“Forge Has Shown Me My Purpose:” Austin’s Forge Story


Talk to anyone, particularly a young person, about their plans for the future and you’ll often hear them talk about their “calling.” Our culture is often obsessed with finding our calling, but no one ever really sits down and explains how to capture a vision for our calling.

At Forge, our students and alumni have mentors, friends, and colleagues who walk alongside them and can help guide them in answering some of their biggest questions. That’s what happened for Austin Glover, a 2019 – 2020 Forge Academy graduate whose relationships built through Forge helped him navigate his early education and career plans every step of the way.

I am honored to share Austin’s story with you, in his own words. Not only is it truly inspiring and a testament to the power of purposeful friendships and mentorships, but I have had the privilege to see Austin grow in his relationship with God through this journey and witness the dependable leader that he has become.

Forge graduates often cite four major categories of outcomes in their lives through Forge:

  • they gain professional clarity and accelerated careers
  • they are equipped to “enter the fray” of politics and the demanding public arena
  • they gain a network of life-changing friendships and mentorships marked by accountability, encouragement, and propelling another forward
  • they gain deepened, renewed, or even newfound faith in God

Austin’s story is marked by all four of these life-changing outcomes!

“Thanks to Forge, I’ve Found My Calling”

“About two years ago, I had the opportunity to reflect on what a blessing Forge has been in my life. The last two years had seen me go from a discontented business major to a Congressional staffer working at the heart of conservative policymaking — and Forge had been with me every step of the way.

I arrived at the 2019 Forge Summit looking for answers. College was mostly teaching me that I didn’t want to pursue any of the careers my business classes were preparing me for. I knew my greatest passion was for politics, but I had no clue how to put this passion to work, let alone if doing so was even an option. Forge answered these questions. In just a week, a map of the conservative movement was laid out before me. Over the next year, the Mentorship Academy helped me identify an interest in policy work and chart a path towards it, all while continuing my undergrad education and gaining experience at the Ohio Statehouse.

Austin and fellow Forge alumni at a leading conservative law conference

This path led me to our nation’s capital. If Forge was unlocking the universe of politics and public service for me, why not aim for the heart of it all? I joined my Forge mentor with an internship in the House of Representatives, and a temporary landing spot quickly turned into a full-time position with a Member and caucus at the forefront of the fights I cared about most. Working alongside my Forge mentor and enjoying D.C. with Forge friends on and off the Hill – even my roommate was from Forge – was a more rewarding experience than I ever expected when I first applied for Forge. I had my dream job and felt like the world was my oyster.

After reflecting on these two years, I realized that Forge had given me two things: purpose and direction. Not only had it laid out the landscape of the conservative movement and shown me how to pursue a career in it, it also showed me why. By being surrounded by followers of Christ consistently on mission for God, I was inspired to finally put Him at the center of my life. Like many young adults, I lacked direction. But what I really lacked, and what Forge really blessed me with, was purpose.

Surrendering to His purpose requires surrendering to His direction. I didn’t want to listen at first, but God’s path for me didn’t run all the way up Capitol Hill. Instead, it ran through law school, and the turn was imminently ahead.

“Forge has shown

me my purpose,

and with purpose

comes direction.”

Austin served as a Student Mentor during the 2021 Forge Leadership Summit, heading a committee at the Ohio Statehouse.

I don’t know what most people would do if they decided to apply to law school three months before the start of classes, but I, of course, called my Forge friends. The magnitude of Forge’s impact on my life has never been more clear than when I put aside a map of the policy world laid out for me by the Forge Network and was immediately handed a map to the legal world laid out equally as vividly by the very same network.

Thanks to Forge, I’ve found my calling. As I recently began my final year of law school and, with it, the process of deciding what’s next, I once again feel like the world is my oyster. Forge has shown me my purpose, and with purpose comes direction. The law is under attack right now, and conservative lawyers are needed at the battlefront. By now, I’m not the least bit surprised that Forge friends pointed the way. Many would call the connections that helped me land at a stellar Attorney General’s office in a world-class city a coincidence, but I know better than that. Forge doesn’t just equip the next generation of conservative leaders — it connects and welcomes them into a family.”

Thank you for reading Austin’s story. We’re very proud of him and excited for his new job at the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, one of the leading conservative attorney generals in the nation. Austin was hired by an attorney and policy expert who has personally mentored a Forge student and hired Forge graduates before. This official went “back to the well” to find another young leader with the talent and integrity that marks Forge grads!

I hope Austin’s story and testimony encourages you this weekend.

Forge supporters have equipped Austin and his fellow young conservatives with both the training and skills needed to succeed AND the friendships and mentorships needed to grow and stand firm.

Become a Forge Supporter Today

Adam is passionate about investing his future in the future of students who will become the next innovators in the marketplace, champions of free enterprise, inspiring educators, shapers of culture, and statesmen and stateswomen in government.

Joseph Backholm is Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement at Family Research Council. He combines extensive legal, political, and policy experience with a love for the way biblical truth cultivates human flourishing.