Since this interview, Butch has transitioned from Education Cities and is now serving as a Principal in Bridgespan’s New York City office.
Butch Trusty is a 2008 graduate of the Daytime MBA Program. While at Fuqua, Butch interned with Education Pioneers then transitioned to the Bridgespan Group after graduation where he consulted with foundations and education organizations. Since Bridgespan, he has served as the Program Director, Education for the Joyce Foundation and is now the Vice President of Network Impact for Education Cities.
Why did you choose Fuqua?
When I decided to go back to business school, I knew I wanted to end up in the social sector and specifically in the education sector. Once I visited Fuqua, it was pretty clear to me that was where I wanted to go to school – there was something about the people. Everyone wanted to get to know you and they went out of their way to find out why I was interested in Duke. Then there were the educational offerings—I knew I wanted to get into the social sector, but I also wanted to focus on getting general management skills and needed a top-notch, well-rounded education. Finally there was CASE, which was extremely important. It was such a big part of the school and had such a large presence. I knew I wanted to be in a community that would support my career goals and CASE provided that.
What activities were you involved in at Fuqua that helped propel you towards your goals?
Fuqua on Board was really helpful because I ended up working with a local charter school in Durham. I thought that I would go work in the charter sector after school, but it was through that experience that I started to think about how charter schools could gain more efficiency in their operations. It helped me realize there were a lot more opportunities outside of what I thought I knew and helped me realize the issues in education that I was most passionate about.
My 2nd year I also did a marketing practicum was still extremely helpful because it helped me apply some of the things that I had learned in school to a real client with a real problem who was trying to launch a service offering. That experience helped me build the confidence one needs when entering the business world after business school.
What has been your career path since graduating from Fuqua?
In school, there were two things that became clear to me: 1) I didn’t feel like I was ready to be a “social entrepreneur.” I just wasn’t sure if I had the right idea or if I was ready for risk and 2) I enjoyed being confronted with business problems and working with smart people to help solve that problem – especially for organizations with a social mission.
Knowing those two things, I went on to work for Bridgespan for four years where I specialized in education. Towards the end of my time there, I started to wonder what would happen if all my clients were all together in one location. Essentially, I wanted to do everything I was doing, but focus geographically. So I left Bridgespan to join the Joyce Foundation. I wanted to see a different side of the education world and look at policy, teacher quality and effectiveness, and scaling initiatives. Joyce is a funding organization focused on the human capital pipeline in three cities: Chicago, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis.
After the Joyce Foundation, I then transitioned to Education Cities, an organization that builds the capacity of organizations and leaders committed to growing the number of great public schools in their cities. We are now a network of 28 organizations in 22 cities working to dramatically increase the number of great public schools across the country. We believe that by focusing our efforts on four strategies: quality schools, effective educators, supportive policy and community engagement we can improve educational opportunities for millions of families and children.
What advice would you give to students who are pursuing careers in social impact?
My advice would be to focus on the development and management of relationships. The networking you do at Fuqua happens in such an informal way, and given how social sector operates, it’s good to practice that while in school. If you are focused on building and maintaining relationships with people it will help you in the social sector. I would also say to take advantage of all the amazing opportunities and people at Fuqua to explore and find what really excites you and how you want to make a difference.