Working to end poverty in the community by learning to say YES with Msgr. John Enzler | Greater Washington DC DMV Changemaker

Working to end poverty in the community by learning to say YES with Msgr. John Enzler | Greater Washington DC DMV Changemaker

In this episode of Partnering Leadership, Monsignor John Enzler, President and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, shares impactful stories from his childhood, his journey becoming a priest, and leadership lessons he’s learned through leading many charitable initiatives. Father John also explains the power of “yes” and the importance of collaborating with organizations of different faiths to fulfill a shared purpose.


Some highlights:

-Monsignor John Enzler’s childhood and how his parents impacted his life

-Why Fr. John Enzler decided to become a priest

-On becoming Monsignor and why Fr. John Enzler prefers not to use his title

-Fr. John Enzler’s leadership in charities and the many lives he’s helped through them

-On welcoming Pope Francis to Catholic Charities in 2015

-Why Fr. John Enzler believes learning to say “yes” defines his mission as a priest



Mentioned in this episode:

-Stephen F. Riley, executive director of the Potomac Community Resources

-John Carr, founder and co-director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University

-David Brooks, political and cultural commentator & writer for The New York Times

-Michael Gerson, former White House director of speechwriting

-John Veihmeyer, former global chairman of KPMG ( Listen to John Veihmeyer’s Partnering Leadership Podcast Episode here)


Connect with Fr. John Enzler:

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington Website

Fr. John Enzler on LinkedIn

Fr. John Enzler on Twitter


Connect with Mahan Tavakoli:

MahanTavakoli.com


More information and resources available at the Partnering Leadership Podcast website: 

PartneringLeadership.com



Transcript

Mahan Tavakoli:
Welcome to Partnering Leadership. I'm really excited this week to be welcoming Monsignor John Enzler, affectionately known as Father John. Father John is the president and CEO of Catholic charities of the Archdiocese of Washington and annually, they help more than 120,000 people in the Washington Metropolitan Region. Father John has won numerous awards primarily because of his leadership and his impact. He's also been recognized as Washingtonian of the year. 

I really enjoyed the conversation because you can tell that even in serving the community, you need purpose driven leadership in order to be able to achieve great results for the people you look to serve, I'm sure you will enjoy the conversation too. And I love hearing from you, mahan@mahantavakoli.com, keep your emails coming. Feel free to leave voice messages for me on partneringleadership.com, there's a microphone icon you can use for that on the website. 

Don't forget to follow the podcast, that way you will be sure to get notified of these episodes. On Tuesdays, conversations with magnificent changemakers like Father John from the greater Washington DC DMV region, and then on Thursdays, with brilliant thought leaders, primarily leadership book authors whose insights I believe can help all of us become more impactful leaders. And when you get a chance for those of you that enjoy these on Apple, don't forget to leave a rating and review that will help more people find and benefit from these conversations. Now here's my conversation with Monsignor John Enzler.

Mahan Tavakoli:
Monsignor John Enzler, welcome to Partnering Leadership. I am thrilled to have you in this conversation with me.

Fr. John Enzler:
I'm excited as well, because I love thinking about what makes organizations and what makes churches and what makes neighborhoods work. It's always around, centers around leadership. Leadership, I think is the key. And I can tell you many churches and parishes where a leader was changed, moved to another place, and that particular parish went down, and where he went to starts going up. 

So there's some particular things that make you a leader. I love servant leadership, most of all. But in saying that basically, I love the fact that people are so responsive to me, I think because I'm responsive to them. I think people respond to me because I always said yes, once again, to them. So it's a great journey where people learn how to help each other do great things.

Mahan Tavakoli:
And that's why, Father John, you've had a significant impact in the Greater Washington DC region. And I want to capture some of your life story and some of your leadership journey in sharing with our audience. Now, I know you're a native Washingtonian, our upbringing has a significant impact on who we become. So how did your upbringing impact the kind of person and the kind of leader you've become, Father John?

Fr. John Enzler:
Well, I'm very blessed, Mahan. I'm very blessed because I am one of 13 children. I have 8 sisters and 4 brothers. And my father died at 66, very young at 76. My mom lived until she was about 79, but what they taught about love, what they taught about giving back, what they taught about what weave people in inclusiveness, it really impacted me, and impacts all of us.

