Meet Keren Taylor-Hughes (’07)
For as long as she can remember, Keren Taylor-Hughes (’07) has desired to assist people in need. As a results-oriented, strategic individual, she is determined to do whatever she can to make the world a better place. Now a newly-elected member of the TWU Alumni Association board, Taylor-Hughes hopes to use the things she’s experienced and learned to help strengthen the TWU Alumni community.
CARING FOR OTHERS AS SHE WAS CARED FOR HERSELF
Taylor-Hughes is passionate about ensuring that everyone receives respect and compassion, no matter who they are or what their background. This is what led her to get degrees in Business and Behavioral Sciences.
This desire to help those in need got her working with Child and Family Services in Winnipeg, where she spent about 12 years working with foster parents and children in care.
One reason she’s passionate about helping mentor and care for others is because of her experience with coaches. Taylor-Hughes was heavily involved in sports from the time she was young, and coaches played an integral role in her formative years. As she grew older, she decided to give back and become a coach herself.
“It’s very much a labor of love,” says Taylor-Hughes, who at one time spent three to four evenings a week, fifty weeks a year, coaching kids 11-16. “I learned a lot about coaching and leadership being a coach. Like, how it’s okay to say you don’t always have the answers.”
These experiences opened doors for Taylor-Hughes to travel and speak about the powerful influence adults can have over young and impressionable children and led her to put together a program called The Role of a Coach.
CHALLENGING HERSELF IN A VARIETY OF WAYS
In the last twenty years, Taylor-Hughes has transitioned through a variety of sectors, including First Nations, government, child welfare, health care, technology, financial services, agribusiness, not-for-profit, and education.
These roles have led her to travel and work around North America and abroad. She’s travelled to other countries to do NGO work, such as Thailand and Cambodia with Food for the Hungry, and Egypt and Jordan with Global Action.
Taylor-Hughes is the kind of person who strives to learn everything she can when entering into a new role. “I like to change things up and leverage my skills,” she says. “I like to be challenged. I’m a doer. If there’s work to be done, I’m happy to do it.”
But through all her experiences, she struggled to know what her purpose was. Were her many passions, skills, and experiences building toward something?
“I was one of those people who wondered where I’m supposed to be,” says Taylor-Hughes. Each new experience provided new learning opportunities, but at the time, they didn’t seem to be connected.
The role of TRINITY WESTERN UNIVERSITY
A big defining moment came for Taylor-Hughes while attending Break Forth, a conference in Edmonton There, she saw a promotion for Trinity Western’s Master of Arts in Leadership program and was instantly drawn in.
“I had two bachelors degrees already, but was contemplating a third degree at the Masters level,” says Taylor-Hughes. “When I saw the MAL program, I instantly knew that was it.”
Taylor-Hughes applied and was accepted. She loved every minute of the program and found it challenged and grew her skills in unexpected ways. By the time she graduated, she’d made some powerful life-long friendships and learned some incredible lessons.
A LEADER WHO SERVES
Today, Taylor-Hughes is the Chief Executive Officer of Winnipeg Harvest, the fourth largest not-for-profit food bank in Canada. Winnipeg Harvest distributes more than 30 million dollars in assets and food to distribution agencies across the province.
In this role, Taylor-Hughes can leverage her skills and experience to make a tangible difference in the lives of people in need. After years of wondering what her place was in the world, she can now say with confidence that this is where she’s supposed to be.
“As I sit back and reflect upon my journey, everything I’ve done has prepared me for this role,” says Taylor-Hughes. “There’s not a doubt in my mind.”
Now as one of four new members to the board, Taylor-Hughes plans to use her experiences to invest in others, to build community, and to help bring out the best in everyone.
“I want people to know that I have a passion for helping those in need,” says Taylor-Hughes. “I like to help people recognize their strengths. That’s what I try to bring out in my staff. I want to help them be successful.”
Taylor-Hughes says she believes it is every leader’s responsibility to serve the ones they lead, and she looks forward to doing that for the TWU Alumni community in the days ahead.