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Liberty + Leadership Podcast – Lindsey Rose King on Entrepreneurship

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Lindsey Rose King ’06 is the founder of Mostess, a home decor and hosting company in Houston, Texas. She is alumna of TFAS’s Business and Government Relations program and currently serves on the TFAS Board of Regents.

In this week’s Liberty and Leadership Podcast, Roger and Lindsey Rose discuss the challenges of starting and running her own company, her time on Capitol Hill, political fundraising, and how her TFAS experience prepared her for the future.

The Liberty + Leadership Podcast is hosted by TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 and produced by kglobal. If you have a comment or question for the show, please drop us an email at podcast@TFAS.org.

 


Episode Transcript

The transcript below is lightly edited for clarity.

Roger Ream [00:00:00] Hello and welcome. I’m Roger Ream and this is the Liberty and Leadership podcast, a conversation with TFAS alumni who are making a real impact in politics, public policy, government, business, philanthropy, law and the media. Today, I’m excited to welcome Lindsey Rose King to the Liberty and Leadership podcast. Lindsey Rose attended TFAS’s Business and Government Relations program in 2006 and is also a member of our Board of Regents. Lindsey is an accomplished business professional. Not only does she have extensive experience in political fundraising, but she’s also started and run her own companies. Today, we’ll hear about how TFAS shaped her career, how she deals with obstacles as an entrepreneur and what courageous leadership looks like to her. Lindsey Rose, thank you so much for joining me today.

Lindsey Rose King [00:00:56] Thank you. I’m glad to be here.

Roger Ream [00:00:58] Well, what I’d love to do is start with when you first got involved with TFAS, you were a student at Texas Christian, as I recall.

Lindsey Rose King [00:01:08] University of Texas. But I won’t hold it against you.

Roger Ream [00:01:12] Well, you got to hold that against me. I had bad information.

Lindsey Rose King [00:01:16] It is football season, so it was probably the worst time for you to do that.

Roger Ream [00:01:19] Yeah, that’s either bad memory or bad information for me. You were in Austin. Where did you grow up?

Lindsey Rose King [00:01:27] Fort Worth. That’s why you’d think.

Roger Ream [00:01:29] That’s the connection there. Well, good. At the great University of Texas. How did you hear about TFAS and come across our program?

Lindsey Rose King [00:01:39] So for me it was just in passing. So I was enrolled at UT. One of my sorority sisters had just come back from doing one of the programs and just in passing she said, Hey. You should do this program this summer. And I had never heard of it before, so it was just in passing. And by chance, I think that she was aware that I had just recently changed my major from biology to political science. And so I think she kind of was like, this is something you might find interesting. So that’s how I heard of it.

Roger Ream [00:02:15] Yeah. Well, as I recall, hopefully correctly, you were thinking of pre-med, you mentioned biology becoming a veterinarian?

Lindsey Rose King [00:02:23] Absolutely.

Roger Ream [00:02:24] What led you to change your major to political science?

Lindsey Rose King [00:02:28] It was the required Texas government class that the University of Texas at the time made me take in order to be in the College of Natural Sciences. And so I had been dreading that class. I had spent the first almost three years of my time at UT, like chemistry, biology, all of that. I was in a lab with a pipette. I had like glasses on and I had been dreading this class. So when I finally took that class, the professor, you know, just spoke. It was one of the first times where I was introduced to a learning environment where it wasn’t memorize this formula, apply this to that. It was, How do you feel about this? Raise your hand. What do you think of this? And so I remember sitting in that classroom thinking, Oh, you know, I promised my parents I was going to be an equine veterinarian. But this sounds way more interesting.

Roger Ream [00:03:28] And so then your sorority sister told you about TFAS and you applied.

Lindsey Rose King [00:03:32] Yes.

Roger Ream [00:03:34] You ended up in Washington for a summer in our Business and Government Affairs program.

Lindsey Rose King [00:03:40] Correct.

Roger Ream [00:03:40] Tell me a little about that experience. We were at Georgetown at the time, right?

Lindsey Rose King [00:03:46] We were at Georgetown. Which is now dating me significantly. If there’s anyone younger on that’s listening.

Roger Ream [00:03:53] You know, that was at least nine years ago.

Lindsey Rose King [00:03:57] Only nine years ago.

Roger Ream [00:03:58] That’s when we went to George Mason University.

Lindsey Rose King [00:04:00] Well, I mean, my experience was pretty much defined by the live, learn and intern motto that I believe we still frequently use. For me, that was the classroom, that was living in the D.C. area and going to an internship with real world experience. And then also the mentor that I had. So I had a wonderful experience. But going into it, I had no idea what was ahead of me. When you’re in a university setting prior to going to TFAS, you’re in this bubble, you tend to not interact that much with the real world and like real adults, so to speak, and to be thrown into an environment where learning, interning and all of that is colliding together. It was a pretty awesome experience, but definitely a lot going on. An invaluable.

