“Forge is what a network should be”—Nicole’s Forge Story

In this edition: 

  • Join Us for Forge-For-A-Day or the Showcase Reception July 24th
  • Nicole’s Forge Story

Please join us Friday July 24th for an afternoon and/or evening of the Forge experience! RSVP here to join other Forge champions, new students, elected officials, and alumni gathered to celebrate the ministry of Forge. Hear from some of our students’ favorite speakers and see our new students pass their mock legislation on the Statehouse floor.

My Forge Story Series: June Edition

This June, we are thrilled to share with you the story of another young person whose life and future you have impacted. This month’s edition of the “My Forge Story” series features Forge alum Nicole Ault. You may remember Nicole’s story from the “Where are they now?” edition of our quarterly newsletter.

Nicole is a graduate of Hillsdale College, and a current assistant editorial page writer at the Wall Street Journal. Nicole inspires others with her Christ-like example and passion for the values she believes in.

Here is Nicole’s “Forge Story” in her own words:

“When I attended the Forge Leadership Summit two years ago, I came hesitantly. I felt wary of networking at Forge, as I had interned in D.C. that summer. I was overwhelmed by networking events and all too aware of the enticement to prioritize professional success over everything else. I couldn’t continue putting my identity in my connections and I feared Forge would feed this tendency.

Instead, Forge changed my perspective on networking. Within an hour of arriving for the Summit, I was listening to professionals in business and politics alike humbly testifying to Christ’s work in their lives. They offered professional advice, and talked about their careers, but above all they made clear that their faith was what motivated them. Along with their lectures on the free market, dressing professionally, and communication, what they emphasized the most was character shaped by faith: the need to be humble, honest, and self-sacrificing; the need to not idolize a job.

Those words translated into actions at the Forge Summit. Forge leaders and students were engaging and down to earth. We ate ice cream sundaes and played volleyball in the dark and goofed off on bus rides. During a legislative simulation, in which each student defended a bill he or she had written, everyone was courteous—even humorous—despite competing with one another. In fact, you would be an outsider if you took yourself too seriously. The same focus on faith and community impressed me again on the 201 trip to Washington, D.C., where we heard politicians and political advisers remind us that faith and family are more important than any high- profile job. There in D.C., we bonded over meals and conversations, enjoying real fellowship.

One conversation especially illustrates the front-and-center faith that makes Forge so unusual. Forge Academy hosted a conference call with Sam Brownback, former governor of Kansas and now the State Department’s international religious freedom ambassador. He spoke humbly of his reliance on Christ, and said, poignantly, that God never gave him more success than he had faith to handle. That remark impacted me and has shaped the way I think about my unfolding career.

On top of all this character-building and perspective-shaping, Forge offered practical help as well. Forge introduced me to the inner workings of Capitol Hill and the legislative process. They taught me about communications and politics. They even helped me publish my first op-ed in a professional outlet: The Federalist. When I applied for an internship on Capitol Hill, they passed along my resume to people they knew there. Adam connected me with an experienced journalist to mentor me and Justin helped me set year-long goals.

Above all, I will always appreciate the lasting friendships I have from Forge; the people who I can turn to for professional advice, but most importantly, who encourage me to live well and to seek Christ first.

I graduated from Hillsdale College last may and am now working with the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which is something of a dream come true for me. The Forge community will always be a sounding board for my thinking and will continue to ask me the question: Am I “seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness,” as Jesus exhorts (Matt. 6:33)? If not, no career is worth it.

In this way, Forge is what a network should be: A community of believers, iron sharpening iron, encouraging each other to do well at whatever work is before them—and to stay strong in the faith.”

We are so inspired by Nicole’s passion and commitment to her faith and values as she excels in her career, and we hope you are too. The support of people like you ensures that the Forge Leadership Network can invest in more young leaders like Nicole.

Would you consider making a special donation towards our scholarship fund to make it possible for more young people like Nicole to experience the Forge Leadership Summit and academy training?


Adam Josefczyk
Forge Leadership Network
Co-Founder & President

P.S. Help us identity young people like Nicole with hearts to impact their culture and world: Recommend an outstanding young person to Forge 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.