Beau G. Heyen, president and CEO of Episcopal Community Services, talks fighting hunger, opening the Kansas City Community Kitchen and more in The Pitch Questionnaire
Twitter handle: @beaugheyen
Hometown: Seward, Nebraska
Current neighborhood: Midtown
What I do: I work to transform the face of hunger at the Kansas City Community Kitchen and through conversations across the greater Kansas City area.
What’s your addiction? Work. Just ask my family and friends.
What’s your game? I get my best cardio workouts playing Hamburger Mary’s Charity Bingo. Nothing gets your heart beating faster than the fear of being read by a drag queen. (Come join me June 16 to support GLSEN Greater Kansas City and July 21 to support Episcopal Community Services!)
What’s your drink? I never turn down a good mimosa on a lazy Saturday morning.
Where’s dinner? Sitting in the beer garden at Char Bar. As a former minister, I can’t rebuke the Holy Trinity. Hallelujah!
What’s on your KC postcard? The giant shuttlecock, for obvious reasons.
Finish these sentences: “Kansas City got it right when …” They realized the only smart way to build the city’s infrastructure was to invest in the installation of cutting-edge technology throughout downtown, and hopefully soon across the entire metro area.
“Kansas City screwed up when …” They let national treasure Paul Rudd move away.
“As a kid, I wanted to be …” The kind of person who left the world a better place.
“I always laugh at …” The Sower, spreading his seed from atop the Nebraska state capitol. I mean, did anyone on the approval committee ever think, “This could be taken a totally different way.”
“I’ve been known to binge watch …” How I Met Your Mother on Netlfix, to remind me of all the reasons why I left NYC.
“I can’t stop listening to …” Taylor Swift, because my husband won’t stop playing it. Someone help me, please!
“My dream concert lineup is …” Adele performing all of my favorite show tunes, including songs from Les Mis, Miss Saigon, Rent, Ragtime and more.
“I just read …” Leadership on the Line, by Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky. Warning: This book has rekindled my fire to push for change in how we talk about emergency food, nutrition and dignity.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure? I keep a giant bag of assorted mini candy bars in the pantry. Each night, I pick out one of each type (Snickers, Twix, Kit Kat, etc.) for a buffet of awesomeness. Considering that I focus so heavily on balanced nutrition at the Kansas City Community Kitchen, the guilt is real.
The best advice I ever got: Never be afraid to be yourself.
Worst advice? Slow down, you won’t be able to change (insert whatever problem or issue that people don’t want to talk about because it is uncomfortable).
My sidekick? My iPhone. God help me if I ever misplace this thing without a data backup.
What is your spirit animal? Being 6-foot-5, that pretty much only leaves me with the giraffe.
Who is your hero? My parents. They have always stood proud of who they are.
My favorite toy as a child: The Little House toy set, where I would stage natural disasters. All my joy began when the relief effort and rebuilding the community started. So in a nutshell, FEMA for toddlers.
My dating triumph/tragedy? Being an actual success story from a dating app, I found the love of my life and got married in January.
My brush with fame: Scooping ice cream at Walt Disney World on The Rosie O’Donnell Show.
My soapbox: Food is the ultimate human right. We can talk about gun control. We can talk about safe schools. We can talk about the rights of women to make decisions about their own bodies. But none of those things matter if people are hungry, if people can’t get enough healthy food to nourish their minds, bodies and souls. I don’t know how many debates I have had with someone who believed they knew who was worthy of food. I don’t know if I can count the number of times people have said to me, “It’s OK, they’ve eaten worse,” or, “Their stomachs can handle it,” or, my personal favorite, “The food we serve is good, but I wouldn’t eat it.” Actually, I don’t want to count the times. One time was too many.
What was the last thing you had to apologize for? Trimming my beard without my husband’s approval. The struggle is real.
Who’s sorry now? Jay-Z, now that he has a 100 problems.
My recent triumph: Being asked to do a TEDx Talk, despite being too busy to participate yet. •
Bier Station (120 East Gregory Boulevard) hosts a Summit Brewing tap takeover from 4 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, June 21, with the proceeds from two kegs (and a percentage of all tap sales) going to the the Kansas City Community Kitchen.