Keppler’s New Challenge
By John K. Keppler
One of the greatest pleasures we have in acquainting people with the Institute for Justice is the opportunity to introduce the players on our team who make IJ not only their profession, but also their passion. Chip, Clint, and the Board of Directors have always been particularly clear about the caliber and character of individuals on the IJ team, and since the day we opened our doors, the results have been extraordinary. We have been able to hire a remarkable group of individuals who are both principled and real world, positive and open, entrepreneurial and resilient.
IJ staffers embody what we have come to call “The IJ Way,” but as you would expect, no one at IJ walks in the door with these attributes fully developed. Rather, IJ’s mentoring and well-developed office culture cultivate these qualities and maximize an individual’s strengths, interests, abilities, and yes, passions. Therein lies the secret to our success.
That success has matured and grown me from an entry-level position to the Institute’s Managing Vice President. Thanks to Chip’s leadership and consistent mentoring, I have been able to learn and to innovate throughout my eight years here helping IJ become the nation’s premier public interest law firm. Some of this has been by design, as our management philosophy explicitly demands that employees reach well beyond their “comfort-zones” of ability. A large part of my learning and achievement in marketing, fundraising, and management has evolved because of IJ’s climate of entrepreneurship and smart risk-taking.
Along with this growth came an important insight, an understanding of the limits of the knowledge I possess. My basic arsenal of skills and knowledge may have met and surmounted various challenges, but I came to appreciate the need to have a framework of analysis to strategically surmount challenges in a manner other than for me to “find a way or make one.” That’s why after a year of consideration and discussion with Chip, Clint, and IJ’s Board, we decided that the next step along the IJ Way for me would be to pursue a Master’s of Business Administration.
This decision is a reflection that IJ’s commitment to helping individuals fulfill their dreams, goals, and aspirations doesn’t extend only to the clients we represent. This fall I will take the next steps toward my goal when I join the class of 2002 of the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. But as you might expect, after eight years, 100 miles can’t squelch the passion for the principles, the ideals, the clients, and the people that make IJ what it is today, so you can expect to hear from me from time to time.
Eight years of growing with the Institute for Justice has blessed me with many friends who either work at IJ, or who make its mission a reality through generous contributions. I look forward to preserving those bonds and ask you to do likewise.
John K. Keppler joined the Institute for Justice in 1992 and served as its Managing Vice President until July of this year.
A Message from Chip Mellor, President & General Counsel
It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since John Keppler first walked into the Institute for Justice, fresh from working as an intern in Congress. During his tenure here, John repeatedly demonstrated a capacity for hard work, problem-solving, and leadership that contributed enormously to making the Institute for Justice what it is today.
We are excited about his new endeavor at the Darden School. John is far too modest to mention it, but he was awarded a full two-year scholarship— a tremendous honor and recognition of his potential by the school. All of us at IJ say, “Congratulations John, and thanks for being a special part of IJ!”