Interview with Mark Hacker

Michael Gerrity: I'm Michael Gerrity, Chief Advancement Officer of the Midwest Augustinians. I'm speaking today with Mark Hacker. Mark is a graduate of St. Rita High School in Chicago, Villanova University, and Villanova University Law School. Young as he is, Mark is currently Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Motorola Solutions Incorporated, a post to which he was promoted last year. Mark is a long standing, enthusiastic supporter of the Augustinians. In addition to helping his alma maters, including service as a member of the Board of Directors of St. Rita High School, Mark also serves on the Province's Advancement Council and is Vice-Chair of the Continuing our Journey of Faith campaign. Mark and his wife Mindy reside with their two beautiful children in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Good morning, Mark.

Mark Hacker: Morning.

Gerrity: Thank you very much for taking the time from what is obviously a very busy schedule and giving some of it with us. We really appreciate it.

Hacker: My pleasure. This is a priority for me.

Gerrity: Thank you. Mark, we're just going to ask you a few questions for the audience's benefit and, of course, just answer them from your heart with whatever you feel is appropriate. All right?

Hacker: Sure.

Gerrity: Could you please share with us how you first came to know the Augustinians?

Hacker: Sure. I first came to know the Augustinians in eighth grade. I was introduced to Father Pat Murphy who was then the principal of St. Rita High School. A funny story and tell me Michael if I'm going too far here. I'll pull back, but you just tell me if I'm ...

Gerrity: No, no, let it come from the heart for us.

Hacker: The funny story ... As I was looking to select a high school, we knew we were going... I was going to go to a Catholic high school. We had started our due diligence on the various schools. After we visited St. Rita, my parents told me I could pick any high school I wanted except St. Rita because they said that the facilities were so old, and the campus was not the prettiest, and that kind of thing. They were concerned about the infrastructure.

Then we met Father Murphy. Father Patrick Murphy quickly became a very important person in my life and in my family's life. Within one meeting with Father Murphy we quickly changed. My parents changed their views, and we all knew immediately this was the place for me. It was because of the passion and love that Father Murphy exuded, and the fact that we knew St. Rita was much more than just the buildings. There was a spirit and an energy and a purpose there that was something that we wanted to be a part of. It really started with Father Murphy. Then from there, it was many of the Augustinians that taught at St. Rita fast become friends not only to me but to my entire family.

I can remember Friday nights where Father Murphy or Brother Jack Hibbard would come over for coffee and cake, and we'd be laughing until 10 o'clock at night just sharing stories. It was family. It wasn't just school. It really was family. I'd say outside of my family, the Augustinians, in particular during my time at St. Rita, had the biggest influence on my life.

Gerrity: That's an incredible story. You see we couldn't have made that up. That really says more than a thousand good marketing pieces could because it comes from the heart, and it talks about a human impact that obviously you've carried with you for many years. Let me ask this, other than this wonderful Father Murphy and Brother Jack, are there other Augustinians you'd like to point out or just to tell us about or have impacted your life?

Hacker: Sure. There's many, but I'd say Father Bernie Scianna was a major influence and continues to be a major influence on my life. I met Father Bernie at St. Rita, and to this day, Father Bernie is like a compass for me. I think when things get rough, or I get pulled in a lot of directions and priorities start to get out of whack, it takes one conversation with Father Bernie or just spending time in his presence, and I start to get that compass pointed in the right direction again. So he's always been a tremendous influence.

Father Walter McNicholas who has passed on, but while at St. Rita was just so kind. I can remember when he would put his hand on your shoulder when you were walking down the hallways. No matter how bad things were, things were better when he just put his hand on your shoulder or looked you in the eye because he had a sense of knowing when you were troubled and could do just a small act like that. And you knew you had someone on your side, and you knew you had someone you could lean on. He was always this positive energy that everybody gravitated to which was wonderful.

Then I would say that Father McCarthy as well. Now I didn't know Father McCarthy very well while I was at St. Rita, but now over the years I've really been impacted by his leadership and seeing what he's done at St. Rita, especially with the move to the newer campus. He's done a phenomenal job.

When I look at the Augustinians during my formative days, I looked at them as people that were helping develop a foundation for me and for my life going forward. As I look at them now as I've gotten older and have had more experience, I see now also the tremendous leadership skills that they bring. I look to people like Father Bernie, in particular, and Father McCarthy as great leaders who are transforming an organization, in many ways, and doing just a tremendous job at it.