We have a great time. Once a month, we have a zoom call with all 13 of us and we do it, usually seven o'clock at night. Some people are in Dallas, some people are in Carolina, some people are in Arizona, but we have a great time. And that family continues to be a stalwart supporter to me. I've learned so much from them and I hope they learn something from me as well. 

So that's important growing up. I grew up in Catholic schools and I went to Lady of Lourdes School, Bethesda, where I actually grew up, and St. John's College High School, my Alma mater there. And I went out to Iowa for college. My dad's from Iowa. Place called Loras College, people don't hear of it. It's a great little school. I'm on the board there right now. And then of course, Mount St. Mary's Seminary. 

So all of those things, but I would say, ask me, what's most important that I've had in my life? I'd say my family, and particularly my parents. Frankly, you can't duplicate how good they were. They were great. If you have great family, if you have great parents you don't talk about, it's a great gift to have those things in your life. It's spiritual to do things for others.

Mahan Tavakoli:
And those values have stayed with you. Now, before we go into that, you were also an active tennis player, both in high school and college and still play for fun, I understand.

Fr. John Enzler:
That's true, that's true. I played in high school. Way I grew up in Bethesda, a lot of country clubs around there. We'd have a country club, we had a local pool, a tennis court. But we were, in both sports, swimming against congressional or Kenwood or Manor club or Washington Golf Country Club.

 We always did great in both swimming and tennis because we're so geared into those. So yes, it has been a great gift to me and I still enjoy now playing just for the fun of it. I've lost a lot of my speed, my reflexes, my eye-hand, but still love it. Still love it. 

Mahan Tavakoli:
That's wonderful. That's wonderful. Now, Father John, at what point in life did you decide that you want to become a priest?

Fr. John Enzler:
It's interesting, Mahan, when I was young maybe seven, eight years old. I think my class of 75 boys and 75 girls, it was a big group of kids that [inaudible] the baby boom year, born in '47. So basically, I'd say that there was 75 boys, I'd say 40 of them - 40, "I'll be a priest someday."

Mahan Tavakoli:
Wow.

Fr. John Enzler:
But it's because of the example of the priests. And basically, and the religious upbringing, and the faith aspect. Now, I think that's true across the board for young people. I would have to admit that basically by the time we're in high school, it was probably down to maybe, possibly a 5 or 10. And even myself, when I got to high school, it was still in my mind, it would go away. And one thing I did basically that probably helped was I took four years of Latin just in case, it was not required - too required.

And that was a great move on my part, because while that's not been a big need for me as a priest, but that was when I began to realize this is something I might want to do in college. I was pretty quiet about myself, but eventually I just realized, it's like you're running from God. That's probably a little dramatic, but yet, he wants an answer. And the answer was for my case was not going to be be married and have kids. My answer's going to be serve him as a priest and I'll take, it's 48 years this year. And it has been the greatest life possible. 

The giving and the sharing and the participation in people's lives, whether it be from baptism or from a funeral, it’s the greatest life. And so I feel very blessed to have found this out when I was pretty young, at what year you were very young. But to bring it to conclusion, when I was in college, in seminary, and then I've had really 48 years of service to people and it's a great gift. I love what I do. And I have a passion for priesthood, I have a passion for faith, I have a passion for letting God's word shine forth and do that as the individual who just does his best and you will be a successful priest. 

Mahan Tavakoli:
What a beautiful example, Father John, I know you are dedicated to serving needs of the most vulnerable in our community. And your example is also an example of leadership. Part of what I talk about in terms of leadership is that the most important aspect of leadership is leading by example. 

And it's obvious that the priests that you had as role models early on in life with family support… 

Fr. John Enzler:
Right. 

Mahan Tavakoli:
Your mother, were the kind of people that you wanted to emulate. You saw them as role models. So that energized you to find your passion, which is serving God, serving the community, and having an impact because they served as good role models for you.

Fr. John Enzler:
Exactly. I could remember it was probably 4th or 5th grade, and one of the priests, Father O'Donnell came out to play football with us at the playground. He's a man, we're kids, we're 10-year-olds. And he threw a, probably 50-yard, 40-yard pass. And I remember catching that pass and it's a, it's a small thing, this- it's a real guy. This guy's a, he's not some nerdy 'Holy Joe', he can throw a football and throw it far. That kind of thing did impact me. It was a natural thing for me not to say, well, I'll go to some holy place and become a seminary priest. No, I'd like to bring all those gifts I'd learned from others, the priests I just mentioned, and let those examples make me a better priest myself. So you're exactly right. Role models are huge and if you live up to your potential, people can see that you are passionate, committed, and serving in ways that maybe hasn't been discussed by others.

