Tag Archives: John Hunt

John Hunt’s remarkable Legatus legacy

cover-october16Even though John Hunt has stepped aside as Legatus’ executive director, he remains as busy as ever.

In his new role as Legatus’ ambassador at large, Hunt in recent weeks has crisscrossed the country visiting chapters in Oregon, Washington, New Jersey and the Midwest. He helps coach leaders of struggling chapters, visits chapters celebrating milestone anniversaries and mentors leadership teams of new and developing chapters.


Hunt’s new role calls on him to impart insights garnered from more than 20 years in Legatus.

“Legatus is made up of legates — ambassadors — and my role is to be an ambassador to ambassadors,” said Hunt, 76, who served for more than eight years as Legatus’ executive director until he stepped back from the role in July.

Stephen Henley, Legatus’ current executive director, credits his predecessor with positioning Legatus for continued success.

“John has been one of the best supervisors I’ve had in my professional career,” Henley said. “He sets the goals up for you. He’s direct, but at the same time, he’s very supportive of you as an individual and employee.”

Hunt became executive director in 2008 at a point when Legatus was struggling financially and losing members. His background as a community banker, his experience leading a vibrant Legatus chapter in Chicago, and his six years serving on Legatus’ board of governors enabled him to steer the organization through, at times, rocky transitions.

Hunt’s expertise stabilized Legatus’ financial status and positioned it to grow membership and establish new chapters across the country. Hunt said he’s pleased that the progress aligns with Legatus founder Tom Monaghan’s desire for continued growth.

“Given all that Mr. Monaghan has given and done for the Church, I’m glad Legatus’ success is corresponding with his vision,” Hunt said. “But there is still room for a lot of growth ahead of us.”


John Hunt accepts his 1998-1999 Legatus Ambassador of the Year award

John Hunt accepts his 1998-1999 Legatus Ambassador of the Year award

Hunt said he and Kathie, his wife of 54 years, joined Legatus 23 years ago after a member couple in the fledgling Chicago chapter invited them to a monthly event.

“From the very beginning Kathie and I have been passionate about Legatus and its impact on our faith lives. The rest,” he said, “is history.”

Hunt said he recognized early on that Legatus was more than just a good organization in service to the Church. “In the 21st century, it’s critical that Catholic lay executives not only exhibit their leadership in the way they conduct business, but also in the manner in which they interact with their parish, with their diocese and with the broader community. The idea of being lay apostles in the marketplace just kind of hit me as a good thing.”

John and Kathie helped grow the Chicago Chapter from the 10 or 12 early member couples. John became the membership chairman and founding president when the chapter chartered with 22 member couples in 1998. He was chapter president for five years.

Hunt’s “right hand” in Chicago was Trish Kelly, the chapter coordinator whom he described as his “conscience.”

She sought to make every monthly event have the feel of a quality wedding reception. Kelly said she learned a lot from Hunt.

“I used to call him Mr. Legatus,” Kelly said. “He really believes in Legatus’ mission and he lives that out very faithfully. He has a positive, upbeat attitude and a good sense of humor. No matter how tough things got sometimes, he just never got down, which is amazing.”


John and Kathie Hunt share a laugh with retired Chicago auxiliary Bishop John Vlazny in 2011

John and Kathie Hunt share a laugh with retired Chicago auxiliary Bishop John Vlazny in 2011

In early 2008, after Hunt had already been asked to return to Legatus’ board of governors, the right set of circumstances presented itself. Legatus was looking for a new executive director, and Hunt, who had recently retired from banking and was leading a Chicago nonprofit, seized the opportunity.

“My eight-and-a- half years as executive director were the most rewarding and invigorating years of my life, professionally speaking,” said Hunt, who remains as committed as ever to Legatus. “This is not a Catholic Rotary Club. This is about Catholics growing in their faith in ways that their member peers in the chapter can relate to.”

As to what makes a successful Legatus chapter, Hunt said there are an array of best practices, especially an attention to detail at monthly chapter events.

