This explains why George Suttles is doing great work in philanthropy.


Meet George Suttles. Program Officer for the John A. Hartford Foundation, a national healthcare philanthropy aiming to improve care for older adults. Long-term, George hopes to seize an executive level position in philanthropy. If that doesn't work out, he hopes to be on a boat somewhere living a simple life and writing poetry (Talk about goals!).

1. What led you to your current profession/line of work?

Years ago I did a graduate school internship at the New York State Health Foundation, a statewide health philanthropy focused on improving the health of all New Yorkers.  That was the first time I had worked for a philanthropy/grantmaker and in health, the intersection of the two seemed a good fit for me, I wanted to help people and I wanted to have access to the resources to do it.

2. What did it take to get where you’re currently?
    a. Did it take education? If so, what type and how many years?

I have two graduate degrees, a Masters of Public Administration, MPA, and a Masters in Philanthropic Studies.  With that said, I am not sure you need two graduate degrees to get a job like mine.

     b. Did you depend on your professional network?

I think it cannot be overstated how important networking is, my last 2-3 jobs came more so from networking than anything else, networking can unlock so many opportunities.

3. What do you most enjoy about philanthropy work? Why is it necessary for today’s workforce?

I enjoy strategically deploying resources to organizations that are doing good work, that are helping people. That is the best part of the job. Philanthropy is also a great field to learn in, you get an opportunity to network and learn from incredibly intelligent people who want to share.  I am not sure philanthropy is necessary for today’s workforce per se, but the work that philanthropy does in education, health, and workforce development, I’d imagine, creates opportunities and jobs.

4. Talk about your biggest failure. What did you learn from that experience?

I don’t think I can focus on one instance, but I do try and be more aware of the opportunity, I can definitely say there were opportunities that I have missed in the past and moving forward I want to be aware and prepared to take advantage of new opportunities.

5. What can young people start doing now to launch a successful career like yours?

With any career, I would advise that young people work hard, try to figure out what they are passionate about, and network! Learn from others, experience what it is like for someone else working in a profession you might be interested in, and cultivate meaningful professional relationships.  

6. When did you explore the value of networking and building relationships? How big of a role has your individual network played a part of your life?

My network has played a HUGE role, I would not have had half of the success without tapping into and growing my network.  I am a staunch proponent of networking. Ultimately, if you network with the intention to serve, grow, and expand your understanding, you will meet great people who end up being friends, allies, and supporters.