Mahan Tavakoli:
And that's wonderful that then 1973, you were ordained a priest for the archdiocese right here in Washington, DC.

Fr. John Enzler:
Yes. So a couple of things happened. First of all, during college, I said, "Dad, mom, I think I want to go to seminary." And we had a nice discussion, and they linked me up with a vocation director, the one who worked with that. We did that. And then basically, [inaudible] I was ordained priest, but the main time my dad, who was a [inaudible] 13 became what's called a deacon. And these were people who, the early church wanted 7 deacons to work in community. The Greek speaking deacons to work with, mostly orphans and widows. So basically my dad, maybe for the first time in modern history, a father preached his son's first mass because deacons and priests can preach, relay to give to talk but not keep a high way. And he gave the homily at my first mass. 

And he said something, Mahan, I will always remember this. It just came back to me that he said to me during the homily, he said, "You know, John, 25 years ago, we brought you to this church for baptism and water was poured, it all went fine." And then he said, "I took you up to the altar, and presented you to God and said, 'God, you want this boy? He's yours.'" He said most fathers do that. And that's not true. Most fathers do not do that at all, it's a nice thing, but he was creating a scenario where you might be, why don't you do it? And then basically he said, we've never told this story, thought it was ordained. We had no influence at all upon what God wanted for you. So that was a gift. They knew that for 25 years, I didn't know that. And I'm not saying they had it happen, but they thought that'd be a blessing to have a priest in the family. And it certainly have rubbed off on me. 

Another story with my father because it does affect my giving to other people, we're going to church one day when I was about 10 years old, 9 years old, and we walk out of our home, it's about 6-7 blocks from church, rode 6:30 in the morning, we go take the car. I got in the car, my sister got in the car with me, and a guy's walking down the street, he was actually African-American, and my dad sees him and he was not that used of somebody, Black American in our community. So he stopped to talk to him. And I watched from the inside of the car, just watched. Within three minutes, my dad takes his coat off of his back, it to that guy, and he went down the street. Dad went back in the house, we hadn't left yet, got another coat. 

He enters the car, I said, "Dad what happened? Why'd you do that?" He says, "Well, he was cold." "But dad, you gave him your coat." "He was cold." No need for discussion. He was cold, that's what you should do. I don't really know, Mahan, if that was something he did as you said, as a role model. I don't think so. He just did, that's who he was, but still that impacted me. When I got to Catholic charities I realized, I'm living out ways my father taught me. You give and you share and you help, and that's what you do in your life. If you do that, frankly, your life will never be anything but great. 

Mahan Tavakoli:
What a beautiful example, Father John, because it's not the fact that someone does it because they want to be a role model, it's the values they have show what is important and serve as a model. So your father behaved according to his values, his beliefs, his principles, which served as a role model for you as you continue to serve the community. Now, it must have also been a tremendous honor to become a Monsignor and be named one by Pope John Paul II in 1985.

Fr. John Enzler:
I've got some mixed feelings about monsignors. I mean, I am one so. First of all, you didn't notice I don't use that name very much. I don't use Monsignor. It's pretty formal to me, but I worry about this, Mahan. So I know a lot of great priests were not monsignors. And what made me different? Not I was more skilled, not that I was more experienced. It was, I was in a place where people could see my ministry. So the core noblige could see it. So I worked in youth ministry, CYO, I worked on other things, they could see it. 

And so basically, I believe that all priests are good. Some, maybe should become monsignor, but not all of us and that's, it's fine with me. The Pope reasonably, Pope Francis, changed that a little bit, he said maybe five, six years ago, "No more monsignors, except for people who have had long service to the church." So maybe I'm the age group now where in this plan, I'd be made a monsignor because I'm an older, a near retirement of appraise, but no longer these young guys becoming monsignors, move up the ladder.

If you've been so successful, 30, 40 years, that's on you then.  There's no agenda there. It's just basically, you'll be honored. Doesn't mean you'll become a bishop someday. Doesn't mean you'll become a Pope someday. It means basically that you've done good work and we'll honor that and celebrate that with people present. So I love the title, but I also think of my buddies who aren't monsignors, who're better or good as I am. So I don't emphasize that at all. I just, it's a nice something to add. You know when I do use it? When I'm trying to get somebody to do something for me. And this is more in church circle. So I'm trying to get somebody to get married outside the church or whatever, then I'll sign monsignor. Fair enough. I do use it, but not for real.