“It should all be very well done: the tone of the Mass, the quality of the homily, the dedication and commitment of the chaplain, the professionalism with which the board and president lead the chapter,” he explained. “It has to be clear to those in attendance that planning has gone into the event.”

However, a chapter’s success begins with a recognition of Legatus’ mission.

“And that is to help members study, live and spread the Catholic faith in all that they do,” said Hunt, explaining that the Catholic business executives in Legatus are called to be models and examples of ethics, morality and Christianity in the marketplace.

“The great majority of members are operating small, family-owned businesses, and many of them are not independently wealthy,” he said. “These are just good, hard-working people, dedicated to their Catholic faith, who come together once a month. And it doesn’t matter what table in the room you sit at. You can be comfortable with the fact that the conversation is going to be invigorating, uplifting and consistent with the teachings of the Church.”

Henley described Hunt as a father figure who treats everyone with respect.

“He’s easy to talk to,” Henley said. “There’s not a person I’ve met that he hasn’t been able to have a conversation with. That’s evident in the way he lives his life. He’s set the stage for me to be successful. I’m really excited that he’s still in the Legatus family.”

Hunt said he’s grateful for the confidence that Monaghan has placed in him.

“I am so enthused and gratified about the opportunity to continue to serve Legatus as an ambassador,” Hunt said. “To me, that is as gratifying, satisfying and rewarding as anything else I could do.”

BRIAN FRAGA is a Legatus magazine staff writer.

John Hunt: An ambassador indeed

After successfully leading Legatus’ day-to-day operations for more than eight years, John Hunt has stepped down as executive director. John is not leaving Legatus, however, but has transitioned right into the newly created role of “ambassador at large” where he will continue to visit and support chapters. (See article) So, while I am grateful that we are not saying goodbye to John, I want to honor him for his faithful leadership.

Tom Monaghan

John’s service to Legatus started long before he assumed the role of executive director in 2008. Indeed, John and his ever-supportive wife Kathie were the founders of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter, which was chartered in June 1998. John was the inaugural president.

His passion for Legatus’ mission quickly got the board’s attention, leading to his initial nomination to the board of governors where he served from 1999-2005. He was our finance committee chairman. After being off the board for a term, we asked him back in January 2008. At this time, we were looking for a new executive director, and John was absolutely the right man for the job.

As he transitioned from board member to executive director, he seemed tailor-made for the position; he possessed both the people and organizational skills that Legatus needed during this stage in its development. Through John’s steady hand and confident leadership, he led Legatus not only to record growth in terms of new members, but also financial and organizational stability. We have an award-winning magazine, an impressive website, our forums have been expanded, the endowment is at an all-time high, and the organization is well respected across the country.

Personally, I am extremely grateful to John for his service. As I have worked closely with him on innumerable aspects of Legatus, one thing has always shown through — his dedication to and care for each and every person within Legatus and the Church. Whether it be a staff member, a longtime board member or someone who does not qualify for Legatus, John consistently strives to be Christ to whomever he interacts with. Is this not what each of us is called to do as ambassadors for Christ? Thank you, John!

In conclusion, I would be remiss if I did not recognize — and thank — John’s ever-faithful wife Kathie for her ongoing dedication and support of Legatus.

TOM MONAGHAN is Legatus’ founder and chairman.

Legatus announces new executive director, HQ relocation

AVE MARIA, Florida (July 13, 2016) — After more than eight years of successfully leading Legatus’ day-to-day operations, John Hunt has stepped down as executive director, a position he has held since March 2008.

John Hunt

John Hunt

“After considerable thought and prayer, now seems like the right time for a leadership transition for the organization,” Hunt said. Legatus founder and chairman “Tom [Monaghan] and I have been talking about succession planning for some time and what this might look like both for me personally and for the organization. With the current financial and organizational health of Legatus, now seems like the opportune time.”

Monaghan commented, “John has done a tremendous job leading Legatus to a place of organizational stability and building strong bench strength among our staff. The beauty of the arrangement is that John will not be leaving Legatus, but just taking on a new role — one that he essentially designed.”