Gerrity: Thank you Mark. That was an outstanding answer. The next question may seem trite given what you just said, but you work in the very tough business world. I've worked in Washington, New York, and I know sometimes it's easy to get lost in all the secularism. Some people have told me they don't think orders of the Church are as relevant today, if at all, as they once were. What would you comment? Do you think a role or an order like the Augustinians is relevant as a place in today's society?

Hacker: Michael, I'm really passionate about this question. I think we need the Augustinians more than ever and the orders in general more than ever. I think life has become so fast-paced. There's so many distractions. I'm guilty of this, people have their cell phones attached to their head. It's tougher to find time to be with family and to put electronic devices away and to just be human with each other. One of the things that the Augustinians do better than anyone or any group I've been around is value and emphasize this notion of community first. To me, that community just means being with each other, in the moment, having some quiet time with one another, actually listening to people rather than always being on transmit mode or looking at a screen.

The Augustinians, like I said... When I lose my way, and things get too hectic and I start to lose focus on what's important in life, if I walk by something that reminds me of St. Rita or the Augustinians or Villanova, I get a little... It causes me to pause, just for a second, and it starts to ground me a little bit more because I know what was important to the Augustinians. I know how I felt when I was in that right place with them which was being in the moment with the people around you and caring about their needs and not letting yourself get pulled in so many directions where you forget about that.

Gerrity: Thank you very much. That helps a lot. I gather--You're helping this Continuing Our Journey of Faith campaign. You're helping it a lot with your leadership, and your reaching out to people, your example of stewardship, sharing gifts, and I know we're not the only ones you share with, frankly. We're not the only ones that ask you. Can you tell me why you're making that extra sacrifice to help the Continuing Our Journey of Faith with your time, talent, and treasure?

Hacker: Sure. I do get asked by a lot of different organizations to help. I've made a conscious decision that all of the charitable causes that we contribute as a family all have one common thread, and it's the Augustinians. Whether it's this particular campaign, whether it's St. Rita or Villanova, the common thread is the Augustinians. The reason why I'm so excited about this campaign, and the reason why my family has decided we're going to be a true participant in this is this order had the most profound and positive impact on my life outside of my family. They've touched not only me in a positive way, but my wife who also went to Villanova. And today, we're taking what we've learned from the Augustinians, and we're passing it on our children. If I look back at my formative years, all I can do is try to find a way to say "thank you" to the Augustinians for what they did to give me a strong foundation. But even more importantly, if I can help the Augustinians be around for generations to come so that my children and their children will have that opportunity to be influenced by the Augustinians the way I was, then I feel like I've done my little part to help make the world a better place.

Gerrity: That is wonderful. I wish all of us did that because... As we know, monumental changes because of people like you making a commitment to incremental changes, and it adds up. It doesn't actually add down, so thank you for that. This question may seem redundant, Mark, but it weaves into the fabric. It bears iteration. More importantly, a response from you could mean a lot. Why would you encourage others to go the extra mile. I know you would, but to make an extraordinary gift to this rare campaign?

Hacker: Because we can make a difference, very simply. I think we need a lot of people to maybe just even do a little, but we need a lot of people to participate if we want to see the Augustinians continue on so that our children and their children get an opportunity to really be influenced by them. It's a worthy effort to go out there and ask for help. The Augustinians, I mean, that's part of their order. They need to beg for support. If we can do our part to help them get that support, that's the best thing we can do to ensure that they're here for years to come.

Gerrity: Thank you for that. I'd like to remind our listeners, if you'd like to hear more great interviews like this one with Mark Hacker, please go to augustiniancampaign.org, all one word, augustiniancampaign.org for information on the campaign, ways you can get involved or donate or to hear more of these wonderful interviews. Before I close, Mark, are there any final thoughts or comments you would like to share?

Hacker: Just that I'm really excited about where the Augustinians are today and the vision for the future. I'm especially excited about the increase in vocations. I've met many of the men in formation and to see the energy that they have and the smiles on their faces, I think it gave me a shot in the arm to see that we've got some great young men who are going to be future Augustinians and to see just that pure excitement was really wonderful. I'm happy about that. I'm also really pleased to see that we're doing a great job of caring for our older, infirm Augustinians, and that they've got better facilities. They're being cared for in a loving way, and that we're thinking about them everyday.

Gerrity: Thank you so much, Mark. You've been listening to Hacker, a great supporter of the Augustinians, General Counsel and Senior Vice President with Motorola Solutions Incorporated. Mark, I know you have a very busy day ahead of you. I want to thank you again for sharing your time so generously with us. Have a great day and God bless.

Hacker: Thanks Michael.

 
Posted on November 26, 2014 and filed under Mark Hacker.