Mahan Tavakoli:
 
It is wonderful because you have that genuine humility to you, which is why you go by Father John and use the Monsignor when it serves the people which you look to serve and have done such a great job. Including monsignor, with the fact that you helped establish Shepherd Foundation and Potomac Community Resources that have had a significant impact for more than a quarter century in the Greater Washington DC region.

Fr. John Enzler:
Yeah, I give a lot of credit here to my buddies, my friends, most of them, I'm not praised usually, varied people. The Shepherd Foundation started with basically about 10 of us in one of my friend's houses. And we're over there. And told them, "I wonder what we do about kids who can't afford education in Catholic schools, but want to go there." And we all agreed, tabs agree, to give a thousand dollars each ourself. And they had to find nine people to join us who would put a hundred thousand dollars. The first year we didn't get that, we got $60,000. But after that first year, it took off. And so we're now receiving $4,000 a year [inaudible], we give it all out again to people. And so that was, I see people all the time who have benefited from those [inaudible]. 

Potomac Community Resources happen because a woman in the parish and her husband came to me and said, "Father John, there's no one helping us. We had a disabled daughter, but no differences, and no one's helping us." And even with our programs now she mentioned, "Catholic schools that's for, that's a different place. What about people in our parish?" And that was a cut of four or five other couples who had children with [inaudible] disability...and began, has been great work now with Steve Riley, president, executive director now for 25 years and great.

Mahan Tavakoli:
And it is wonderful because you continued your impact. And also in July 2011, you were named then to become president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, which reaches over a hundred thousand people in the DMV region and supports them on an annual basis. So a significant organization with significant impact, significant leadership opportunity, and significant challenges at the same time.

Fr. John Enzler:
Some of the numbers for you, so across the whole country, Catholic Charities USA spends $4.4 billion to help about 10 million people a year, actually 12 million per year now. We're a piece of that, we're the small - so we've actually now up to 200,000 people with COVID. Things changed, we peaked at 575, 8,000 people come to us now than a year ago, most for food, things like that. We have 900 employees. We have 7,000 volunteers and our budget's a little bit over a hundred million dollars. So basically, I had no idea when I said yes to this job. I mean literally, I said yes to a job, I knew what it was. I know I did. I knew I love charity. I knew I love to help people. I had not an inkling that it would be, I mean, when I heard for the first time we had 900 employees, what? 900 employees?  [ inaudible] our budget? I know a parish would actually be $5 million. If it's a school, maybe $8 million. 

Just anyway, and we are the most comprehensive socio-economic charity in the area. Meaning basically, you come to us for whatever it is, you come to us for housing, you might get a job, you come through us for healthcare, you might get food. You come to us for family issues, and you might basically able to get a job or whatever so it's back and forth. So we're very proud of the fact that we're large, and we're efficient, and we keep getting more assistance from other people because they want to help us do the work we do. 

Mahan Tavakoli:
And Father John, it takes leadership and organizational skills at the same time. To serve the most vulnerable in the community, you also have to be a great fundraiser, which you have proved to be. You raised over $100 million and the Archdiocese Washington Forward in Faith campaign to be able to do some of the good work that the archdiocese does.

Fr. John Enzler:
That's right.  So basically, I've learned a lesson years ago. It was with, I was at Little Flower and he said, "John, I want to do a collection for you. I've worked with youth a lot, you know, we have retreats and picnics and sometimes dances, good stuff for kids, wholesome stuff for kids. And a group pretty much with about 400-500 kids would come to these events. 400-500 on a weekly basis or monthly basis coming, that's a lot of kids.

So he said, "I want to do a collection for you to help you out. So pick August or so month, we'll do an envelope and send it out, write a letter." And the letter went out to the whole parish in Bethesda and came back basically with about, maybe it's about, maybe $3,000 for that month. And I then did something and my handwriting shows it now. I did something, I wrote everybody a thank you note for $5 or $1 or a hundred dollars, whatever. First time ever happened. So when he said, I never got a thank you in my life for the collection basket, so here's another hundred dollars. So this, that made a difference. Thank you notes count. 

