To break up the monotony of quarantine, I am proud to share with you another testimonial from a young person whose life and future you have impacted.
I hope you enjoy April’s edition of the “My Forge Story” series, featuring 2018-2019 Forge Mentorship Academy graduate Alexis Nester from Toledo, Ohio.
Alexis is graduating from Hillsdale College in the Spring with her degree in Economics and Journalism, after which she will begin her journalism career at the Washington Free Beacon in Washington, D.C. Alex is taking the connections she’s made from Forge with her as she grows in her faith and career!
Here’s Alexis’s “Forge Story” in her own words:
Here’s Alexis’s “Forge Story” in her own words:
“I was going into my junior year of college, and I was really uncertain of myself, my career, and my faith. I thought I would go into journalism after graduation and I wanted to head to Washington, D.C., to report. But I wanted to know that, in a fast-paced, cut-throat environment, I would have a community of people there that could support me–in my career, my faith, and truly, in all aspects of my life.
While eating lunch in a sleek restaurant overlooking the Ohio River, my aunt mentioned that she had a friend who was involved in Forge Leadership Network, and that I should look to apply. It sounded like a great opportunity, and within a week or so I was in contact with Jennie Simunek—and though I didn’t know it at the time, she would become one of the most intelligent and inspiring women I’ve ever met.
About a month later, I drove to Columbus for the Forge Leadership Network Summit. Though I was nervous about meeting new people and being able to keep up with the packed, challenging schedule, I very soon felt part of a great community of young, conservative people who all wanted to impact their communities, states, and country for the better.
Though I went to a conservative college and had many friends who were exposed to the same conservative principles as I was (religious freedom, liberty and limited government, free market principles, etc.), this group challenged my understanding of these topics and piqued my interest in other areas as well–importantly, our Christian roots in the Middle East and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Forge also provided me a community of believers with whom I could share my struggles in faith. Through my first years of college, I had a hard time finding the right church, and I never felt connected or involved with a group of believers. My peers in Forge gave me people I could talk to about theology and my faith and relationship with God. And not only would I go to them when I was struggling, but often, I would have my peers in Forge reach out to ask about how I was doing on my faith journey.”
Forge connected me with a mentor, Mollie Hemingway. I read a book with Mollie called God at Work, and it was through this book that I began to see my career and faith lives (and, really, all aspects of my life) as an integrated whole. By doing my daily tasks well, and living in accordance with God’s word, I would be fulfilling my purpose.
Though I have many wonderful Forge memories, I think my favorite was dancing on a boat on the Sea of Galilee. It was a wonderful reminder that, while we are all busy with work and studies and saving the world, it is important to take time together to celebrate us, our Forge community, and show our gratitude to God for bringing us together by spending quality time just having fun.
Though I graduated from Forge last year, the lessons I learned and the people with whom I learned them are still very close to my heart. I made great memories with them–both in person through our travels to Washington and Israel, and over fun conversations over the phone.
In June, I will move to Washington, D.C., and through The Public Interest Fellowship, I will be writing at the Washington Free Beacon. I’m leaving my friends from school, and my family and home back in the Midwest, and I’m headed to a big, busy city. But, luckily, Forge is there–both physically, as many alumni have gone on to work in politics or journalism in D.C., but also there in spirit.”
My friends in Forge were a critical part of getting me to where I am today, and I am thankful that they’re still here with me today, through every step and twist and turn in life.”
We’re very proud of Alexis and especially excited for her being selected to the elite Public Interest Fellowship upon graduation. I’m also really thankful for her transparency and enthusiasm in sharing not only what Forge friendships and mentorships have meant to her career and global experiences, but also what they’ve meant to her growing relationship with Christ.
One of the most amazing results of Forge has been the growth of this community of faith, as Alexis called it. When starting Forge, Justin and the board and I prayed that Forge would not only be a launching pad for quality young people to make a sustained impact on policy and culture the right way, but that it would also be a catalyst and community for personal lives to be transformed by authentic Christian friendships. This is the type of community that loves, serves, challenges, and encourages, those true friends that care more about your soul, integrity, and family, than any success or accolades you might achieve in business or politics.
Hearing Alexis’s story, and many others, really inspires me that God is indeed using Forge to have this two-fold impact of launching principled careers in the public square AND transforming young lives in authentic community.
Two Ways You Can Make Possible More Stories Like Alexis’:
- Would you consider a donation today to enable us to invest in the lives of MORE young leaders like Alexis?
- Help us identify young people like Alexis with hearts to impact their culture and world! Recommend an outstanding young person to Forge today – application is OPEN for our late July Forge Leadership Summit. Thank you for reading this e-newsletter and your continued support of the work of Forge!
Forge Leadership Network
Co-Founder & President