Effective immediately, Hunt will assume a new role as “ambassador at large.” In addition to assisting with the leadership transition, Hunt will continue to visit and support chapters across the country as well as represent Legatus at key functions.

Stephen Henley

Stephen Henley

Stephen Henley, who has served as director of Legatus’ Central Region for almost three years has been selected as the new executive director.

“I am looking forward to working with Stephen and am excited about the future of Legatus under his leadership,” Monaghan said. “He has distinguished himself in each of his previous positions and I am confident he will do the same as our new executive director.”

Commenting on his appointment, Henley said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to work with John [Hunt] and the tremendous staff  we have in the organization, as well as serve the members, who are obviously the reason Legatus exists.”

Also last week, Legatus’ Board of Governors voted to relocate Legatus’ headquarters from its current location in Florida to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tom Monaghan

Tom Monaghan

“With the transition in leadership, I plan to work closely with Stephen in both mentoring him as well as taking an active role in the continued growth of Legatus. It seemed important for both the executive director [Henley] and the headquarters to be close to where I am,” said Monaghan. “Therefore, I asked the Board of Governors to consider moving the headquarters back to Domino’s Farms in Ann Arbor. I told them that I would cover the moving costs, since it was at my request. In addition to it being where I am, having the home office in Ann Arbor will create many organizational efficiencies for Legatus,” Monaghan continued.

Monaghan and the Legatus leadership are acutely aware of what this transition could mean for the Legatus home office staff and are working closely with each member to ease the burden of the relocation to Michigan or personal transition if a relocation is not possible.

Monaghan concluded, “We have a great staff at Legatus, both in the home office and in the field. Furthermore, with the new roles being assumed by Stephen and John, I am enthusiastic about the future direction of Legatus and believe we are poised to continue to support our current membership and reach new members in the pursuit of our mission.”


Back in business: John Hunt values Healthnetwork’s assistance

John Hunt has always valued Legatus’ relationship with Healthnetwork Foundation, but when his severe back pain incapacitated him late last year, Legatus’ executive director realized that value firsthand.

Pat Ridolfi, Healthnetwork

Pat Ridolfi

On Christmas Eve, Hunt experienced a severe attack of back pain which traveled from his lower back and radiated down his right leg. He spent two hours on the floor, unable to move until his son found him and helped him into a chair.

Doctors subsequently diagnosed him with retrolisthesis of L1 and 2. Hunt had been going to a chiropractor on a maintenance basis for manipulation for a number of years, but he knew this episode was different. He realized his situation would require more than manipulation because simple movements like standing too long or bending over to pick something up proved to be too difficult.

Hunt called Healthnetwork and was immediately referred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), the No. 1-ranked rehabilitation hospital in the U.S. Even better, Hunt and his wife Kathie were in Chicago at the time, so travel was not an issue.

Pat, a Healthnetwork medical coordinator, secured Hunt’s first appointment the next day. When he arrived, Hunt was greeted at the elevator by Matthew Ginsberg, global patient services business process manager, who went through the necessary paperwork so he could get started.

Hunt saw Dr. Alexander Sheng, who was able to identify the crux of the problem. He ordered the appropriate scans of Hunt’s back and diagnosed the problem immediately. Hunt was then introduced to Davalyn Partain, who began his physical therapy program that day.

John Hunt, Legatus’ executive director, and his wife Kathie are founding members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter

John Hunt, Legatus’ executive director, and his wife Kathie are founding members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter

Over the next two weeks Hunt had a series of follow-up visits to RIC and received exercise assignments between visits. His short-term goal, to fulfill his responsibilities at the Annual Legatus Summit by Jan. 28, was accomplished.

“My experience with Healthnetwork reaffirmed my belief that Legatus’ affiliation with this organization is a valuable Legatus member benefit that should be called upon whenever a family health crisis arises,” Hunt said.

Hunt said that what impressed him the most was the manner in which he was received at RIC and how diligently and professionally they helped him achieve his short- and long-term goals. Hunt said his rehabilitation continues to go well, and he is grateful for Healthnetwork’s assistance.