That next year, it went up to $6,000 and I said, why don't we have the little children, the little ones, because it was for CYO thing. Let's let them write a note. So you can imagine, a note with big writing: "Dear Mr. Smith, thank you for the basketballs. I love playing basketball with Jimmy." 10,000 next year, 10,000. And so the simple lesson, say thank you, let people know you're appreciate it, and you're not the only charity in town, and people respond. And that's worked for me now for 48 years, it's great.

Mahan Tavakoli:
It has and that's why you channel so much of the energy in the community, again, to serving the community that needs to be served the most. Now I also know that you wanted to start a daycare center for the homeless at St. Patrick's and couldn't make that happen. What happened with that?

Fr. John Enzler:
Well, no bad feelings about this, but the city approached me. The state said we needed downtown d ay center, which is where these people, 1) get their restrooms. Imagine walking around with no restroom. And 2) they have basically there, they have no showers. So we were going to take the first two floors of my headquarters, which is at Right County Jay, across Luther King Library, great location. And the city said, "We'll pay for you to have office space nearby. And the two floors were going to be turned into showers and day programs and other things they needed." For the local pastor there, the big guy, friend of mine, I get it, he just, "John, I can't do this. It's my parish." And I went to our official ballot before that, I even said that first meeting, "Listen, if the local pastor doesn't think it's good idea, it won't happen." 

Since then, there're two new pastors. If I pull off now, they came back to me again, because there's just more openness. But it was fun, I mean that's, if it didn't happen, and yeah, you realize, okay, I did my best. It wasn't going to happen. That's okay. It's okay. Basically, it made me create some other servant leadership or something, so it's fine, but I have a dream to pull it off, in a real dream. Imagine the center, in the center of our city, a really competent day center, showers, and two hot meals in that dream, and job training, and mental health training, and everything we have there, legal work, things like that. But we weren't allowed, obviously, we lost that, that's okay. But we weren't allowed, allowed with it, so it's good.

Mahan Tavakoli:
It is, and it's having that vision and continually going after it different ways, getting people engaged, and sometimes there are setbacks and oftentimes there are many successes along the way, which is part of why you've been such an impactful leader for 40 plus years. Now I also know that even an audience with the Pope is such a tremendous honor, but you had the honor of welcoming Pope Francis to Catholic Charities here in 2015.

Fr. John Enzler:
And that was a very special time for us. That was a real gift. Our staff is excited. One part of that was interesting that they wanted me to do do something special in terms of cafeteria to get the Pope some understanding. So they said let's do some pledges, we'll do some cash service. And I said, how many can you get up? Okay. 10,000 people, 10,000. They said, that's the best you can do? It's not enough. Okay, I said okay, I'll be 25,000. That's it? I'll tell you what, I'll get a hundred thousand people to commit to this. I don't know, we should be able to do it. 

And we worked there for three or four months. And the amazing thing is the day the Pope arrived in Washington that morning, that at 2 o'clock in the morning that day, I went over a hundred thousand. It was right smack on the money and, we got next to 800 people the last day or whatever. But then to have you walk out, and he was supposed to do a prayer, anyone do a prayer. Pope Francis, he said, he wanted to be with the crowd. So he walked out and got right on the crowd. He's just a charismatic person and people loved it. So basically, yeah, but that's probably the highlight of my priesthood, if you will, something purely different and special. 

Not any priest can say they invited the Pope to your house and we did, and it went great. The other thing about that, he would normally would have gone to ate on the hill to a big dinner, a big leadership dinner with congressmen and senators. He didn't want to do that, so I'm going to have dinner with the homeless people. And he had those little Fiats usually driving him. And it wasn't that [inaudible], little fiat, he can't talk. You mentioned earlier his example, his role model, his reminder that it's not about a lot of papal, it's about service. That's his messaging, he delivers it so well. Not by words, but mostly by his personality and by his action. You know, he put in showers, he put in showers over the bag, he put showers over there.  All the Portico is now a place to get showers, green stuff.

Mahan Tavakoli:
What a magnificent leader, again, showing that leadership is example, and he is setting the example for how he wants his flock to behave and how they need to lead. Now, I also know you're very involved in different interfaith networks in the Greater Washington DC region, what have been some of the perspectives or successes as you have interfaith conversations in trying to support the most vulnerable in our community?

