You may be surprised how someone can express a career of several diverse jobs in one inspiring sentence. However, Roger Ream, the president of The Fund for American Studies, is able to articulate his experience in the public and non-profit sector succinctly. Ream’s success, he claims, is a result of his “passion for economic education and improving economic literacy.”
A passionate career that started with two “chance meetings”.
Roger’s passion for economics began during his undergraduate career at Vanderbilt University when he met David Jones, The Fund for American Studies’ founder. That meeting was the result of a chance meeting with David Boaz, a classmate at Vanderbilt and now executive vice president of the Cato Institute. Boaz invited Roger to a meeting with David Jones the following day. Jones encouraged Roger to partake in a Fund for American Studies summer internship program and that fostered a friendship that eventually led to Roger being offered a position at The Fund.
Roger did not always have his sights set on becoming the president of The Fund for American Studies. He spent more than a decade trying his hand at a number of diverse jobs: Field Representative for Congressman Philip Crane, a position on the Senior Staff as Director of Seminars with the Foundation for Economic Freedom—both of which were the result of internships—a job as the Special Assistant to Congressman Ron Paul, and as a co-founder of a grassroots citizen group called Citizens for a Sound Economy (now Americans for Prosperity). It wasn’t until 1991 that Roger joined The Fund for American Studies’ team as the Executive Vice President, and it wasn’t until 1998 that he became President after founder David Jones passed away. “It’s funny how it works”, Roger said after some reflection, “how you can meet someone in college and they have such a huge impact on your life!”
The moral of this story? Don’t shut out your options and be flexible in your career path. An unexpected opportunity or meeting may change your life.
All of Roger’s positions have aligned with his aforementioned passion for economic education. He explained that all aspects of his career path involved cultivating an interest in economics in people and the importance of economic literacy to some degree.
What matters most is what people in society think and therefore reaching young people with ideas is crucial, because policy is ultimately the outcome of the ideas that people hold.
He wants the next generation to be interested and educated in economics and devotes his work at The Fund to carrying out that goal; running programs on four continents dedicated to political and economic literacy in young professionals.
Roger also takes his goal far beyond his profession. He serves on the boards of many foundations dedicated to increasing political and economic interest in young people. He avidly supports AFF’s conservative and libertarian efforts as an advisory board member. In addition, he serves on the boards of Foundation for Economic Education, the U.S. Air Force Academy Foundation and the International Freedom Educational Foundation. He is also past president of the Philadelphia Society and a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and Talent Market.
Persistence: the key to success and happiness.
To young, ambitious professionals, Roger recommends networking and building as many strong relationships as possible. “Be persistent,” he says. “Follow-up is extremely important. Don’t hesitate to call people multiple times.”
Roger believes that following ones passions is extremely important in a career, stressing the point that if possible you should not settle for just any job:
Follow what you are passionate about. You won’t be satisfied with your job unless you are doing something that you think is worthwhile and you’re doing the best job you can do.
A final piece of advice from Roger.
In life there are always highs and lows, times where you face setbacks and challenges and other times where you can enjoy great accomplishments. But you always have to realize that’s part of life. You have to stay focused on certain goals that you want to reach at the end of the day and not let the setbacks get you down too much.
If you are interested in the work of The Fund for American Studies, make sure to visit their website here.
Christine Smith is an intern with America’s Future Foundation this summer through the Fund for American Studies.
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