John T. Butler is the current Vice President of Development & Mission Advancement for the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity (Trinity Missions).
Trinity Missions is a Catholic Congregation of priests, Brothers, and lay missionaries who are dedicated to working with the poor and abandoned in seven countries—the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Colombia, and Haiti. Prior to joining Trinity Missions, he was Secretary for Development for the Archdiocese of Washington overseeing fundraising for the Catholic Church. John has also served as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Mount St. Mary’s University, Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement at the University of the District of Columbia, President/CEO of Archbishop Carroll High School, and President & CEO of HRLC, Inc. a management consulting firm providing change management and organizational development services for both the private and public sectors.
In addition to his membership and former Board service with the Association of Fundraising Professionals for Washington, DC; John is actively involved as a member of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Community Advisory Council; the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta; Catholic Business Network of the District of Columbia; Leadership Maryland; and Leadership Greater Washington where he serves as co-facilitator for LGW’s Signature Program. John holds a B.A in Political Science from St. Michael’s College; a M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from Howard University and has completed Master of Theological Studies coursework at the Theological Union. He is also credentialed as a Certified Fundraising Executive from CFRE International and as a Group Psychotherapist from the Psychiatric Institute of Washington Center for Group Studies.
Can you give us some background or insight into your personal leadership path – including your sources of inspiration and most important lessons learned?
After graduating from college, my first job was unexpected. I had not planned to work in secondary education, but I was offered a teaching position at Mackin Catholic High School. As a result, I discovered that I had a special gift for teaching. I found great fulfillment working with students and their parents especially during difficult times when academic performance and student behavior were not on track.
I transitioned to higher education and served as coordinator for the Lorton Prison College Program, and it was during that time that I more fully realized the importance of resilience and dedicated my life to helping others excel. My advanced studies in group psychotherapy led me to management consulting where I worked with both public and private sector clients on a host of human resources and organizational issues. And it was my subsequent return to secondary education as President & CEO of Archbishop Carroll High School, that initiated my entry into fundraising. Throughout these work opportunities, I have endeavored to be a servant leader learning from, and being guided by, those with whom I had the opportunity to work and serve.
How did you first become involved with Leadership Greater Washington and the Signature Program?
While serving as the President of Archbishop Carroll, a member of my Board of Directors, Larry Demaree (’96) suggested that I explore Leadership Greater Washington. After hearing him speak so positively about his experience, I felt that the Signature Program would be an excellent way for me to sharpen my leadership skills, meet other leaders from around the region and grow professionally. I was also hopeful I could connect regional leaders with Carrol students to further stimulate their career aspirations and was, in fact, able to accomplish that when I started a Business Champion Program.
What do you love most about your LGW Class? The Class of 1997 “Oh Thank Heaven for Class of Eleven”
Foremost, I love the diversity of my class. We came from various industries and locations around the region and quickly realized that even though we brought our own perspectives and unique histories, we were cut from a similar cloth. As regional leaders, we wanted to make a difference and have a positive impact on our community.
What inspired you to join the LGW Board of Directors?
At the close of my program year, I was appointed by my class to serve as one of their Representatives on the board. Following my initial year, I was asked to continue my board service. I did so for several years and subsequently was appointed Board Chair in 2008.
You have also been a Signature Program facilitator for many years, tell us how that role came to you.
Throughout my life, I have served as a facilitator in one capacity or another and have always enjoyed bringing people together around a common goal. I am a middle child, so I had multiple opportunities to hone these skills while growing up. My love for facilitating was further enhanced with my studies in counseling and group psychotherapy and during my years working as a management consultant. More to the point of your question, I was first invited to serve as a facilitator for the Signature Program by former LGW President and CEO, Tim Kime (’98), and the board chair at that time, Howard Stone (’96). Over the years, I have been fortunate to work with five classes. These were all wonderful experiences and I have met a lot of great regional leaders.
How do you envision the future of the region? And what about LGW’s role in that future?
For more than 30 years, LGW has connected regional leaders. LGW’s reputation is strong and those who have participated over this time are just outstanding individuals. They are diverse leaders from nonprofits, civic, and Fortune 500 companies who value collaboration and naturally create synergy. I see nothing but continued success for LGW, especially under Doug Duncan’s leadership and that of the current Board of Directors.
Can you describe an extraordinary LGW Moment from your experience—a connection you made, something you pursued because of LGW, or a distinctive memory?
Yes, during my program year we were clustered into “study groups” and asked to find a project in the region that we could get behind. Our group chose to support Thomas Lewis (’97) and the Fishing School. Tom Lewis is an inspiring, generous, and very passionate leader. He shared a compelling story about his call to serve young people and his starting a faith-based after-school program in a challenged area in northeast DC. Our study group immediately rallied around this effort, joined his Board of Directors, helped him to develop a strategic plan, and diligently worked with him to acquire the necessary funds to advance his dream of expanding the school’s impact. With our help, the Fishing School gained national recognition and was selected to serve as a launch pad for President George W. Bush’s Faith-Based Initiative.
You’re also involved with LGW’s new” Seasoned Leaders” initiative. Tell us more about that.
LGW’s current Board Chair Pinkie Mayfield (’01) asked if Maxine Baker (’99) and I could find ways to better engage LGW seasoned and inactive members. We were honored to take on the task and are in the process of finalizing strategies we hope to roll out in the coming months. We want to help LGW re-engage and better link those leaders who have been such a powerful resource throughout the region, we still need their talent, creativity, and wisdom.
What are some of your tips for success?
• Do your homework and always make sure you are over prepared.
• Understand the value of “process,” and take the time required to involve others
• It’s also wise to have a mentor, someone who has been there and can help you see the steps you need to take especially when you are at a crossroad
• Finally, maintaining a good quality of life requires attention to family, faith, health, and community. Find a way to keep these critical aspects of your live balanced.
Please tell us something most people might not know about you.
Most people don’t know that I am a guitarist and a vocalist. I love ballads and songs with an inspiring message. John Legend is one of my favorite artists.