Home » News » Featured Supporter: TFAS Regent Chris Ullman Whistles a Happy Tune

Featured Supporter: TFAS Regent Chris Ullman Whistles a Happy Tune

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Chris Ullman encourages TFAS students to use love and their “simple gifts” to make a positive impact on the world.

It’s not very often you get to meet a member of the International Whistling Hall of Fame, let alone one who worked as a top communications aide at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget; served as chief spokesman for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and as the head of corporate communications for one of the world’s largest international investment firms, The Carlyle Group; authored a bestselling book; manages his own communications firm; and currently sits on the Board of Regents at The Fund for American Studies, but here at TFAS we are lucky enough to know just such a person!

Embrace the loving. It is something that will help you be a part of the solution as we live our lives as individuals and as part of a community.” – Regent Chris Ullman

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to TFAS Regent Chris Ullman. He’s a generous individual who finds opportunities to give every day. Ullman shares his whistling gift with the world and has performed for the likes of billionaires, members of Congress, and presidents – including President George W. Bush in the Oval Office. Even with his many accolades and consuming career, Ullman still finds time to volunteer with TFAS.

While Ullman was serving as the White House Budget Spokesman in 2001, he whistled “The Lone Ranger” for President George W. Bush in the Oval Office. (Also sharing the stage that day was TFAS Trustee Emeritus Mitch Daniels, who served in the president’s cabinet. Daniels “dueled” with Ullman in their rendition of
“Dueling Banjos.”)

Ullman became involved with TFAS more than 20 years ago because he was worried about the way our country was headed, but he knew TFAS could help change the course by shaping the next generation of leaders.

Three years ago, when asked to join the TFAS Board of Regents, Ullman jumped at the opportunity to take on a greater role in the organization’s leadership.

A longtime TFAS volunteer, Ullman has served as a mentor and guest lecturer for students attending TFAS’s D.C. Academic Internship Program. He also serves on the Board of Visitors for TFAS’s Public Policy + Economics program track. Ullman has witnessed firsthand the high-quality programming TFAS provides its students, and he sums up what the program delivers in four key themes: a greater appreciation of free-market policies; professional development; networking skills; and tons of fun and excitement.

When Ullman gave the commencement speech at the TFAS D.C. Summer Programs closing ceremony in 2019, “love” was his core message to the students.

Love can “make you a better friend, a better spouse, a better citizen, a better human,” Ullman told the students. It is “something that will help you be a part of the solution as we live our lives as individuals and as part of a community.”

The point of thoughtful discourse is to share, to learn, and to solve problems, not to score points. As a society, we need to get away from the poking and embrace the loving.” – Chris Ullman

He went on to assert, “The point of thoughtful discourse is to share, to learn, and to solve problems, not to score points. As a society, we need to get away from the poking and embrace the loving.”

Ullman speaks with students about the importance of taking control of their own futures, working hard, and being authentic.

Ullman has worked with hundreds of TFAS students over the years and finds them to be “smart, inquisitive, humble, and excited about their lives and careers.”

When asked what advice he gives TFAS students, Ullman replied, “Your future is mostly in your hands, take command of the situation. Every day is a gift, make the most of them. Avoid social media, it’s a cesspool. Think long-term, don’t burn bridges. Network like crazy, but be authentic. Be brave. Ask hard questions. Do hard things. Always tell the truth. Work like a dog. And be strategic but flexible.”

Anyone who has ever met Ullman knows those aren’t just things he tells other people to do, but how he lives his life every day.

Ullman lives out this principle by loving and giving back to others, and he believes everyone can do this in a simple way. In his book, “Find Your Whistle: Simple Gifts Touch Hearts and Change Lives,” Ullman writes, “Each one of us is a unique gift from God, with unique skills, desires, opportunities and challenges. It’s up to each of us to make the most of our simple gift, to find, develop, and share our whistles, not keep them undiscovered or bottled up.”

Be authentic. Be brave. Ask hard questions. Do hard things. Always tell the truth. Work like a dog. And be strategic but flexible.” – Chris Ullman

Ullman believes an important way to do this is by giving to organizations like TFAS, which build up honorable leaders for the future.

“Give money to TFAS,” he said. “It will be well spent and make a real difference in the lives of the next generation of thinkers and leaders.”

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