Summer Update Part 1 – New Employee and Forge Summit!
Dear Friend of Forge,
It has been a very exciting summer for Forge Leadership Nework, and I’m thrilled to tell you all about it. We will be sending out monthly e-newsletters and a new quarterly hard copy newsletter in the mail so that you will be plugged in to all Forge developments, updates, success stories, and prayer requests.
Don’t forget to also follow us on any and all of your favorite social media platforms. “Like” and Follow the “Forge Leadership Network” page on Facebook and follow @ForgeLeadership on Twitter and Instagram. We’ve revolutionized our content on those platforms, and I know you will really enjoy the content that we will roll out in October. You’re going to see a lot more regular content on those platforms.
Here’s what to look forward to in our upcoming e-newsletters:
September/Summer Update (TODAY): we will recap the 2017 Forge Leadership Summit held July 4-8 in Columbus, Ohio and introduce you to Jennie Simunek, Forge’s new Director of Operations.
October: Recap the “Forge 301” Israel trip that Forge students experienced at the end of July thanks to our partners at Passages Israel!
November: Recap Forge’s trip to Kentucky to help with Truth in Public conference this July and highlight Forge’s growing national impact and expansion next year.
December: Provide you an update on “Where are they now?” Where are Forge alumni, what have they accomplished, and how can you continue to pray for them?!
January: Recap “Forge 201” in Washington, D.C. This is our four-day dynamic experience for those students accepted from the Summit into the Forge Mentorship Academy.
This month, I’d really like to share highlights with you from the 2017 Forge Leadership Summit and introduce you to a very special person, a new employee that Forge has been able to bring on thanks to financial support from folks just like you.
The 2017 Forge Leadership Summit was a rousing success, as sixty more young conservatives were trained in timeless principles, practical skills, and a simulated legislative process.
As you know, the Forge Leadership Summit is a five-day intensive, hosted at Ohio Christian University and the Ohio Statehouse, filled with dynamic trainings, professional development, and renowned speakers. Accepted students represent talented conservative students and young professionals, ages 18-25, from across America wanting to engage in politics, culture, and business.
The Forge Summit informs and equips students through:
Forge recruits nationally renowned thought leaders of the conservative movement to speak at the Forge Leadership Summit. Speakers teach students how to think critically about the principles and policies of conservatism including limited government, Judeo-Christian ethics, religious liberty, and economic freedom. This year, we were thrilled to be joined by an outstanding line-up of speakers. You can read about our speakers and their bios in the 2017 Forge Summit student program, linked here.
Forge believes that a keen understanding of conservative principles is best mobilized through hands-on training. During the Forge Summit, students engage in the following trainings:
Media training – Aaron Baer, friend of Forge and President of CCV, provided professional, hands-on instruction for public speaking, effective message development and execution, and interview navigation.
Campaign-In-A-Day – For the second-year in a row, Forge partnered with American Majority to give students the tactical political skills necessary for electoral victory. Best learned through application, students applied their newly developed skill set through a mock election cycle that was judged by real campaign experts.
Forge Legislature – This legislative simulation teaches students the intricacies of the legislative process. Participating as representatives, Forge students drafted bills, ran the committee process, engaged in floor debates, and voted on whether or not bills should become law. This is always one of the highlights of the week, and this year’s class of students caught on quickly and facilitated some great floor debates. We were blessed to have eight Ohio state representatives take time out of their busy schedules to coach our students in their committees.
Forge launches students into their careers. Throughout the Forge Summit, we help students develop their personal brand and improve their networking skills. Students build professional and personal relationships with fellow students, visiting speakers, and Forge staff, building a network of like-minded peers and mentors to last a lifetime. One opportunity for students to immediately put these newfound networking skills into action is at the Forge Showcase Reception where they interact with Forge supporters, elected officials, and leaders in the conservative movement .
