We had the good fortune of connecting with Wes Keyes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wes, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk taking is, generally speaking, a clear and consistent trademark of a good leader. Rarely have I experienced a strong leader who is risk averse. As I began my career as the Executive Director of Brother Bill’s, I knew that, in order to be successful, I needed to take some risks. It was scary, it rubbed some the wrong way, not everyone bought in, but at the end of the day, our work has grown in ways that no one was expecting. We went from serving 1 zip code to serving 65, we increased our counseling services 100%, and we will have served nearly double the amount of food to needy residents this year as opposed to last year, and all of this during a pandemic. I truly believed that we needed this growth and that we had the capacity to expand; however, a belief is not enough. In the words of C.S. Lewis, ” …only a real risk tests the reality of a belief.” At the end of the day, I am proud of the risks I took.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
In May of 2017, Wes Keyes was called to serve as the executive director of Brother Bill’s Helping Hand. After a decade of working in Dallas and Oak Cliff, Wes is more passionate than ever about sharing the love of Christ and equipping our neighbors with the resources they need to fight poverty in their community. Wes is honored to lead the incredible team at Brother Bill’s Helping Hand. Wes’ non-profit experiences have lead him to work with impoverished communities in Waco, Dallas, Rural Mississippi, Haiti, Turkey, Guatemala, and various other countries and cities for nearly 20 years. He received his BA in religion and Spanish from William Carey University in Mississippi and his Master’s Degree from Baylor’s George W. Truett Seminary. Wes also currently serves on of the board of directors for the Well Community and in his spare time enjoys Baylor Football, the outdoors, and spending time with his Winnetka Heights neighbors. Wes and his wife Beth live in North Oak Cliff along with their two children Sarah and Liam, all of whom love being involved with Brother Bill’s Helping Hand.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh, we would start out with tacos…no doubt. We might hit El Si Hay, or Tacos y Vino, maybe head over to Trompo, but definitely start with Tacos. I think we might also hang out in some of the cool park areas in Dallas, whether at Klyde Warren, some cool spots in Oak Cliff, or maybe walking along the Trinity (yes there are some cool areas along the Trinity). Next, we would hit up some BBQ. And by BBQ I mean Pecan Lodge. It’s the best, no questions asked. At night, we would catch a show at the Kessler Theater and maybe grab a nightcap at Nova or Cannon’s Corner. That would be a pretty good little day.
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?
The Brother Bill’s Staff, you rock! Thanks for believing in my crazy ideas and for believing in our calling to serve our neighbors. I love each of you so very much.