Fr. John Enzler:
One of our strategic goals, core values is we work with other religious sponsored groups to bring about success and service. So there's the Lutheran social services, there's Jewish social services, Methods social services, there's House of Ruth, So Others Might Eat, DC Central Kitchen, all these things and basically, we realized that people fall through the cracks. The sad thing is anybody who's homeless, many of them are really genius and they're creative. So what can happen is they can take all the services of those groups I just mentioned and tap into those, someone who's maybe homebound, someone who's maybe not as quite savvy and worked the system left behind.

So what we can do together is try to make sure that we communicate and talk and share to try to make sure that no one is left out of the game. And we can't support everybody, we know that, but we basically would all work together, makes a big difference. I did ask one of my friends, I said to him, "Would you help me do this? Would you write a check?" So he writes a check to a bunch of us and writes a check maybe for $10 million, but that would be given to a board who would insist, or at least cajole all of us to work together. And if you want some of that $10 million come in to your program, then work with us. 

It's been hard because and why is it hard? We're all so darn busy. Why is it hard? Because we're all working hard. And basically, I have a lot of time to go to a new meeting for another group, most of us don't, so we need somebody to lead the way. The other thing that happens, it's interesting, if I make that lead call, [inaudible] a bunch of things, "What's John up to now? What's he up to now?" It's not jealousy, it's just like, what's his idea? So I bet you some of the outside, you can be that board chair, and then we can just resolve together, and we did do that. People should not be falling through cracks without housing or whatever. We'd make a difference

Mahan Tavakoli:
It is and it is interesting that sometimes we become territorial with respect to the groups that we serve, rather than in some instances coming together to have even a greater impact which is a big part of what you have been after, Father John. A lot of the people that I know, respect, love, and admire have tremendous respect, love, and admiration for you, including John Veihmeyer, he talks about your leadership and how impactful your leadership is. Now one of the things I was surprised with respect to your leadership is that you said learning to say “yes” in my ministry defines who I am. What do you mean by that? And how does that define who you are learning to say yes? And how does it help you be a better leader and impact more lives?

Fr. John Enzler:
You know, and this might settle a negative, but some of my brother priests, their first answer out of their mouth is oftentimes, most times “no.” So I come and say, can I do something here? We had past priests who wanted to do a program here at your parish serve food, we'd pay for it, we'd serve it, he said no. I was like, I can't believe you said no. Why would you say yes to your people? So I came up with an idea many years ago that the most important word I can say is yes. And so if you ask me to do something for you, I'm going to say yes, I can.  

And by the way, it just played out. I guess, a young couple to be the Chair of Art, or they were sisters and brothers, Chair of Art Gamma next year. And the young man said, I got to say yes don't I? So yeah, I got to say yes. Yeah, you should. So anyway, so it defines basically who I am, because I don't see many of those. And “no’s” to me are more painful than “yes.” Yes requires some extra work sometimes, but no means somebody is really disappointed and really feels like not that important [inaudible]. I don't like that. I want to say yes as much as I can. 

And there's very few things I can't say yes to. And there's very few things I can't try. And it may be what I call a "qualified yes." So he comes in for adoption of adopt services anymore. I said, we don't have that but I can get you some place in Baltimore or the Barker foundation. So the yes is always perfect here. We got you surrounded, but it's like, we don't have it but we're going to steer you towards. But it defines who I am, that'll probably be in my tombstone, but it will be. Basically, you always try to say yes and priesthood really change others, because that yes was always there for us. I believe it and I try to...

Mahan Tavakoli:
It is a beautiful way to think about it and to serve, Father John. Now, I know you're involved in a lot of different organizations, serve on a lot of different boards. One institution that is close to my heart because it had a significant impact on me is Georgetown University. And part of the reason it was really impactful, Father John, for me is that I went there for business school and there was such a heavy emphasis on ethics. 

Now, a lot of the students didn't like that. They wanted us to move up a couple on rankings and to do that, you have to put a little bit more finance or more marketing. And Georgetown was pretty tough on sticking with no, ethics is going to be a core part of this program. So you're associated with Georgetown and you serve on the initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life. What is that all about and what are you trying to achieve there?

Fr. John Enzler:
A very good friend of mine named John Carr was the founder of that, put six some of us together. He used to work for the US Catholic Conference, he was working with social justice issues for the patients' conference and not easy job because in that job, you've got a lot of different ideas with bishops and try to pull like herding cats to get them all in the same direction. So came a time, maybe it's '65 or whatever, it's a step down and basically, he began his process. 

