Name: Eric Butler
Title: Director of Development, edX & Founder, Final Bow Productions
1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?
Building relationships with individuals, foundations, and corporations and fundraising and investing in both the nonprofit EdTech sector and the commercial Broadway and national and international tour market.
2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?
The Holy Cross Advancement Office was my first employer! As a recipient of scholarship both in undergraduate and graduate school, I had a first-hand appreciation for the work and mission of the Advancement Office helping provide the college with the resources to make the Holy Cross experience better for each generation to come. Advancement and educational fundraising was an industry that I fell into – but one I grew to love as I developed rewarding, personal relationships with alumni and donors who helped the College and my other alma mater, Saint John’s High School, fulfill their missions. Now, I’m part of a whole new frontier in edTech as I seek funding and investments to transform education and democratize the educational experience at scale, globally. While my career in Advancement was somewhat unplanned, my “side hustle” in the commercial theater has been somewhat more strategic and purposeful with wonderful mentorships, support, and invitations to participate coming from some of Broadway’s most successful lead producers. I’ve found the Broadway community to be incredibly accessible and helpful – everyone remembers what it was like starting out and they are all happy to be part of your future success. Theater is a collaborative art form and I’m happy to see that the same holds true for the business of Broadway.
3. What were you involved in when you were on campus?
Fenwick Theater, ACT, College Honors, SPUD, campus ministry retreats, Alpha Sigma Nu
4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions?
I double-majored in Psychology and Theater. In many ways, the psychology major helped guide me toward business school. Sitting in a Marketing Analytics or Brand and Product Management class was not much different than taking a psychology statistics or research course – the methodology behind studying human behavior and consumer behavior is identical. All the tools (e.g. SPSS) are the same! I think my experiences fundraising and in business coupled with my passion for the theater helped naturally lead me toward investing/producing commercial theater.
5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work?
Strong writing skills will be valuable to you throughout your life. Whether composing an email, writing a blog entry, or constructing a 20 page proposal for an eight-figure philanthropic contribution – it is very important to communicate clearly and intelligently to a professional audience.
6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?
Take advantage of all that Holy Cross has to offer from its alumni network to its career development office. Since I graduated, HC has really expanded the professional and career preparation opportunities it offers to its students. If there is an industry that interests you, explore it now through an internship or first entry level job. Having experience (even at the lowest level) will make all the difference in the ability to start a career in the industry of your choice.