John Barry, former Executive Director of America’s Future Foundation, is now the Head of Government Affairs for Visa International in London, England. Last week we caught up with him to talk about careers, liberty, and AFF.
America’s Future Foundation: How did you get involved in the liberty movement?
John Barry: Thanks to my family. My uncle is Ed Feulner. But more importantly, my father ran a small family foundry that was effectively put out of business by overbearing federal regulation.
AFF: What did you learn during your time with AFF?
JB: I learned the importance of personal connections and telling stories to get our point across.
AFF: How and why did you make the move to the private sector?
JB: I got lucky and was able to leverage my time working on Capitol Hill into a government relations job with Visa. It was important for me to get out of Washington and see what life is like in the actual economy that we in the Liberty movement talk so much about. This job came up that was about as far as you can get from Washington (San Francisco and now London) but still made use of my professional connections and experience working in and around DC.
AFF: What has been the key to your professional success?
JB: To the extent I’ve been successful, it’s a result of making sure to associate myself with hard working and determined colleagues. Be open to new experiences and always focus on the substance of the work and not the politics.
AFF: Speaking of success, what is the best thing young professionals can do to advance their career?
JB: Get multiple different experiences both inside the liberty movement and outside. You’ll be much more credible and wise if you get firsthand experience being an entrepreneur or working in the private sector as well as working within the movement.
AFF: We know liberty is important to individuals. Is liberty an important principle in business?
JB: Certainly, liberty at the societal level is essential for business to flourish. This is something that many in business today have forgotten as they seek special regulatory treatment or subsidies from the government. So, yes, I think liberty is an essential principle in sustaining long term business success.
AFF: Do you have a favorite memory from your time with AFF?
JB: Probably the crabfests! Oh…and when we published the first issue of DoubleThink. It was such a landmark that we had become a permanent organization and produced something tangible.
AFF: Why do you support AFF financially, and would you encourage others to do the same?
JB: I support AFF financially because I believe that it is an investment in people, and that is one of the best investments that can be made. Investing in AFF is literally investing in the infrastructure of the Liberty Movement. My investment in AFF is multiplied many times over as AFFers develop through their career and the investment by others in other organizations kick in to further support their development and work. For these reasons and more, I’d absolutely encourage everybody to support AFF.
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