As part of an ongoing "Meet the Team" blog series, we invited the Directors from each of the Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction's various departments to share some of their insights based on their specific area of expertise. We kick off our next "Meet the Team" guest blog with Director of Support Services James O. Dill, 33°, who shares why being one of the first members of The Path Forward team has changed his life, both personally and professionally.

James O. Dill, 33°

A year or so ago my wife and I were getting ready for a romantic evening in downtown Boston to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It was a hot summer night and I was dressed in a stylish Scottish Rite polo shirt I had recently got online at the (yes, a cheap plug). It was going to be a late evening and adult beverages were going to be consumed, so we called an Uber.

When our car arrived, our driver jumped out of the car to greet us. I was surprised when he asked if I was a Freemason. At the time, it did not hit me, but maybe standing next to a car with a Masonic license plate, and wearing a Scottish Rite shirt may have been his first clue. I quietly answered that I was. I am asked that question all the time, but on this evening for some reason, I hesitated before answering him.

My newfound friend gave me the Masonic grip and a hug. It was clear that no one gave him proper warning that we do not do that in public. He went on to say he had recently become a Master Mason and that he was soon going to join the Scottish Rite. As we pulled away and began our journey into the city, he talked about his longtime interest in the fraternity. A few minutes went by when he asked if I could guess why he joined the fraternity.

I casually answered that I had no idea, and so he explained. He shared that he was on the Internet when he came upon a video about Freemasonry. He then changed my life when he went on to say the name of that video was “Even Better." He went on to say that video had convinced him to stop talking about it and join the Craft. He then asked me if I had ever seen the video.

Which brings me to a little backstory about myself: I have the privilege of being part of our Scottish Right “Path Forward” team. In fact, I became one of the first members, when my friend and colleague Linda Patch (our Director of Marketing) asked me to join her on this new campaign.

And so, I answered my new Masonic friend that indeed I had. My answer was brief and direct, not like me at all. My wife quickly tugged at my shoulder and asked if I was going to explain to him what my role at Supreme Council was. I began to explain to him that although my job was Director of video production, the Even Better video was far beyond our in-house capabilities. The project was so important that we first hired a local agency to write the creative piece and then we went to California and used a professional production company to film it.

Linda and I were in Boston’s North End for my first visit to the offices of Cercone Brown, our agency partners, when they first pitched the words “Not Just a Man. A Mason." That phrase has changed Freemasonry forever. It began with “Even Better," then our “Nice Guys" video, followed most recently by “Be A”.

“Even Better” changed my life. You know how in life sometimes you can find yourself so deep in the weeds, that you cannot see the forest for the trees? That is how Freemasonry had become for me. I was so immersed in the daily grind that I had forgotten what the fraternity meant to me. I was also at the point where I had little hope that our fraternity could survive all the changes of society and that it was still relevant to new generations.

Our Path Forward today is now comprised of a larger team and is a more integral part of our mission than in those early days. How lucky I am to be part this movement and thankful for the forever relationships I enjoy.

So remember me talking about how I had lost sight, and feeling lost in the weeds, wondering -- NO -- afraid that the Craft had become irrelevant? On my path forward, I now know that for at least one man, one Brother, one friend; I made a difference. At least one more man followed a path to be “Even Better.”

Read the rest of our Meet the Team series:

Scottish Rite Charities: Changing Lives Together

Design in the Lodge Room

Tech Tips

The Value of Being a Scottish Rite Mason

On the Path Forward