Dr. M. Stanley Butler is an author, teacher, and conference speaker. With more than 25 years of experience as a financial and administrative leadership within the private, public and nonprofit sectors, he has effectively provided counsel or guidance to national and international organizations. Dr. Butler models servant leadership in a manner that builds, mentors, and prepares others to live with purpose.
Tell us about your business
Striving Toward Excellence in Public Service (STEPS Inc.) is a nonprofit organization that bridges the gap between the public and nonprofit sectors. We provide accounting, fundraising, and business planning services to other nonprofits and small businesses. Additionally, through the STEPS Institute for Management & Learning, we provide leadership training through our online platform as well as coaching and developmental services to men and women who want to be change agents within their communities.
How do you keep yourself positive and motivated?
There’s a purpose that drives what I do. The work that I do helps to change people, circumstances, and communities. I may never engage in cancer research, but I’ve been instrumental in establishing an organization that does; and when we raise funds for case studies, I’m making a difference. There are many needs in the world — within our local communities as well as abroad — needs that aren’t difficult to identify. If I stay in my lane and perfect what I do, then I’ll fulfill my purpose. That’s the focus, and that keeps me motivated.
What advice would you give your younger self growing up in the current times?
The world system wasn’t designed to work in favor of Black men; so, learn the system immediately.
What’s the most challenging moment you’ve ever had in business and how did you overcome it?
I can’t identify a single moment as the most challenging moment in business. For me, it’s more like a series of moments; and, in short, the biggest challenge has been me. I like to think that my list of impossibilities is fairly short, but in hindsight, I can identify opportunities that I let slip by and times when I didn’t represent myself or my brand. I’d acquired a portfolio of clients and was being referred, but there was a gap between where I was and where I visualized myself being. It took a while for me to realize that my issue was that I didn’t have the credentials that many of my counterparts had and I feared being called on the carpet and having my credibility destroyed. I was self-taught and well-read, but my challenge was more internal than external when it came to how I conducted business. I overcame that challenge by finishing my education, but even part of that overcoming process were confirmations of the added value that I bring to the table and learning to rest in that confidence. Those lessons didn’t come by universities or coursework. They came through life and circumstance processing me to where I needed to be.
If you could have a moment with any influential person in the world, who would it be and what would you talk about?
I would love to have a private moment with [former] President Barack Obama. I wasn’t always in agreement with his policies, but that comes with the territory. When you’re running an organization with 300 million stakeholders, you’re bound to displease a few. I would like to glean from him how to gain a resilience that maintains its resolve even when the hard decisions must be made, and the masses lack the understanding and vision to see the long-term effect. That type of resilience is invaluable in business.
What’s next for you and your business?
STEPS Inc. is launching an economic development program called The Economic CUBE. The Economic CUBE is a six-month entrepreneurial training and development program that progresses its students through training and mentoring, business education, business plan development, business formation and funding. We’re focusing on major metropolitan areas where the unemployment rate exceeds the national average, and it’s our way of addressing unemployment and underemployment through business ownership. Additionally, we’re working to collaborate with established business owners and professional men and women who see the value in giving back by sharing their experiences with others who have a dream of business ownership
How can peple contact your organization?
STEPS can be found on the internet at www.stepsofexcellence.org, and we may be reached at 877.447.0900 or by email at [email protected]