PAT RIDOLFI is a medical coordinator at Healthnetwork Foundation.

HEALTHNETWORK is a Legatus membership benefit, a healthcare “concierge service” that provides members and their families access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. One Call Starts It All: (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. Email: help@healthnetworkfoundation.org

HEALTHNETWORK FOUNDATION is a non-profit whose mission is to improve medicine for all by connecting CEOs with leading hospitals and their doctors to provide the best access to world-class care and increase philanthropic funding for medical research.

The war on truth, the desire for peace

In so many of its forms, peace seems to be more elusive than ever in our fast-paced world. For many of us, our hectic lives hinder our efforts to seek peace, cultivate peace and ultimately achieve an interior peace of heart.

John Hunt

John Hunt

Jesus tells us in John’s gospel: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You have heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”

Our secular culture is at war with Truth, and so it’s at war with the Catholic Church. As such, the culture is at war with us — you and me. It would be simple to conclude that living an authentic Christian life is an impossibility, but such is not the case because we are believers. We accept the fact that it falls to those who know Jesus Christ to be his ambassadors, to be other Christs, to be Christ himself.

The peace we seek, the peace that exceeds all other, is a product of living a faithful life — a life of prayer and mortification, temperance and perseverance, trust and fidelity. Because, you see, the anger and strife, the sinfulness and greed, appear to be winning in the marketplace, in the media and in the political arena. This apparent success could cause us to accept the triumph of evil. But be reminded that St. Augustine preached “the tranquility of order,” that peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity.

As Legatus members, we understand our obligation to serve the Church, our families, our employees and the community. But this gift of service can be tenuous if we believe it to be of our own design, of our own diligence. The longer we live and the more we insert ourselves into the culture, we come to appreciate the fact that it’s all a gift — a gift of the Holy Spirit.

May we be comforted by Our Lord’s words through St. John: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” His truly is an interior peace beyond all understanding.

JOHN HUNT is Legatus’ executive director. He and his wife Kathie are charter members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter.

A freedom, a duty, a privilege

Some years ago I recall Warren Buffett confessing his gratitude for having been born in the United States in the 20th century. He acknowledged that mankind has never before enjoyed the level of cultural, scientific and physical advances Americans enjoy today.

John Hunt

John Hunt

During Legatus’ 2008 pro-life conference in Washington, D.C., we were privileged to have an audience with recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. In the Q&A that followed the justice’s remarks, a question lamented the fact that the courts, and in particular the U.S. Supreme Court, too often fail to confirm the Christian virtues we treasure.

Scalia’s response reminded the questioner and all present that the citizenry would be better served if it elected representatives at the local, state and federal level who exemplify ethical and moral norms consistent with our Catholic Christian faith.

Of course, Justice Scalia was correct that we, in the first instance, elect those representatives who will infuse the culture with a Christian tone and conduct. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “Submission to authority and co-responsibility for the common good make it morally obligatory to pay taxes [and] to exercise the right to vote” (# 2240). A moral obligation! But isn’t the exercise of the right to vote more than an obligation?

I’ve been privileged to vote in local, state and federal elections for more years than I care to remember. However, I have always been struck by the sense of privilege, if not downright joy, with which voting citizens address this responsibility.

I had this experience in March as I waited in line to cast my ballot in the Florida primary.

The tone of the conversation among my fellow voters was one of shared responsibility for the task at hand — to elect representatives who will be responsible for serving the common good. It was clear that my fellow voters considered it an honor to have a role in the future of this great country. After all, the right to vote is an extension of all the freedoms we enjoy.

While the process of campaigning is often arcane, cumbersome and inefficient and while the public officials to whom we entrust our well-being are all too often found lacking, the freedoms we enjoy — including the right to vote our conscience — should be treasured as gifts worthy of our appreciation to God for continually blessing us. Truly, God has blessed America.

JOHN HUNT is Legatus’ executive director. He and his wife Kathie are charter members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter.

