Anthony Butera wants to inject a healthy dose of Christian values, more specifically, Catholic Christian values, into the business world.
For more than a year, Butera – a Modesto-based regional leader for Primerica Financial Services and literacy specialist with the Stanislaus County Office of Education – has been involved with The MarketPlace Network.
And just what, you may be asking yourself, is The MarketPlace Network?
Simply put, it’s an international network of Christian churches seeking to bring Biblical principles to the workplace by mentoring, motivating and mobilizing Christian women and men who are, or will become, marketplace leaders.
“Christian values,” Butera told The Business Journal in a recent interview, “transcend all barriers. Christ taught us to help and serve our fellow man. When you think about it, we’re trying to do the same thing in business. We’re there to help and serve our customers.”
With the worldwide economic collapse, customer service remains one of the few things individual businesses still can control.
During the past 18 months or so, maintaining a high-level of customer service, and or improving customer service, has been stressed by any number of local, state and national business consultants and leaders.
“We need to go out and serve people in the marketplace and our communities,” Butera said. “The MarketPlace Network is the glue between the church and marketplace and or society because it teaches Biblical principles that apply to the workplace and the community in which we live.”
Butera already was involved with the Catholic Professional and Business Club in Modesto when he discovered The MarketPlace Network about a year ago, through a program offered by Calvary Temple Church.
In addition to Modesto, chapters of the Catholic Professional and Business Club also meet in Sacramento, Fresno, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Santa Rosa. There also are active chapters in Reno, Nev., and Lafayette, Ind.
Since discovering The MarketPlace Network, Butera has attended that group’s weekly meetings at Calvary Temple, along with the monthly meetings of the Catholic Professional and Business Club at the Doubletree Hotel. Recently, he started a weekly meeting of The MarketPlace Network at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Modesto, his home parish.
The goals of both groups are similar, to seek a more ethical business community.
“We are called to live as disciples of Jesus Christ, not only on Sundays, but every day (both) at home and work,” according to the mission statement of the Catholic Professional and Business Club. “Each of us shall strive to integrate our ethical values as Catholics into our professional and business lives.”
The time to employ such a strategy is long overdue, according to Butera, who believes, along with many other Christian and non-Christian businessmen and businesswomen alike, that greed fueled the worldwide economic meltdown that led to the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.
Recently, Butera spoke to St. Joseph’s parishioners about The MarketPlace Network after each of the church’s eight weekly Saturday evening and Sunday worship services.
Established in 1967, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church serves more than 16,000 people in 5,300 households.
At Joseph’s, Butera holds his MarketPlace Network meetings every Sunday, from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. The group meets in the John Paul II Center at the church complex, Suite 4, Vatican Council Room.
Butera said he sees the MarketPlace as an opportunity for Catholics to “network and bring back Catholic values back into the workplace and into this great community and nation.”
He continued: “For me, that means to interact with people in an evermore Christian way.”
Butera could be on to something here.
Businesses should play an active role in the communities in which they are located. Sure, the goal is to make a profit.
But isn’t possible to treat your customers with respect and kindness and still make money? And shouldn’t businesses feel obligated to give something back to the community? They are – or should be – part of the community they are seeking to serve, after all.
The vision, according to Butera and other advocates of The MarketPlace Network concept is this: “to become relevant in the marketplace, we must be a solution to society’s challenges.”
Now, that sounds like a worthwhile endeavor, doesn’t it?