“The vocation of the businessperson is a genuine and human and Christian calling. Its importance in the life of the Church and in the world economy can hardly be overstated.” Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vocation of the Business Leader
In exploring the connection of faith and business, students will explore, ponder, and discuss how the core affirmations of the tradition of Catholic social teaching such as the dignity of the person, the common good, and participation are not only compatible with the principles of business but actually contribute to its effectiveness in the fullest sense on both the systems and individual practitioner level.
Faith and Business Speakers
Dean Phil Brach
Phil Brach is the Assistant Dean of the School of Business and Economics and an Adjunct Lecturer here at the Catholic University of America. His career has been characterized by innovation, strategic planning, and results. Over the course of more than two decades, Dean Brach has held several posts in the for-profit, non-profit and government sectors. As Assistant Dean, he oversees resource development for the school.
Dean Brach received his BSBA in Business Administration from Villanova University and his MBA from the University of Notre Dame.
Dean Brach began his career with Mobil Oil where he helped chart a 10-year strategic plan for Mobil’s West Coast operations. In 1995, Dean Brach became a marketing strategy consultant for Ernst and Young where he worked with clients to coordinate an integrated communication plan. He left Ernst and Young in 1996 to help found the SQAD Company, of which he then became the Vice President and CFO. During his time there, he was awarded three patents for innovative marketing inventions.
Dean Brach sold his stake in the SQAD Company and turned his skills and energy towards the non-profit sector. He became the Director of Operations for the Midtown Center for Boys. His role later expanded to his being the Executive Director of the entire Midtown Educational Foundation, a Chicago-based non-profit organization. The Foundation sponsors programs to help inner-city youth achieve academic excellence and develop strong moral character.
In 2004, Dean Brach returned to his high school alma mater, St. John’s College High School, in Washington, D.C., where he served as Vice President. In this capacity, he oversaw all fundraising, alumni relations and external communications. He also directed the production of all external communications, including the publishing of an award-winning alumni magazine.
After seven years at St. John’s, he took a year sabbatical working as the Chief of Staff for Congressman Jeff Fortenberry. After spending time as the Director of Development for the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University of Maryland, he joined CUA in his current role.
Dean Brach, the father of nine children, resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Liz.
Victor and Karen DeSantis
Vic and Karen DeSantis have been married for many years. They have two sons and live in the greater Washington, D.C. area.
Karen is a partner with Kirkland and Ellis, LLP Washington office. She concentrates on complex, commercial litigation in defense of Fortune 500 companies, with a focus on product liability and mass tort litigation. In her many years as a lawyer, she has represented companies such as BP America, Inc. and General Motors.
Karen is a graduate of Princeton University and the Univeristy of Notre Dame Law School.
Karen sits on the Board of Trustees at the University of Notre Dame and is a visiting professor at
both the Notre Dame Law School and The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.
Vic is a partner with White & Case, LLP in Washington, D.C. He specializes on international project finance and cross-boarder transactions. He has extensive experience with large financial corportions including many international banking institutions.
Vic is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School.
Karen and Vic DeSantis are both devout Catholics who share openly how their faith effects their careers, the charity work they get involved with, and their interactions with colleagues. Both are parishioners at Holy Trinity Parish in Georgetown.
In my opinion, the best thing we did at Light the World was visit the law firm as well as the mass on the roof. The law firm provided talks from interesting people that made me think about a career in law and the rooftop mass was an experience that can’t be beat. –Phil, Participant 2016