On the latest episode of Giving Ventures, DonorsTrust Vice President Peter Lipsett talks with Adam Josefczyk, co-founder and president of Forge Leadership Network; Noah Sofio, director of alumni and careers programming at the David Network; and Yael Levin Hungerford, executive director of the Adam Smith Society, a project of Manhattan Institute. The leaders discuss the unique ways they are cultivating and connecting future free-market leaders on Main Street and Wall Street.
Forge Leadership Network ‘Farm Team’ for Conservative Movement
Josefczyk has hope the embrace of free-market principles won’t end with members of Generation Z, especially if he has anything to do with it. He and his team are training young adults from the Rust Belt and equipping them to serve in leadership capacities in their respective communities and states.
“Few young conservatives it seems are working in or have a long-term vision for their state. Much of the young, conservative talent is drawn to DC, but doesn’t make it back to the states that are so crucial to our nation’s future. So, Forge sets out—to use a baseball analogy—Forge sets out to be the farm team.”
The organization hosts an annual summit and invites people to nominate those ages 18 to 25 who might benefit from the program. The team at Forge then selects a handful of standouts to participate in its year-long mentorship academy centered on skill-building, mentorship and conviction-building.
“So, Forge really has a state focus on really developing a pipeline—a farm team—to replenish, improve and expand the ranks of the conservative movement in the states that decide so much of our nation’s future,” Josefczyk says, adding one-third of participants work full-time and attend community college.
Conservative Ivy League Grads Create Elite-Jobs Network
While Josefczyk conditions the conservative movement farm team, Noah Sofio and his co-workers are working to likewise pioneer a way for conservative men and women to gather and grow. The difference? Sofio is working to place Ivy-League-educated graduates in corporate and conservative jobs.
“The David Network began as a pan-Ivy-League group that marched together at the March for Life and what we saw when we got together was ‘Wow, there’s [sic] a lot of us here and maybe we can do more than what we thought,’ and so do we did — we set out to do that,” says Sofio.
Sofio, a Dartmouth College graduate and former Goldman Sachs analyst, says David Network has grown from its informal gathering at the March for Life and annually brings together at Museum of the Bible more than 500 students Ivy League students nationwide as well as students from Stanford and MIT.
“We hold true to our core principles, which is a Judeo-Christian framework to our organization. With that being said, at our conference in the past, we’ve had speakers from the orthodox Jewish faith, Catholic and protestant speakers as well. So, there’s a strong faith aspect to it.”
In addition to its annual conference, the David Network has a careers platform that connects Ivy-League undergraduates and early career Ivy-League graduates with corporate leaders — for example, a managing director at an investment bank or the CEO of a fund managing money for its sole principal.
“By connecting these groups of people, we are able to do things like help young conservatives get jobs at influential firms in America, help conservative professionals from conservative groups within those firms and help conservative business owners and employers find like-minded talent…”
Adam Smith Society Defends Profit Motive
While Sofio and his team work to connect conservative Ivy-League graduates with executive leadership at top investment firms, Hungerford and her team at the Adam Smith Society — a project of Manhattan Institute — endeavor to supplement the education of those in MBA programs nationwide in an effort to support future free-market leaders.
“In recent years, arguments for stakeholder capitalism and ESG investing have gained prominence on top business-school campuses, making our efforts more important than ever. Perhaps surprisingly, we now find that it’s necessary to hold events on MBA campuses that defend the profit motive and share-holder-value maximization.”
The society has dozens of chapters — 33 campuses across the country and two campuses in Israel — and hosts a variety of events that explore the importance of free-market capitalism to a free and flourishing society. Its events include panels, debates, book discussions and single-speaker gatherings all to educate future free-market leaders.
“We invest most in those students whom we identify as leaders — students who are most engaged with our mission and who act as our ambassadors on campus. For this segment of our student members, we offer year-long educational enhancements, including private calls with industry and thought leaders.”