John Settles has a genuine ability to relate to people from all walks of life. He treats the janitor with the same respect and appreciation as he does the CEO. He is a unifier who sincerely believes that Washington DC can be a national model for education, sustainability, new concepts in affordable housing, and job creation.
John is running for the At-Large City Council seat because he loves DC, and believes that his broad Finance, Housing, and Community Development knowledge, coupled with his vast entrepreneurial experience equips him with a unique perspective; one that will bring to the table fearless ideas and concepts to move the city forward.
He is a principled leader that has a record of spearheading courageous conversations, and shaping innovative approaches to solve the problems at hand.
John grew up in the Shepherd Park neighborhood of DC, and attended Shepherd Elementary, Sidwell, St. Ann’s, and St. John’s. Growing up, he had several businesses including landscaping, car washing, and snow removal. John learned the meaning of hard work early while watching his mother return to Howard University to obtain a master’s degree in architecture, while working and raising two children.
John received a Finance degree from Howard University, and after graduating, entered public service at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. After leaving HUD, John joined the private sector as a Realtor, where he actively promoted wealth building through home ownership. After a few years as a Realtor, John entered the mortgage business, where—in his 20s-- he held management roles at Wells Fargo and Fleet Boston.
In order to promote the value of home ownership more fully, John founded a real estate development firm. The firm was as an early adopter of green building practices and focused on low- to moderate-income urban areas. John later added a community economic development company that complemented his work in affordable housing, with policy and program solutions in education, healthcare, job creation and workforce development remanufacturing.
As a Business owner, John has both achieved great success, and –in this recent economic downturn–nearly lost it all– only to rebuild again. These experiences have given him invaluable insights into what it takes to not only lift yourself up, but others as well. More importantly, it furthered his compassion for helping those who are struggling financially.
John’s professional and personal experiences taught him that a person’s word is only as good as the deeds behind it. He has shared this principle with the youth of the city through his volunteer work. John has been a regular in the community serving as a director of Lifting Voices and as a former board chair of the Capitol Hill Group Ministry.
John is married to Jacqui Allen, a former radio personality, who worked for several of the DC’s top stations for more than a decade. Together they have three children, all of whom attend a DC public school. The Settles children previously attended a well noted DC charter school which has given John an understanding of both systems and the need for collaboration, versus competition.
John will be a transparent and thoughtful leader who will work to shape new approaches to many of the systemic problems facing the city as well as, restore the public’s trust in the council position.