|Pounding the pavement:
As president of Oak Park, Ill., David Pope works hard
to stay in touch with the community. He gets some help
here from his daughter, Elise. Photo
© Josh Hawkins of WJinc
time as president, we've had great success in enhancing intergovernmental
coordination, building cooperation among separately elected
governing bodies and across municipal borders to support efforts
that benefit the entire region," Pope explains. "We've also
begun to see tangible benefits from more effectively engaging
our employees, from viewing our own performance through the
eyes of our residents and from aggressively instituting greater
In his role
he is also leaving his mark on a broader stage as a member
of the U.S. Conference of Mayors' leadership group and as
co-chair of that group's sustainability task force.
of community involvement is a long one, with roots in his
childhood. "I grew up in a family that has always been actively engaged,
in our community and beyond. The importance of service to others has
been a lifelong guiding value for my parents and, in turn,
for my sisters and me, just as it continues to be for so many
others despite the increasing complexities of our world,"
says Pope, whose early adulthood included two years as a Peace
Corps volunteer in Thailand.
perhaps the real start to Pope's service to others began at
West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park, where upon his birth he
was placed for adoption.
"As an adoptee, it is particularly easy for me to see
myself in the faces of others," he says. "I could, after all, be quite literally
in just about anyone else's shoes, but my experience highlights
the central importance of opportunity in all our lives. Who would ever have thought when I was given up for adoption
that Š this same community would entrust me with their confidence
and ask me to lead one of the larger municipalities in Illinois?"
of Pope's motivation in pursuing his Kellogg MBA was to advance
social concerns by bringing more effective management practices
to the public sector and "deploying resources more efficiently
to help address intractable social challenges." Ultimately,
he wanted to provide greater opportunity for everyone, including
those most at risk.
found support for his social awareness at Kellogg both in
what he describes as the school's "strong commitment to community
involvement" and through his relationships with professors
and classmates who shared similar values.
has a particular fondness for Professor Wally
Scott and his wife, Barbara, whom he describes as two
of the more thoughtful people he has ever met. "Together they
have enjoyed great success and had a very positive impact
in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors," says
graduating from Kellogg, Pope worked in the strategy consulting
practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he became a principal
and led large-scale strategy definition and implementation
engagements. He and his wife, Beth Houle '95, moved
back to Oak Park, just a few blocks away from his childhood
home. In 2000, he started his own consulting firm and become
more engaged in his local community.
Park is, and will continue to be, a very special place," says
Pope. "Beth and I are thrilled to be raising our daughters
here. I feel tremendously fortunate to be a resident and to
have been asked by the community to serve in this capacity."