Faces of HARMAN: Betty Keyes, Receptionist

When I started work at AMX by HARMAN nearly 8 years ago, I noticed the kind, distinguished woman working at the reception desk. She smiled sweetly as I walked in, looking for all the world like the quintessential grandma. This greeting made a profound impression on me and shaped the way I looked at my job and felt about my employer. I soon learned that the name of this charitable receptionist was Betty Keyes (known to everyone simply as “Ms. Betty”), and she got her start as employee number three at AMX.

When you speak with Ms. Betty, it’s clear that her mind is as sharp as ever, a fact belied by kind eyes and a humble smile. Indeed, she still seems a bit surprised at her unwitting internal fame as AMX’s longest-working employee. Betty started working for AMX in 1982 when Scott Miller first founded the company. At the time, the entire organization consisted of three people: Scott, an engineer and Betty. When I asked Ms. Betty what she did at the time, she explained she did “whatever needed to be done.”

Doing “whatever needed to be done” has been part of Ms. Betty’s approach to work for more than 30 years now. In her years working at AMX, she worked as an expediter as well as in customer service, engraving and accounting. When I commented on the breadth of her jobs here, Betty admitted that she’d done “quite a bit.” After a long career, Betty eventually retired. However, a couple years later, when she heard that AMX needed a receptionist, she came back to work part time, a job she truly enjoys, because it allows her to see everyone as they come into the building.

I asked Ms. Betty why she has stuck around the company for this long. She replied simply, “I’ve always liked it here,” pointing to the fun, laid-back atmosphere. She also really likes the people, and they clearly like her as well. Sales people have been known to bring people up to desk and introduce them to Ms. Betty, and I can attest myself that dealers and integrators have asked me more than once if Betty was still working. Steve Byars, a senior administrator who has worked with Ms. Betty for a number of years, summed it up by saying, “She’s one of my favorite people.”

Ms. Betty only works two days a week now (Tuesdays and Thursdays). She spends her off hours staying active in the exercise classes she takes twice a week, and she also plays bridge and attends a weekly bible study. She still travels, and when we spoke, she was looking forward to an upcoming cruise with “a whole bunch of women.” Betty summed up her hobbies by saying, “I seem to find things to do.”

When the conversation turned to family, I found that Betty has a big group of kin living in the Dallas area, including two daughters, three granddaughters and five great grandchildren. This is quite a long legacy, and nowhere is that more reflected than in the two others from her family—a daughter and a granddaughter—that have joined her in working at HARMAN’s Richardson, TX office. This new generation continues the family tradition, promising to bring Betty’s same kindness and strength to HARMAN for years to come.

I wanted to wish a big thank you to Betty Keyes for taking the time to talk with me. If you’ve had the pleasure to meet Betty, tell us about it in the comments.

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