And we were able to help him find some resources, some money. And during COVID, it's become super successful because many of us, once every other week or so, or on some kind of a call, a zoom call, and you've got a great panel and it was a lot about ethics. It's about what values do you have? What is your character? What are the things that basically mean a lot to you? And that that those, those [inaudible]. 

I mean, actually President Obama came on your thesis book. He's probably a panel, they don't have to become president to be part of the panel. President give a speech. How many of the presidents just part among six other people talk with people like David Brooks and Mike Gerson and just great individuals come and many women, to Carol Shea and now, we have another woman [inaudible] as well. So basically, it's just I think raise our consciousness to the fact that there's a whole, we have to get our theology and our philosophy grounded so when people ask, they get support. And so that's a nice, nice thing that's going on. And I think we've got it now. And it's not just me, but others to a point now where we turn the corner, the finances are less of a, there's still always a need for money, but it's not quite mouth to mouth.  It's going pretty well.

Mahan Tavakoli:
And it is great work. And as you said, and I truly believe the ethics, which is core to the thinking, is really important for leaders all across industries and sectors. It's number one, two, and three most important for all of us to keep in mind. Now Father John, you have had a significant impact all throughout your service to the community. When you're asked for leadership thoughts, leadership resources, where do you send people? What do you find as something that serves in terms of guidance for leadership for you, and what do you recommend for others on leadership?

Fr. John Enzler:
I have to admit, I don't have any particular books or a particular method of doing it, but I think what I want to have happen is if someone wants to become a leader, I try to put them in touch with a leader. So if I can get an internship with one, or maybe, so the leader becomes kind of that's the lesson.  I think of President Jonathan Jackson Joy at a school called Don Bosco Cristo Rey out in Takoma Park, every child there is given a chance to have a job and basically, that job will allow them to pay for their tuition and every child is so far now is going to college, accepted for college. 

But what did Jack do? Do you see a job team of four people? Jack gave us, I think it's four job teams, he had to pay for that. And they put one youngster in philosophy and one youngster in business school. And these young people were seeing great university and they work that office one day which was a part of the school year. And they worked there and they got the chance to be, if you will, rub shoulders with wonderful people, men and women, and young people. 

So I think for me, it's, find the right role models and get people to say yes to that, and then let that bias most of us begin to say, this is what we're going to do. There's a story about a young girl named Jasmine. My assistant, Christie, worked with me and Christie and she just had a baby, her second. Her daughter is now seven so seven years ago. And Jasmine was in our class at Don Bosco and she basically needed a job.

I said, okay, come be my assistant. She's 17, come be my assistant just for summertime. But man, she grew so much in that job. I saw, so well you know, I was scared to death every day [inaudible], so we're always smiling. And I was free to make a mistake now. And she managed when she grew. And she gave a talk at one of our, the Nansen, the president of a college nearby who said, you have a full year scholarship right now. I want you at my school, full four-year scholarship. 

And she was special, but she was a kid who I think also had role models, is now a role model herself for other young people. I want to say yes, I think that's an important leadership position. I just believe strongly in what I call servant leadership, you lead by service. When I was working in youth ministry and we're having these big, not huge, but dance with 500 kids, I was always mopping the floor. I was always cleaning up the floor, and the kids would join in with me, but I wasn't going to say, go do that. No, I did it myself and they joined in. Those are lessons I think that kids take with them and you'll be the best, that's what you want to do, and it makes a big difference 

Mahan Tavakoli:
Those are wonderful lessons, Father John, and actually one of the reasons that I really enjoy this podcast and sharing conversations with magnificent leaders like you is that it gives people a chance for half an hour or 45 minutes to spend some time with role models like yourself, people that have truly embraced a mindset of serving others, doing it well and having an impact as a result. 

So the mindset and the desire is important, but you need to be able to do it effectively as you did, even with the fundraising that serves the community. So intentions are important, but being able to lead and get other people to come along with you is just as important, which is why I truly appreciate you taking this time to share some of your leadership experience with the Partnering Leadership community. Thank you so much, Monsignor John Enzler.

Fr. John Enzler:
I'm honored to do this. I'm honored to meet you virtually, but I'm honored to have that. And I hope that you'll call and maybe help in any way to help the next generation grow up as leaders who can make a big impact for our community. We need them and I can see them come on their own. So let's tap into those resources and make, let's put to the work to work.

Mahan Tavakoli:
Thank you, Father John.

Fr. John Enzler:
Thank you.