Conor Gallagher, 37, has a lot on his plate. The former law clerk is the CEO of TAN Books/ St. Benedict Press and the executive director of the new Benedict Leadership Institute at Belmont Abbey College. Gallagher has been involved in managing every phase of St. Benedict Press, a company his father helped to found in 2006. He helped the company to acquire TAN Books in 2008. Gallagher has also been a longtime adjunct professor of philosophy and political philosophy at Belmont Abbey College. He and his wife have ten children, and are expecting twins. A founding member of Legatus’ Charlotte chapter, Gallagher spoke with Legatus magazine staff writer Brian Fraga.
What is the Benedict Leadership Institute?
Belmont Abbey has always been concerned with developing the next generation of leaders and so we founded this institute in 2016. When we put this together a year ago, we decided that Carl Anderson, the supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus, would be the inaugural recipient of our annual leadership award that we’ll be giving for great Catholic leadership. We gave it to Carl specifically because of his defending of Christians in the Middle East.
Who runs the Benedict Leadership Institute?
I’m the executive director and our abbot, Placid Solari, and Dr. Bill Thierfelder, the president of Belmont Abbey College, are also on the executive committee. We’re also very active members in our Legatus chapter, which I think is pretty neat. Legatus is all about Catholic leadership, and here we are, three members of this local chapter, running this institute at Belmont Abbey, trying to help the next generation of leaders — people who will be Legatus members one day.
When did you join Legatus?
Our chapter was founded about eight months ago. I didn’t think I would have time for it at first, but I went to the first meeting, and realized, “Wow this was the best date night that I could possibly ask for with my wife.” You have the rosary, Mass, you have a good social environment with all these other people who are in executive positions like me, so I can relate to them. Then we have a great dinner and a great speaker. Aside from the spiritual benefits, it’s a great date night.
Are you still teaching at Belmont Abbey College?
This is the first school year that I haven’t taught in a long time, but I have a good reason. I demoted myself to teaching high school this year because I now have two high school students at home. We homeschool and — this even more exciting — I brought in six other students from homeschool families, and I’m teaching them US history and US constitutional law. We’re actually doing a mock court in federal court with the judge I used to clerk for.
Your family business, St. Benedict Press, acquired TAN Books in 2008 and saved it from bankruptcy. How did that happen?
Just like any acquisition, it’s a very challenging process to go through. You have this merging of cultures, with different employees from different businesses, and you have to create a new kind of culture. We had to discontinue a handful of titles for different reasons, but we also focused on bringing out new and improved editions of these great classics, and we quickly evolved to a multimedia company and started producing high-quality videos. We recently created a documentary on Mary called Queen of Heaven, and it’s been called the best documentary since Bishop Robert Barron’s Catholicism.
How do you balance all your responsibilities, especially as a father of ten with twins on the way?
It’s very simple. Marry a saint. That’s all you gotta do. The second thing is to pray like it all depends on God, and to work like it all depends on you.
What are your hobbies?
I have a new addiction: clay shooting. I’m fairly new at it, and I’m not very good, but going out there with a 12-gauge shotgun and blowing stuff out of the sky, it’s a blast, pun intended. Every morning I do a boot camp–style workout, but if you want to have a good time, go clay shooting.