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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

An Interview with John A Berry

Gordon: When did you attend Harvard Business School. what degree did you earn, what was your favorite subject, and why was it your


John: I attended Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Executive Management Programs and took two programs. One in Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management and the other in Outcome Measurements. Both these programs allowed me to develop end hone the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to position St. Vincent de Paul to be both effective and impactful in serving the needs of the people we help.

Gordon: When did you serve as Senior Nuclear Engineer at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and what were your primary responsibilities?

John: I worked for the NRC from 1983 to 1987. I held two positions; one in the Operator Licensing Branch working in evaluation of the licensed personnel who operate Boiling Water Reactors in the United States. I also served as the Senior Resident Inspector onsite at the Shorehman Nuclear Power Station; a reactor under construction in NY.

Gordon: When were you appointed Manager, Training Services at GE Nuclear and what did you enjoy most about your work?

John: Working with people across the world both on the GE staff and those operating GE designed reactors to help them be better at what they did.

Gordon: When you serve as President/CEO of CATCO/Westinghouse and what were your primary responsibilities?

John: We were in the very early stages of the development of virtual reality computer based training systems designed for both the training, pre-job planning, and emergency response.

Gordon: Of what are you most proudest when you were Manager, Business Sales at CompUSA?

John: The growth and success of the teams I led.

Gordon: When did you serve as Chief Executive Officer at St. Vincent de Paul Georgia and provide our readers with an overview of what you accomplished?

John: I was CEO of SVdP Georgia from 2006 to 2020. In that role I had leadership of one of the oldest, largest and most impactful nonprofits serving Georgia; serving people in their efforts to achieve self-sufficiency and stability by providing financial, material, and educational programs and support. Scope of operations includes social services, education, retail operations, logistics, warehouse and distribution and housing, with a span that includes headquarters operations and distribution/processing center in Atlanta as well as 36 food pantries, 16 retail thrift stores, 5 Family Support Centers, and 76 local affiliated units with over 5000 volunteers across the State of Georgia.

Leadership of a successful $7.5 M Capital Campaign to purchase, repurpose, and expand service at the organizations 50,000 sq. ft. campus in Chamblee, GA

Led the development of Strategic Plans in 2007, 2012, and 2017 that resulted in creation and refinement of new Vision and Mission focused on establishment of programs fostering and supporting systemic change and new approaches to helping people in need.

Successfully steered the organization through the economic downturn of 2008 – 2011 and the resultant impact on donations and operating revenue.

Lead the due diligence, negotiation, legal, and cultural integrations processes that resulted in the merger of the Sullivan Center, a thirty year old nonprofit serving Atlanta, into the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in October 2012.

Relationship building and fundraising efforts resulted in the donation by SunTrust Bank to SVdP Georgia of a building and land valued at over half a million dollars.

Gordon: When were you appointed Incoming National President National Council of the United States, Society of St. Vincent de Paul and what are you primary responsibilities?

John: I was elected National President in January 2023 and will take office October 1st. As National President I will have servant leadership responsibility for the Society nationwide as well as Chairing the National Board of Directors.

Gordon: Please share with our readers the freelance work you also do.

John: I do consulting in Strategic Planning, Mission and Vision definition and refinement, development and fundraising, and organizational dynamics.

Gordon: What impact has poverty had on the Unite States? Approximately how many people in the United States in live poverty? How can parishes help address poverty the United States? Should the challenges of poverty be addressed by priests in the pulpit?

John: We are called by Jesus in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, and visit those isolated from society. So yes, the subject of poverty must be one that is addressed by Priests from the Pulpit and by all those who profess to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. The impact of poverty on the population of the US and the world is deep and profound. IN addition to the obvious issues of suffering and want, the generational aspects of poverty and the destruction of hopes and dreams caused by poverty is profound.

Gordon Thank you for an inspirational interview.

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