Gary W. Keller

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gary Keller
Born Gary W. Keller
Pasadena, Texas
Residence Austin, Texas
Alma mater Baylor University
Occupation Author, Real Estate Expert
Known for Founder and Chairman of Keller Williams Realty
Spouse(s) Mary Pfluger
Children John Keller
Website Gary Keller KellerINK profile

Gary Keller is an American entrepreneur and best-selling author. He is the founder of Keller Williams Realty International, which is the largest real estate company in the world by agent count.[1] Keller founded Keller Williams on training and education and later brought his teachings to print. His books include The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, The Real Estate Investor, and The ONE Thing. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board at Keller Williams Realty International.[1]

Early life[edit]

Keller was born on July 21, 1957 in Pasadena, Texas. Both his mother and father were school teachers, until his father was promoted to be a high school administrator. The family moved to North Shore, outside of Houston.[2]

Being born into a family of educators would later pave the way for Keller's educational approach to business and success.[3] Keller's parents had a large impact in shaping who later became, and he credits three specific events with his father as "significant, I-can't-thank-you-enough, changed-my-life moments":[4]

• Upon graduating high school, Keller did not plan on attending college and was simply playing in his band. Eventually, however, Keller realized he lacked both the talent to be great and "the passion to get better",[5] and he announced to his parents that his music career wasn't going to pan out. His parents, unbeknownst to him, told him they'd applied on his behalf to Baylor University and he had been accepted.[6]

• As a sophomore, Keller's father told him he needed a major and subsequently set him up to shadow, for one day each, a lawyer, banker, accountant, and real estate agent.[6] Keller liked the latter, mostly because it seemed to be the least traditional of environments, a quality that alluded to his entrepreneurial spirit. When Keller returned to Baylor in the fall, he enrolled in their new real estate program.[6] He accepted an offer with a visiting real estate company when they came to interview at Baylor, and moved to Austin, Texas upon graduation.

• Keller found immediate success in Austin, selling six houses his first month—then the market changed. He didn't close anything for the next five months and ran out of money. While home for Christmas, his dad questioned if Keller had actually been working. So Keller went out to his car (a yellow Volkswagen with no AC, inherited from his aunt[7]) and showed his father his card box filled with leads and his calendar showing his appointments and time blocking. Based on these, Keller's father agreed to give him $500.[7] And with that money came a new day. Keller returned to Austin and immediately sold a house. In fact, he ended the year as runner up for the rookie of the year.[7]

When Keller was in his early twenties, he attended a talk about planning, goal setting, and thinking big.[8] That's when his light bulb went off. He wrote down his goals and set out to achieve them.


Real Estate[edit]

When Keller landed in Austin in 1979, he worked for a company who would later become a competitor. Keller made it his goal to become VP, and when that goal was realized 4 1/2 years later, he decided he could no longer work there.[7] Keller's educational and entrepreneurial spirits fused and he knew he could create a real estate model that put the agents first and fostered a positive, win-win community.[7] In 1983 he partnered with Joe Williams to found two companies – Keller Williams Realtors, which Keller ran, and Keller Williams Commercial, which Williams ran.[9] The commercial company never took off, but Keller's residential side did. In 1987, inside the residential company, Keller created a division that would later become Keller Williams Realty International, known to the world as KWRI.

Today, KWRI is the largest real estate company in the world by agent count with 144,000 associates doing business in 22 countries. Recently it was announced that the company would be expanding to France, Monaco, Poland, Nicaragua, Israel.[10]

Keller continues to serve as the company's chairman of the board.[11]


What makes Keller Williams unique is its focus on education, and the tools provided by the company are unparalleled.[12] Later in his KWRI career, Keller and his associates were in the process of updating and formalizing the educational tools needed to be an exceptional real estate agent. They decided to put their teachings to print and make it available to anyone, and thus Keller's first book was born. The Millionaire Real Estate Agent was co-authored with Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan and was released in 2004, making the Businessweek bestseller list. The trio got together a year later with The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, which became both a BusinessWeek and New York Times bestseller.REF

In 2008 Keller, Jenks and Papasan came out with SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times. This became a New York Times bestseller, a Wall Street Journal business bestseller, and a USA Today money bestseller.REF

Keller and Papasan continued writing as a duo and in 2013 published their first non-real estate book, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. The book reached #1 on the Wall Street Journal business bestseller list and Amazon.[13] It was also a bestseller on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.[13] Hudson Booksellers named The ONE Thing one of the five best business interest books of 2013.[14] The authors have been featured on publications including Forbes and Dave Ramsey's EntreLeadership Review.[15]

In all, Keller has published four bestselling books that have sold more than two million copies worldwide.[16]


Publication year Title Original publisher ISBN Notes
2004 The Millionaire Real Estate Agent McGraw Hill ISBN 9780071502085 Co-Authors Dave Jenks & Jay Papasan. BusinessWeek best-seller.
2005 The Millionaire Real Estate Investor McGraw Hill ISBN 9780071469531 Co-Authors Dave Jenks & Jay Papasan. BusinessWeek and New York Times best-seller.
2008 SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times KellerINK ISBN 9780071605274 Co-Authors Dave Jenks & Jay Papasan. New York Times best-seller, the Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller, and the USA Today Bestseller.
2013 The ONE Thing Bard Press ISBN 9781848549258 Co-Author Jay Papasan. First non-real estate book for Keller. New York Times How-to Bestseller, New York Times Business Bestseller, Wall Street Journal Non-Fiction Bestseller, Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller, USA Today Bestseller, and Publisher's Weekly Top 10 List. Mentioned on other national lists, including BookScan, Entertainment Weekly, LA Times, Hudson's Booksellers, Reuters, and 800CEOREAD. Winner of 12 book awards and translated into 26 languages.

