Conversations with ATX Leaders: Mike Keffales

Emergent Leader Initiative participant, Mike Keffales, shares his perspective as a young leader in Austin during this time. In the middle of a leadership development and personal growth program, Mike was seeing things move in his career and beginning to pull together plans for additional ventures, and then, a pandemic. For many this season can feel like a total derailment from the track their career was headed down, but Mike points us toward a different reality.


An essential aspect to a post pandemic Austin is helping people make decisions as the city moves forward with land deals and negotiations during COVID-19. A key part of a financial consulting and investment firm Mike offers a unique view into how the city is reinvesting within the community to promote sustainability. “We call it ‘economic triage’.”


Part of leadership is addressing problems in reality, providing truth and clarity, but also to push forward in hope.  Mike shares how some of the possibilities for an emerging Austin, “Might see some older rooted laws that have been temporarily put in place during these mandates, but we may see some of those continue in their new variation.” There are things we will keep from this time; things that will carry over, creating a new normal for the city.


Aside from real estate, commerce and marketplace shifts, Mike notes a pivot in how we treat our clients and partners in business. “We’ve been in this trend of go, go, go!”  This virus has also slowed down the roller coaster business can be, pausing for better connection and support as we focus on sustainability.  “I’ve seen so many people caring for each other. We are starting conversations with “how are you doing” rather than “what did you get done.” Mike challenges us to pay it forward with attentiveness, and to be thankful for the people that we rely upon, as we keep the engine of commerce running.



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