Empowering Youth

with guest Mark Kiester, Retired CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Austin Area

In this episode, Mark Kiester, retired CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, reflects on how the challenges facing and needs of youth has changed over the past few decades. He shares his lessons learned from his 20 years in this arena

Mark Kiester

Mark Kiester

Retired Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA)

Mark Kiester Bio:

Mark Kiester is the retired Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA), Austin’s leading youth development agency, serving more than 12,000 kids in the Austin Area. He joined the organization in 2005 and retired on April 1, 2018. During his tenure as CEO, the number of kids served annually h increased by more than 850%, its annual operating budget by 575% and number of operating units from six to twenty-nine.

As CEO, Mark provided leadership to all aspects of the organization’s operations. His key responsibility was to lead the staff and volunteer Board of Directors in developing and implementing long-range strategic goals and plans to ensure the successful achievement of BGCAA’s mission…to inspire and enable all kids – especially those who need us the most – to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. He was the organizations’ lead strategic officer and provided direction and input to the Board in developing the annual budget, financial, staff, board, community, and program development plans. In August of 2010, Boys & Girls Clubs of America named Mark Executive of the Year for the Southwest Region. The region covers a nine state area from Montana to Texas, and includes 685 Boys & Girls Clubs organizations serving more than 659,000 youth. Mark was one of only 5 such awardees nationwide. Mark was also named the 2014 Nonprofit Executive of the Year by Greenlights (now Mission Capital) Nonprofits for Success’s Nonprofit Excellence Awards and was a six-time nominee and three-time finalist for the Austin Business Journal’s Nonprofit Executive of the Year at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

Mark was also a member of the Texas Education Agency’s Expanding Extended Learning Time Council, where he worked with 12 other statewide appointees in developing direction and possible legislation to support and foster Out of School Time programs across the state. He was also a member of the Austin/Travis County Mentoring Advisory Council (and former member of their Public Policy Committee) for One Voice Austin, a collaboration of 100 human services agencies in Travis County that assist in developing public policy and programs affecting the clients of those partner agencies.

Prior to joining BGCAA, Mark served as Executive Director for the TownLake YMCA, the flagship branch of the YMCA of Austin. In addition, he oversaw and provided leadership for the YMCA’s financial development, marketing and communications functions, and programs.

Mark began his career in executive management of human services not for profit organizations after 22 years in media and advertising industries. This included management positions with Hicks Communications Inc. – now part of I Heart Radio Inc, Southwestern Bell – now AT&T and Shamrock Communications Inc. During his time, Mark was a community volunteer, having served in the Jaycees and on the Board of the Historic Paramount Theater. His most notable volunteer service was to the YMCA of Austin where he served on their Board for 12 years, including 2 ½ years as the organization’s Chairman of the Board.

For the past 20 years, Mark has served as a member (12 years as President) of the Alumni/Volunteer Committee of his fraternity, University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Alpha Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon. He volunteers as a guest lecturer and facilitator for several of the national fraternity’s annual leadership development seminars and academies for undergraduate members. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Radio/Television Film from the University of Texas at Austin in 1971. Mark is married to Gayla Talley, a licensed interior designer with offices in Pflugerville and Georgetown Texas. They have two sons – Jay, 40, and Bret, 37 and two grandsons, Joseph and Luke.

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