Keller Capital[edit]

In addition to writing, Keller blended a passion for real estate and investment to found the venture capital firm, Keller Capital. Started in 2013 with his partner Mitch Johnson, the company's mission is "to invest in people and businesses whose ideas, products, and services change the world."[17] Keller Capital invests in residential real estate, commercial properties and entrepreneurial businesses. Johnson is the company's CEO.[17]

ALL ATX[edit]

Keller's love of music morphed with his philanthropy and the nonprofit ALL ATX was born. Started in 2013 as a passion project with his friend, and award winning producer, Randy Miller, ALL ATX's goal is to educate musicians on how to build successful careers and to become a uniting force for the Austin music industry.[18] It is a 501(c)(3) that, in addition to its goals, raises funds for four local beneficiaries: Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, Black Fret, SIMS Foundation, and Austin Music Foundation.[18]

Philanthropy and Education[edit]

Keller is also a noted educator, as one of the core pillars of Keller Williams is education.[19] He teaches a business- and life development course to young adults both in Austin and through his alma mater, Baylor University. He has been a consistent supporter of Baylor since his graduation, and in 2007 he donated the funds for a residential real estate research center at the Hankamer School of Business.[20] The Keller Center, as it was named, studies consumer behavior, marketing strategies, and management solutions.[21]


Keller has received numerous awards and accolades over the years.[22] He is a previous winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and a finalist for Inc. Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year.[23] In 2011 Baylor University honored him with a Meritorious Achievement Award and a Medal of Service for his business leadership.[3] The same year Austin Business Journal recognized him as one of Austin's 30 Most Influential.[22]

In 2013, Swanepoel Power 200 designated Keller as one of the 5 most powerful people in residential real estate.[24] That same year, Inman News named him one of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders.[25] In 2014, he was featured in a Training Magazine article that named Keller Williams the No. 2 training organization across all industries.[26] In 2017, Keller was named the third most influential person in residential real estate according to Swanepoel Power 200.[27] He was named most strategic thinker in real estate by the same publication.[27]

Keller Williams has also received due recognition: KWRI has appeared on Austin Business Journal's Top Austin-Based Private Companies and Largest Austin Area Employers. Inc. Magazine named one of their 50 Best Workplaces, The Austin American-Statesman named it of the 2015 Top Workplaces of Greater Austin, and Career Bliss named it one of their 50 Happiest Companies for 2016,[28] Keller Williams is also featured as a case study as a part of Stanford University's Closer Look series.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Keller spends almost all of his free time with his family and close friends. His favorite hobbies are fly fishing, snow skiing and playing guitar.[7] Before starting college, he gave up playing guitar, but he couldn't stay away for too long: he picked it back up on his 40th birthday,[30] diving headfirst into the role of the eager student. Since picking it back up, Keller's rediscovered passion led him to form not only the ALL ATX charity but also his own band that performs annually at Keller Williams events.[30] Keller lives in Austin with his wife, Mary, and their brood of dogs. Their son John also lives and works in Austin.


  1. ^ a b "Welcome to Keller Williams". Retrieved 21 Sep 2016. 
  2. ^ Your Houston News. Fall 2008 Retrieved 21 Sep 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b "Medal of Service - Business Leadership". Baylor Magazine. Fall 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Baylor Magazine. Fall 2011 Retrieved 21 Sep 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Chris Smith (2013-04-16), Gary Keller and Chris Smith One on One Interview [EXCLUSIVE], retrieved 2016-09-23 
  6. ^ a b c "Gary Keller, '79". 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2016-09-23. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Inc., Personal Selling Power,. "Can-Do Guru | Selling Power Magazine - V28N1 | SellingPower". Retrieved 2016-09-23.  External link in |website= (help)
  8. ^ Keller, Gary (2004). The Millionaire Real Estate Agent. New York: McGraw Hill. 
  9. ^ "KW Commercial - Agent Details". Retrieved 2016-09-23. 
  10. ^ "Keller Williams expands to 5 new countries". Retrieved 2016-09-23. 
  11. ^ "Executive Biographies | Keller Williams Realty". Retrieved 2016-09-23. 
  12. ^ International, Keller Williams Realty. "Training Magazine Names Keller Williams #1 Training Organization in the World". Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  13. ^ a b "Book inked by Austin-based Keller Williams' founder tops several U.S. bestseller lists - Austin Business Journal". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  14. ^ Best of 2013. 
  15. ^ "EntreLeadership Review December 2013". Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  16. ^ "Books Archive - KellerINK". KellerINK. Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  17. ^ a b "About Us | Keller Capital". Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  18. ^ a b "About - ALL ATX". Retrieved 2016-09-27. 
  19. ^ "". Retrieved 2016-09-27.  External link in |title= (help)
  20. ^ "Keller funds center at Baylor University". Chicago Tribune. 11 March 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "$5M kickstarts real estate center at Baylor". Austin Business Journal. 6 March 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "Austin's 30 most influential". Austin Business Journal. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  23. ^ Schawbel, Dan (23 May 2013). "Gary Keller: How To Find Your One Thing". Forbes. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "The 200 Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate in 2013". Swanepoel Power 200. 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders". Inman News. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  26. ^ "Keller Williams is on the Move". Training Magazine. Retrieved 21 May 2014. 
  27. ^ a b "Most Influential People in Real Estate". Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  28. ^ "LifeAtKWRI". LifeAtKWRI. Retrieved 2016-10-14. 
  29. ^ "How Important is Culture? A Second Look at Keller Williams Realty" (PDF). Stanford Closer Look Series. 
  30. ^ a b Pope, Colin (9 November 2012). "Journal Profile Gary Keller Interview". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 

External links[edit]