road trip to kayak waterfalls in Mexico, I have sought out opportunities to learn, to grow and to seek adventures. While my background is engineering, I don’t see the world as black and white – I see every opportunity as a risk-reward ratio. Risk-taking means I may not have all the information I need and I can’t always see the future. That uncertainty can be unsettling but I get energy from taking calculated risks, solving problems and course correcting along the way, knowing that the outcome could be something greater than anything I have ever imagined. Sometimes, the outcome isn’t what I expected but in hindsight, who I am today and all that I have learned has come from my successes and my failures. Failing forward is where my learning has happened most. Traditionally, I make the best decisions I can with the information I have and jump in. That is exactly what I did when I went down the waterfalls in Mexico and that is what led me to launch Carson’s Village. Today, Carson’s Village is my passion and a risk. I’ve never started a nonprofit organization before and certainly never one that is doing something that no one else is doing. All I have learned from past risks, successes and failures are informing this venture, giving me the confidence, the experience and the skills to build an organization that is changing the lives of people who truly need us.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
On April 28, 2017, my youngest son took his own life. I was blindsided. Fortunately, I have amazing family and friends who stepped in and supported me and my family during this terrible time. They provided emotional support, found us a funeral home and organized the service, knowing that I could not manage those details in my grief. After this experience, it occurred to me that not everyone is fortunate enough have a village of support and I looked for an organization that provided these services. I found that there was no organization helping families navigate the difficult decisions after the death of a loved one and in June 2017, I created Carson’s Village. Carson’s Village is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that helps families navigate the journey to healthy grieving after the loss of a loved one. We provide each family with a caring advocate, a guide, who advises them on how to choose a funeral home that both meets their emotional and financial needs, plan a service, raise money and support them through the difficult process, all at no charge. We continue to support them over the next year to ensure they have the resources that they need to grieve in a healthy way. To date, we have helped more than 500 families in 32 states. I was able to find a path forward during a very dark time in my life that will allow Carson to help other people and to live beyond his few years on this earth.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One way that you can get to know various parts of either Dallas or Ft. Worth is by doing an Urban Scavenger Hunt (https://www.urbanadventurequest.com/). The ones in Dallas are a lot of fun, but there are also two in Ft. Worth. I would recommend to someone that is not from this area to have lunch at the Dallas Farmer’s Market, do the downtown Dallas scavenger hunt, and then finish the day at Biergarten on Lamar for a beer. That would be a fun, adventure filled day as you get to know the City of Dallas’ history.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
While I have experience running a for-profit company, the nonprofit world was new to me when I launched Carson’s Village. Early on I realized that I do not have the experience needed to take this organization to where it deserves to be. I have the drive and ambition to get Carson’s Village moving, but without the proper experience I would be like a car losing speed as I keep bouncing off the curbs. To help keep me moving down the middle of the road, I formed an incredible Board of Directors and Advisory committee. This incredibly talented group is led by Jennifer Bartkowski, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas CEO. Her 25+ years of experience in the non-profit industry has been invaluable to Carson’s Village. Jennifer’s leadership, experience, and connections has been the secret sauce that has keep Carson’s Village moving down the middle of the road at maximum speed. The Girl Scout cookies are just a bonus!