Meet Kedrick Jeffries, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ New CEO
Kedrick Jeffries will tell you that his life has been a roundabout journey ultimately ending up right back where he started. But as he chuckles about it, he is quick to say that he is right where he wants to be as the new Chief Executive Officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas.
An East Austin native, Kedrick grew up literally “a stone’s throw” from BBBS’ former office on Tillery Street. His mom still lives there. The family’s house is right behind the previous BBBS office building and the properties share a fence. “I understand, firsthand, the needs of the youth and families BBBS serves and how important it is for every child to have the presence of a consistent, caring adult in their lives,” said Kedrick. “I’m serious about this mission and I am excited to get started.”
BBBS is equally excited to have him on board. “Kedrick’s appointment marks a significant milestone for us, as we have not only found a dynamic leader but also an individual whose personal connection to our mission runs deep,” said Albert Swantner, BBBS Board Chair. “I can confidently say that his heart aligns seamlessly with our values. His vision for the future of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas is both inspiring and invigorating. He brings fresh perspectives and innovative ideas that I believe will take our impact to new heights.”
His vision for the organization will be significant, but it is his community connections that will help him to implement his new ideas. “When you leave here (the BBBS offices) and go down towards 51st street, there used to be a big open field with small apartments. I used to live there with my mom,” said Kedrick. “I used to ride my bike to Harris Elementary. This is an area, and a community, that I know.”
He went to LBJ High School and then went on to Austin Community College, but he felt that he was not taking school seriously enough, so he changed directions and took a job with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. After a stint in Dallas working for a law firm, he held positions with Communities in Schools of Central Texas and with the Austin and Pflugerville independent school districts leading Out of School Time programming.
He also worked with the AFL-CIO as well as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in Washington, D.C. The Washington job, however, required a lot of travel. “When I tell you it was 100% travel, it was 100% travel,” said Kedrick. “On the 300th day of the year, I’d been in hotels 286 days. You can’t be a parent via FaceTime.”
A father of six, Kedrick knew it was time to settle closer to home. He joined The Boys and Girls Clubs of Austin where he most recently served as the Chief Club Operations Officer. “I really like working with youth,” said Kedrick, “and I realized that this is what I really need to stay and do.”
It’s that same sense of mission and connection that lead him to BBBS. “All of my work experience has gotten me to where I am today,” said Kedrick. “There is no greater sense of pride than to work in your own community, to help, and to create positive change.”
Kedrick has walked the halls of the schools our Littles attend, he knows the streets and neighborhoods where they live, and he knows what it means to have help. “My mom didn’t have it all, but she did the best she could with what she had and I’m grateful,” he said. “People say, ‘Oh, you can move up if you move around the country,’ but this is my community.”
“I know about helping kids,” he continued. “I know what one-to-one relationships can do for a young person if they have that consistently. It’s different if you just come once. Kids experience that at schools all the time. They meet an adult they connect with, but the person shows up once and then they’re gone. And for a kid who’s lost and looking for support, that’s rough. I want to help kids find lasting connections.”
BBBS is the right fit. “I wanted to come to an organization where I could focus on building lasting one-to-one relationships for youth,” said Kedrick. “I’ve had coaches, people in my life that took an interest in me. Finding an organization that does that for kids just feels right.”
It’s why his focus as BBBS’ new CEO is on getting kids off the waiting list and matched with the mentors that they need and deserve. “The name of the game every day is ‘How are we gonna attack that?” said Kedrick. “How can I bring resources in here to create an even greater impact for the kids we serve? We need more mentors, especially men of color in the Cedar Park, Buda, and Kyle areas. I’m thinking about that as well.”
Kedrick is also looking forward to meeting, and building relationships with, the agency’s existing friends, partners, and stakeholders, developing new relationships for the agency, and introducing his own friends and associates to our mission.
“I’ve got people in the city who have already called and asked, ‘How can I help?” he said. “I told them, just wait, I’ll be reaching out.”
So, what does he enjoy in his spare time? Music. Kedrick is the Minister of Music at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, and he once considered becoming a music teacher. He has also caught the ‘travel bug’ and is interested in traveling abroad. Plus, he enjoys a good game of golf. His primary energies, however, are reserved for his kids. “I love spending time with my kids as I realize it’s going by really quickly and I’m trying to make memories with them,” he said, laughing, “but of course, they’re teenagers, so they’re not really into that right now.”
A local resident. A community champion. Ready to engage others in taking BBBS’ work and impact to the next level. “I know this is something I can do,” said Kedrick, adding “Reach out and come visit. Give me a call. Get to know me. I am so fortunate to have been chosen to be out front leading this organization. I’m ready and I can’t wait to hear from you and work together.”