Bill Boyar (pictured), founder and former chairman of BoyarMiller in Houston, has received the IMPACT Award from the Center for Houston’s Future, which he describes as an award celebrating “what you’re currently doing or what you’ve done in the last few years,” not as a lifetime achievement award.
“The award, to me, reflects that I’m willing to take the risk and get out front. I get a lot of really great people around me, and we get a lot done,” Boyar says.
Boyar says he is and has been involved in multiple organizations over the past 10 to 12 years, including serving on the board of KIPP-Houston Public Schools, the Houston Technology Center and the American Leadership Forum.
Boyar says he also served as the chairman of the board and chairman of the capital campaign to build a food processing facility for the End Hunger Network. He also “led the effort and negotiated the merger of the End Hunger Network and the Houston Food Bank, which was a consolidation of hunger relief efforts in the city,” he says. He is also the former chairman and a current board member of SEARCH Homeless Services.
Boyar says there are several reasons he got involved in community service. “My wife was my initial inspiration. She is extremely active in the community. She was on the founding board of the End Hunger Network and SEARCH,” he says.
“For the first 25 years of my practice, I traveled a lot, so I didn’t do anything. When my practice changed, around the same time as 9/11 occurred, we got on airplanes less often,” Boyar says. “I decided it was time for me to participate.”
Boyar says an additional push to participate in community service came at a luncheon where Scott McClellan was a speaker. “He said, ‘If we can, we must,’ in terms of obligations to the community,” Boyar says.
Boyar says that the business and entrepreneurial community can do a lot to help nonprofit organizations.
“It’s more bringing something to the table in terms of helping develop strategy and helping bring in multiple resources, creating partnerships among organizations, collaboration and cooperation. . . .” he says. “That’s what inspires me. I’ve seen that we can make a difference, a fast difference, by bringing guiding principles to the table.”
Boyar says he can’t take all the credit for the award. “I don’t do very much myself at all,” he says. “I just organize people. I mentor and coach CEOs and presidents and executive directors. By and large, you just have to get good people together to do good work. No one person does anything.”
“I’ve met great people that I would not have otherwise met. I’ve gotten way more out of it than I’ve put in, in my view, just in relationships we’ve built and things we’ve seen get done,” Boyar says. “Like in sports, the head coach gets lots of credit, but the players do all the work.”
Boyar also credits his firm and its culture as to how he has time to contribute to the community while working fulltime. “We have a firmwide commitment to community service,” he says. “The way we work is if any of our lawyers or staff, or their spouses, are involved in a leadership role in an organization, we will provide support.”
He says that support comes in the form of both human and financial resources. “The only way I get away with the time I spend is because my partners are all in,” Boyar says. “This is who we are as a group of people.”
— Christine Lesicko