Legatus was founded for times like this

It’s clear that Legatus’ founding in 1987 was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in a period of change in the Church and the culture following Vatican II. It was also a response to Pope St. John II’s call to the New Evangelization.

John Hunt

John Hunt

And the response of the Catholic business community over these past 28 years has been an example of executives embracing the scriptural passage: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more” (Lk 12:48).

This is not to suggest that our members would not have served their fellow man had they never been introduced to Legatus. But the Catholic business community continues to be drawn to Legatus and its mission as witnessed by the 2015 membership growth to heights previously unattained.

Year-end executive membership of 2,634 and a comparable number of spouse members is a 6.7% increase over the prior year’s high watermark. This endorsement of Legatus is particularly evident in the six new chapters that achieved charter status in 2015: Austin, Texas; Rockford, Ill.; Lake Charles, La.; Hartford, Conn.; Washington, D.C.; and St. Charles, Ill. As always, I encourage you to share your Legatus experience with your fellow parishioners and executive friends in order that any executive, anywhere in the U.S. who appreciates our mission, is given the opportunity to join.

As you read this edition of Legatus magazine, hundreds of members will have gathered in Orlando for the 2016 Legatus Summit. A highlight is the presentation of our awards for outstanding service.

Ambassador of the Year Award: Randy Hammond, formerly of the Denver Chapter and now a member in Phoenix, has been the consummate example of sharing Legatus — both in his personal and professional life. Randy’s Catholicism literally transforms his office environment.

Bowie Kuhn Special Award for Evangelization: Mike Heck of the St. Louis Chapter has been a source of hope and a strong example of Christian love to his peers both within Legatus and without.

Courage in the Marketplace Award: David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress. In 2015, the Center’s videos exposed the truth about Planned Parenthood and prompted Congress to initiate its own investigation. Read all about the Summit and our outstanding award winners in the March issue of Legatus magazine.

JOHN HUNT is Legatus’ executive director. He and his wife Kathie are charter members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter.

The natural order is a call to trust

My thoughts have recently been drawn to the concept of order — and the fact that there is a sense of peace and tranquility that flows from order in its various forms.

John Hunt

John Hunt

Consider a symphony orchestra performing a work by Beethoven, a concerto by Mozart or an opera by Verdi. The beauty, the elegance and the sheer perfection of more than 100 musicians, each fulfilling their role together with the other members of the orchestra, is a gift of beauty resulting from the order demanded by the composer.

At a more mundane level, consider the ordered movement of motor vehicles as they traverse the highways and byways, moving on green and stopping on red.

While such basic order, mere traffic flow, is taken for granted as we make our daily commute or drive to fulfill our various responsibilities, it is, nevertheless, the product of the interaction among individuals who acknowledge right order in following the rules of the road.

While such activities — predicated upon the mutual respect of others — are common all around us, such details of daily life pale in comparison to the natural order that God has set in motion (and holds in motion).

No right-thinking person can deny the unfathomable order of the universe with its myriad stars, constellations and planets — not to mention the order that frames the countless other examples of creation.

And we know that God’s highest form of creation is man, created in his own image. Human life — with its unique attributes of free will and intelligence, billions of unrepeatable individual human persons since the beginning of time — is a miraculous gift.

However, the beauty of order in all of its various forms and dimensions resides in the trust between a good and loving God and His creatures. Such is the essence of Divine Mercy — Jesus, I trust in you!

My prayer is that the generosity of God who creates order in all that is true, good and beautiful will insert itself into the lives of His sons and daughters, thereby fostering trust in our relationships, with those for whom we bear responsibility — our employees, our clients and most importantly the members of our families.

The state of the culture in the early years of the 21st century cries out for each of us to live order courageously and to trust eternally.

JOHN HUNT is Legatus’ executive director. He and his wife Kathie are charter members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter.

Marriage: Legates must fight the good fight

I never cease to be amazed at the wisdom of our nation’s founders — at their reliance upon God as they cobbled together a Declaration of Independence and Constitution unlike any other in the history of mankind.

John Hunt

John Hunt

They left us a legacy for the ages: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those gifts are our inheritance … but only if we preserve them. There are forces that would eviscerate our national heritage: Supreme Court decisions that impugn the sacrament of Marriage and forces that deny the existence of innocent life and demean the value of the elderly and the infirm. This generation must answer for these scourges.

In pondering these massive challenges to our faith and our nation, I ask: “Why now?,” and if now, “why me?” And the Lord’s response to all of us is clear: “Why not you?”

Legates are responding in great numbers to the urgent crisis of marriage and family in our nation. They understand the role they can play in securing the integrity of marriage, both now and into the future.

Don’t believe that marriage is under attack? A recent Chicago Tribune column noted with some glee that 20 countries — from Belgium and Canada to Spain and Ireland — hold two things in common: all have legalized same-sex partnerships and all have more adherents to Catholicism than any other religious group. The implication here is that the Catholic Church should “fall into line” with the prevailing culture. Sure, why not? Let’s all just “get along.”

While driving through the beautiful Midwest last month, I listened to talk radio’s most prominent personality. In a monologue on the same sex “marriage” issue, he noted that the secularist attack is focused directly and deliberately on the Catholic Church.

The challenge to defend this irreplaceable sacrament is daunting, but it’s our duty — hierarchy, clergy and laity — to fulfill our roles in the culture war.

I for one am emboldened by the challenges we face. I believe I speak for all Legates in assuring our shepherds that we leaders in the Catholic business community will carry the Church’s message into the marketplace and the public square so long as the conflict wages and until, as we have been assured, Jesus Christ and His Church prevail.

JOHN HUNT is Legatus’ executive director. He and his wife Kathie are charter members of Legatus’ Chicago Chapter.

Legatus re-charters its Rockford Chapter

Bishop David Malloy calls members to stand with Christ

chartering-massWhen Legatus members stand together with the Church in witnessing the Catholic faith, they “stand with Christ,” Bishop David Malloy said to the 20 founding member-couples of Legatus’ newly re-chartered Rockford Chapter.

“We’re going to be asked to be faithful witnesses,” he continued in his homily, noting that the world needs the truth of Christ. “Our task is to be faithful, to be joyful … to keep our eyes on Christ.”

Work to do

The chartering ceremony and commissioning of officers took place on June 30 at St. Rita Church in Rockford. Festivities continued at Giovanni’s Restaurant where members and guests socialized over dinner. Bishop Malloy spoke at the dinner and later answered members’ questions.


The bishop focused on the need for Catholics, including the laity, “to commit a blatant act of faith” as American society continues to move away from what had been common Judeo-Christian values and worldview.

Bishop Malloy asked them also for their prayers and support for him and for their parishes. “Your willingness to come here [to Legatus and] be part of this chartering says, ‘I’m willing to live what Christ has told us.’”

Legatus’ executive director John Hunt noted that the members’ work would determine the impact that Legatus has in the diocese — now and in the future.

“All of you are founders” of the Rockford Chapter, he said, calling it a “happy burden.”

Legatus, he said, offers members a once-a-month date night; a chance to interact with other senior executives and share the “burdens of leadership;” a means to grow one’s personal faith life; a vehicle for living the New Evangelization; and an opportunity to walk with the Church as it navigates various threats to faith.


John Morrissey

John Morrissey

John Morrissey and his wife Fran have been the main promoters of the chapter’s re-chartering. Rockford was initially founded on Sept. 19, 2001. At the dinner, Morrissey called Legatus a support group — “an enabling group” to help members “hopefully to become a better businessman.”

Legatus provides “always a positive, upbeat, you-can-do-it” atmosphere, he said.

Nancy Haskell, director of Legatus’ Great Lakes Region, said the Morrisseys worked hard to resurrect the Rockford Chapter.

“They are a remarkable couple, and a great gift to Legatus and the Diocese of Rockford,” she said. “This chapter has a great board and will continue to do well.”

AMANDA HUDSON is the news editor of The Observer. This article was originally published in The Observer’s July 13 issue. Legatus staff contributed to this article.