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By Peter Zubler, Executive Director, SVdP Indy

He is one of the most kind, thoughtful and humble people I’ve ever known—let alone had the privilege to work with. Those who have worked with him will not be surprised that I’m talking about John Ryan.

John has served SVdP Indy faithfully for the past six years following another amazing leader—Pat Jerrell. In fact, when John came on as Council president, many may have wondered how he could fill such big shoes. Yet, he did, leaving his own set of hard-to-fill footsteps behind.

In fact, when I look back on John’s tenure and legacy, I’m astounded by what SVdP Indy has accomplished in such a short period of time. Under his leadership and example, several changes have been set in motion that are making the organization more sustainable, well into the future.

When John joined SVdP, the organization was at a pivotal point, with a static budget, growing needs and an aging volunteer base that was carrying most of the responsibilities. He looked at SVdP from a visionary standpoint and considered operational changes that would make us more efficient and effective in serving our mission, while remaining equally focused on how we could better invest in volunteers and clients alike.

With John’s entrepreneurial spirit, fiscally responsible mindset and servant leadership example, he has lead us through incredibly impactful transitions, like:

  • Engaging dedicated paid staff to support consistent daily operations and long-term giving
  • Opening the first two Mission 27 Resale stores to provide additional revenue
  • Renovating the distribution center for better operational efficiency
  • Growing our food pantry and its ability to provide more nutritional food
  • Expanding the Changing Lives Forever program at multiple parishes throughout the Council
  • Hiring the first volunteer director to focus on improving the volunteer experience
  • Shepherding the blue bin program to ease donation drop-off and pick-up

John would be the first to acknowledge that none of these accomplishments rest solely on his shoulders. He had a lot of help—but that’s also part of John’s legacy. John has the vision to direct people and get them on board. He is so thoughtful in all of his interactions that—when he makes an ask— it doesn’t even feel like he’s asking. You can trust when John tells you something, it is not encumbered by self-interest—he is truly a servant leader. And all of that makes people excited to be part of something led by a leader like that.

Forever changed

One last thing I want to share about John: I have had the opportunity to work with many great leaders throughout my career, yet I always hoped I would find a mentor who possessed all of those attributes that we see in John. It has been a true gift and a life-changing two years for me under his leadership. For that, I am truly grateful.

We will miss you, John. Thank you for giving of yourself so fully to SVdP. We are forever changed because of you.