The Forge System
The Forge Leadership Summit is also a five-day interview. Throughout the Summit, students are evaluated for acceptance to the Forge Mentorship Academy, a year-long commitment that includes an individualized mentor match, personal and professional development and coaching, learning the art of getting published, developing goals and learning strengths, internship and job placement, and further programming in D.C. and Israel! We just inducted thirty new students into that Mentorship Academy for the 2017-2018 year!
Want to be encouraged?! Take 2 minutes and watch the video montage of student testimonials from the Summit (above, top of this email). Talk about inspiring!
Also, in the video linked at the bottom of the page, you can watch the entire the program of the 2017 Forge Showcase Reception. We wanted to make sure that those supporters who couldn’t attend on July 6th could still share in the celebration and experience! In the program, you’ll hear from me, Forge Fellows Jeremiah Martin and Rachael Powell, Navy SEAL (Ret.) Robert Ekoniak, Congressman Warren Davidson, and Forge board member Matt Rawlings.
New Employee: Introducing Jennie Simunek
Forge has had tremendous impact in under three years. But that growing success has brought challenges of its own – how to keep up! – namely how to scale, grow, and maintain the personal investment in our students and supporters that has been the hallmark of our success. We were at max bandwidth and capacity with me as the only employee. Being able to sustain a second employee will be a game-changer for Forge’s bandwidth and ability to continue to serve our current students and grow and expand to reach exponentially more students in the months and years ahead. This second employee needed to be someone with strong administrative, event-planning, logistics, and operations skill sets, in order to complement my strengths and weaknesses and free me up to spend more time recruiting students, cultivating relationships with supporters, connecting students to mentors, networking new partnerships and brand expansion for Forge, and more. Moreover, this new employee needed to be someone who shared the vision of Forge and shared our passion for investing in the lives and futures of students and graduates, cultivating the next generation of conservative leadership.
We found an amazing fit in Jennie Simunek, and it’s my pleasure to introduce her to you here. I know she looks forward to meeting you in person someday soon.
Jennie Simunek is the Director of Operations for Forge Leadership Network. Having a wealth of experience in organizational growth and development, Jennie brings structural leadership to Forge as she executes logistics for all programming and establishes scalable operations systems.
Jennie’s calling into education began as a founding board member for a private Christian academy in Cincinnati. During her tenure there she also served as an executive assistant to the elementary and high school principals, both during times of increased growth and expansion for the school. Having been invited by the principal to teach history, Jennie embarked on an adventure that grew into a love of teaching middle and high school students in history, comparative worldviews, and government.
A graduate of Miami University, Jennie holds a multidisciplinary degree in International Studies with focuses on Europe and the Middle East. As an undergraduate, Jennie spent a year in Luxembourg studying international relations and economics, and traveling throughout Europe, the Soviet Union, and Saudi Arabia. This experience equipped her to later serve as an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency during the Reagan administration.
Jennie is a member of Faith Christian Fellowship Church, and she and her husband, Jim, live in Cincinnati. They have three grown daughters, who all live in Chicago, allowing Jennie to return often to where she grew up.
(Picture: Jennie and Adam speaking to the students at the start of the 2017 Forge Leadership Summit)
Join Our Team To Make This All Possible!
Thank you for believing in the vision of Forge. Would you please consider joining Team Forge in financial support? Over a hundred individuals and families donate to Forge in order to make it possible to serve and equip young adults who are world-changers! Would you join us?
Whether you choose to donate $5 a month, $50 a month, or $500 a month – all of it makes a HUGE and TANGIBLE difference and is fully tax-deductible!
This is a pivotal time as we’ve brought on Jennie, our second employee. She’s doing a fantastic job and Forge is reaching new heights in our capacity to serve students and refine our programming. Your support makes this possible and is deeply appreciated!
Please help us keep up this momentum! I’d be honored if you’d consider making a special gift at this time to help ensure that Jennie’s position is permanent, so that the work of Forge can continue full-speed ahead for the years to come.
Thanking God For You,