John Hunt: The entrepreneurial spirit must be cultivated, practiced, and protected . . .
Prior to joining Legatus as its executive director, I enjoyed a career in banking. Community banking, actually. That career path was not accidental, although at certain times it was clear that the Holy Spirit was guiding every step.
My years in banking were rewarding in many ways. I chose community banking (or it chose me) because of my proximity to my clients, be they families, civic organizations, governmental units or local businesses. The responsibility for serving a segment of the community’s financial needs was a privilege.
Not surprisingly, my three-decade career was punctuated by learning hard lessons, encountering contradictions and observing the wisdom, virtue, perseverance and integrity of so many good people.
The entrepreneurs I served were particularly inspiring. These are the men and women who risked so much in their desire to achieve, provide for their families and contribute to the quality of life in the community. As defined by Merriam-Webster: “en-tre-pre-neur, noun: one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.”
Yes, to one degree or another we all encounter risk — in the work we perform, in our travels to and fro, or in the plans we make to create better lives for our families. But the entrepreneur “risks it all” every day, every month, every year. Many succeed, but many more fail. Yet the passion to “accomplish,” to leave an indelible mark, however insignificant, on the world and on the culture burns within the heart of the entrepreneur.
Nowhere is the entrepreneurial assumption of risk in service to Our Lord and His Church more visible than in the membership of Legatus. The majority of Legates are or were the founders, owners or family successors to a dream — a dream that was then placed before the Lord as a gift, trusting that He would “prosper the work of our hands” (Ps 90:17).
But this entrepreneurial spirit must be cultivated, practiced, and protected if it is to survive. From our nation’s earliest days and under the inspiration of our Founders, the United States has been a land of opportunity, protected by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. It’s been carefully nurtured by people of good will, all under the protection of God.
May our prayer be that the spirit of freedom and free enterprise that marked our country’s founding reside in our hearts — and in those who lead us in these challenging times. God Bless America! LM
JOHN HUNT is Legatus’ executive director. He and his wife Kathie are charter members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter.