Welcome back to our "meet the board" blog post series. We hope you enjoy learning about our leaders, and discovering a bit about who they are and what led them to lead the organization during this transformative time. Today's interview is with board member John Norton.
How did you first learn about David & Margaret?
I had just retired and returned to Claremont from Maine when I was approached by longtime David and Margaret board member and then president Cindy Walkenbach. Cindy is a family friend, and she invited me to coffee, told me about David and Margaret and the great work it was doing for families and at-risk children. I had spent five years at Pomona College and never heard of David and Margaret. I visited the beautiful La Verne campus met with then-director Charles Rich and quickly realized it was a place dedicated in providing the opportunity for at-risk youth to change their lives for the better. It was an easy decision to accept Cindy's request and serve where I might make a difference.
What is your current occupation (or what position did you retire from)?
I'm doubly retired. I spent 23 years as a Naval Aviator and Navy Officer hunting Soviet submarines, and 20 years raising gifts for first rate colleges and universities including Pomona College in Claremont. You may be asking: "How does someone transition from hunting submarines to raising money? Well... they are very similar and rewarding: First you need good intelligence. Next you need to have lots and lots of patience. Finally, you need to know when it's time to act and then act!
What is an accomplishment you are particularly proud of?
That's a tough question! I can't cite any one particular accomplishment that stands out but there is a long list of times I've helped dedicated folks find a way to fulfill their dreams to help others and make a difference. I approached fundraising with the realization that no matter the size of a gift, it is the feeling of making a real difference to the donor that matters and provides me with a sense of accomplishment.
Do you have a quote or saying that motivates or inspires you?
John F. Kennedy was assassinated when I was a college freshman. At his inaugural, he said: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." What a great sentiment and one much needed today. I encourage you to apply the sentiment today and also try substituting the word "country" with a word like family, neighbor church, spouse...each and every day. Through my experience at David and Margaret I've come to understand that all of the staff each and every day ask how can I best serve my client.
Do you have any hobbies or unique interests?
I'm a "Maniac" at heart and love all things Maine: Fishing (catch and release), waterskiing and swimming with our grandchildren are special summer activities
Where did you grow-up? Where is home now?
I was born and raised in Coatesville Pennsylvania; a steel town located about 30 miles west of Philadelphia. My wife, Barbara and I lived for 30 years in Brunswick, Maine while I was in the Navy and in my second career at Bowdoin College. We now live in Upland after five years in Claremont.
What is an interesting fact about you?
Barbara and I created the first Bed and Breakfast in Brunswick Maine in an 1807 home which we renovated and lived in. (We were inspired by Bob Newhart).
What skills/expertise do you bring to the D&M Board?
I've served on several boards including a public library, a volunteer hospice and home owners associations. A depth of experience in community engagement and fundraising seem always to be in great demand. I'm delighted and honored to share my skills with such a great organization doing a very tough and important service for the benefit of all.