Name: Jason Riddle
College: University of Georgia
Job/Company Title: Senior Manager for a Management Consulting Firm & America’s Future Foundation Atlanta Chapter Leader
Have you always known you wanted a career in advancing liberty? If no; how did you get involved in the liberty movement?
Out of college I started working at one of the larger business consulting firms. I worked there for five years. The experience was great, but I did not love what I was doing. It was around the time of the onset of the financial crisis and the 2008 presidential election that the spark was ignited for me. I owe the initial inspiration to three books in particular. I read Atlas Shrugged, The Law, and Economics in One Lesson and my world was forever changed. After that I began to devour countless books, articles, videos, and audio lectures from the great thinkers, past and present. The more I learned about the ideas of liberty and sound economics, ideas to which I was never even exposed in public school, the more passionate I became about communicating the message of freedom.
I decided to make the change. I put myself in a position to be able to take the risk of leaving a stable job and making the leap into the unknown. At the time, I knew I wanted to get into the field of ideas, but I did not know exactly what shape my journey would take.
I began taking a few classes at a local university and writing for several websites and blogs. By chance, I met local radio show host who needed help putting together material for segments. After about a month of helping with research, I found myself doing a few spots on the air and then became a regular co-host for a free-market talk show on the business station here in Atlanta. I was fortunate enough to be an on-air host for two years, broadcasting five days a week and interviewing my favorite economists, authors, and policy experts.
How do you specifically advance liberty?
The experience of making the leap to follow my passion and focus on advancing the cause of liberty has opened so many wonderful opportunities for me. Although I am no longer hosting the radio program, I still podcast from time to time at LibertyOutLoud.com, and I do interviews on other liberty-oriented talk shows.
I blog regularly for FreedomUnfiltered.com and have been published in the Freeman and local publications such as the Peachtree Papers. One of the biggest pieces of advice I have for anyone wanting a career advancing liberty is to write, write, write.
I am the co-founder of the Rothbard Circle, a free-market discussion group in Atlanta. And, of course, one of the most enjoyable things I am doing right now is leading the AFF-Atlanta chapter!
I think it is very important that I donate what I can in terms of time and money to the wonderful organizations that do such a great job promoting these ideas and cultivating our future leaders.
How has AFF helped you advance your career?
AFF is a tremendously powerful networking platform. I have been able to develop strong relationships with many engaged, liberty-minded individuals even beyond the group of regular attendees to our events in Atlanta. I am now connected to numerous AFF members around the country, the featured presenters that we have hosted, and the leadership from several large organizations advancing the cause of liberty.
Additionally, being active on the local chapter leadership team has given me the opportunity to enhance my organizational and communication skills, as well as gain experience in an area that is new to me: development and fundraising!
What is a challenge that you’ve had to face in your career and how did you handle it?
The biggest challenge for me was making the decision to jump from safety into the unknown to follow my passion for advancing the cause of liberty. It was one of the best decisions I have made. With hard work and dedication to your goals, the rest seems to follow. You don’t always know where you are going to end up, but once you get started the opportunities will present themselves.
Nobody is going to take charge of your career for you. All too often, people passively look to others to guide their path or they coast along some established path. Many people have a habit of waiting for somebody to give them something. I see this a lot in the business world, and I see it frequently in people pursuing liberty-focused careers as well. If you want to take on more responsibility or gain responsibility in a given area – ask for it. You should actively seek guidance and advice from professional mentors. Leverage career resources that are provided by organizations like AFF. You are going to have to take charge and shape your own career. Finally, every day of employment should be a voluntary, mutually-beneficial arrangement. Make sure you are maximizing the intangible benefits you are getting out of it.
Oftentimes, those of us who have been immersed in the ideas of liberty are extremely passionate and excited to share what we have learned. Sometimes our approach can be overwhelming for the people who have not been exposed to these ideas. When talking to people new to the ideas of liberty, I have found it better to ask questions as opposed to trying to preach first principles in abstract and theoretical terms. Treat the conversation as if you are both trying to get closer to the truth. Don’t preach, ask questions, plant seeds…. liberty does a good job selling itself!