Home » News » Be on the Front Foot: Chris Ullman Encourages TFAS Students To Live Their Best Lives at Welcome Ceremony

Be on the Front Foot: Chris Ullman Encourages TFAS Students To Live Their Best Lives at Welcome Ceremony

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The 2024 cohort of The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) Academic Internship Program gathered for their Welcome Ceremony, marked by a keynote address delivered by TFAS Trustee Chris Ullman, communications professional, author, inspirational speaker, mentor and champion whistler.

Today starts a sprint that you will always remember and will impact the rest of your lives.” – Chris Ullman, TFAS Trustee

On the heels of his latest viral clip – whistling the national Anthem at the Baltimore Orioles game, Ullman welcomed – and whistled – for the 275 college students attending the TFAS summer programs in Washington, D.C.

With a blend of wisdom, humor, and insight, Ullman set the tone for the transformative eight-week journey that lies ahead.

Ullman left students inspired as he drew from personal anecdotes and themes in his latest book, “Four Billionaires and a Parking Attendant: Success Strategies of the Wealthy, Powerful, and Just Plain Wise.” Among the sound advice he shared:

“Do more, not less. Raise your hand. Don’t remain silent. Get in the game. Be on the front foot. Don’t sit on the sideline. Because if you don’t take on a tough project, someone else will.”

Ullman began by acknowledging the extraordinary commitment of TFAS leaders Roger Ream and Randy Teague, whose decades-long dedication to shaping the next generation of leaders sets the stage for the program’s success. “You are the future,” Ullman reminded the students, emphasizing the weight of the opportunity before them.

Ullman has been a dedicated TFAS volunteer and supporter for 25 years. He officially joined the TFAS Board of Trustees last summer, and prior to that, he served as a TFAS volunteer, internship host, mentor, TFAS Board of Regent member and guest lecturer.

Ullman explored what it means to “live your best life this summer and beyond.’

“At its core, being your best is about being in the game – or as the British say, ‘being on the front foot’,” Ullman explained. “You can picture it clearly, It’s a mental thing. It’s a physical thing, It’s knees bent, eyes focused, your arms out, your hands twitchy, ready to spot and take advantage of opportunities.”

As he delved into life lessons, Ullman captivated the students with stories that ranged from chance encounters in parking garages to intimate lunches with influential leaders. Through these narratives, he conveyed the importance of seizing opportunities, maintaining confidence in the face of adversity, and cultivating gratitude in every aspect of life.

“Today starts a sprint that you will always remember and will impact the rest of your lives,” Ullman declared, urging the students to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

From navigating internships to building meaningful connections, he underscored the significance of each moment in shaping their futures.

Throughout the address, Ullman wove together themes of resilience, curiosity, and humility, encouraging the students to approach their experiences with an open mind and a willingness to learn from every encounter. “Your best life depends on it,” he reminded them, driving home the message that their choices and attitudes will ultimately determine their paths forward.

As the ceremony drew to a close, Ullman left the students with a sense of purpose and possibility. His words resonated deeply with the students, setting the stage for a transformative journey ahead. With his guidance echoing in their minds, they embarked on the next chapter of their TFAS experience, eager to embrace the opportunities and challenges that await.

In the weeks and months to come, TFAS students will have Ullman’s keynote address as a source of inspiration and guidance as they navigate their academic internships and beyond.

Thanks to Ullman’s generous in-kind donation, each TFAS student received a free copy of his book “Four Billionaires and a Parking Attendant: Success Strategies of the Wealthy, Powerful, and Just Plain Wise.”

 

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