Roger Ream [00:05:03] I seem to recall at some point you told me you came from somewhat of a mixed marriage with different political affiliations.

Lindsey Rose King [00:05:13] And religious too.

Roger Ream [00:05:15] And religious. And it must have made for interesting conversations around the dinner table.

Lindsey Rose King [00:05:19] That is correct. And is this leading into the time when I lied to TFAS on my application?

Roger Ream [00:05:25] Sure. If you’re willing to tell that story, go right ahead.

Lindsey Rose King [00:05:29] So and this is after I had heard when you had asked, you know, when I first learned of TFAS, I was looking online at the application process. And as history prior to this, I had a Catholic mom who was a Democrat and my father was Methodist and extremely conservative. So growing up, it was constant conversations and arguments back and forth at the dinner table. I mean, it just was the way we were confrontational and, you know, back up your claim. So I was surrounded by different sides all the time. And when I showed my mom the online application for TFAS, she leans in and at the time I was extremely liberal. I was interning and campaigning in Austin for the Democratic Party and candidates that they had. My mom leaned in and she goes, because I think one of the questions at the time was how conservative you are. It was something along the lines and someone could pull up something from that many years ago. But it was How conservative are you? You know, ABCD. And my mom goes, Lindsay, you have to pick the most conservative option because this is a very conservative organization. And I was like, Sure, I’ll let them think I’m conservative because I want to get picked because my friends have spoken about this program. Plus, I was like going to Washington, D.C. It would be awesome. And so I lied on my application. I don’t know if that says anything. My mom, the Democrat at the time, told me to lie.

Roger Ream [00:07:05] Well, I have to say, I have to interject that you didn’t need to lie because, you know, our admissions is kind of blind in terms of your political outlook and continues to be. It was actually a decision we made in about 1974, I think not too many years after we were founded, that we wanted to accept the best and brightest young leaders from across the country without regard to their perspective on any particular policy or issues or party affiliation. But you’re right, when we accept students in terms of purposes of internship placements, we need to usually ask them their political affiliation and get a sense of that, because you wouldn’t want to place someone who’s like a college Republican in a Democratic office or someone whose a college Democrat in a Republican office. So that’s when we kind of ask the student and that’s when you probably had your answer.

Lindsey Rose King [00:08:02] I think I could actually clarify. It wasn’t a lie. I naively answered the question, how about that? I hadn’t done enough research beforehand.

Roger Ream [00:08:12] It was a prediction of the future maybe.

Lindsey Rose King [00:08:13]  It was. And I actually was placed at a fairly conservative internship and I worked for them for five years after that.

Roger Ream [00:08:23] And you had a good experience in your internship, I take it?

Lindsey Rose King [00:08:27] Yes.

Roger Ream [00:08:28] They hired you when you graduated?

Lindsey Rose King [00:08:30] They did. And that’s something I can talk about later, too.

Roger Ream [00:08:33] And you had a couple of courses in the Business Government Affairs program and I think one on ethics and values. Did you find the courses interesting? I don’t know if you remember them very well at this point. Not that it was that long ago.

Lindsey Rose King [00:08:48] Exactly. I think the biggest takeaway from transitioning from being, you know, the prior semester. I had been at the city of Texas as a political science major and then I transitioned into TFAS and you go straight into these classes. And the biggest difference is that the people teaching the class had real-life jobs or had had a real life job or they consulted or interacted with people outside of an academic setting. And I had never experienced that before. So the type of conversations and the interaction that the professors had with me and the other students in the class was different. It was a completely new experience. Because they brought in this outside world skill set and thought and problem-solving type of skill set, so to speak.

Roger Ream [00:09:47] And you mentioned the live aspect of live, learn, intern. You probably developed some friendships that stayed with you for some time afterwards.

Lindsey Rose King [00:09:59] Yes and I believe our theme in our apartment was make it work. Because there were four of us in the apartment and all of us were from, I’ll say, not an urban environment. And the Georgetown campus was extremely urban. And what we dealt with that summer was, like, horrifying for us. But we learned real quick how to make it work. And we got real tough, real quick and learned how to be city girls.

Roger Ream [00:10:29] You know, the biggest complaint in those years about our program from students was the dormitories at Georgetown and the wildlife that seemed to inhabit them.

Lindsey Rose King [00:10:39] Yes, we had mice. We named them. We also flooded our dorm or apartment. It was an apartment style dorm, flooded multiple times that summer. So we learned a lot about interacting with a management company and all of that and advocating.

Roger Ream [00:10:59] Well, now the students are housed at George Washington University, which is much better.

Lindsey Rose King [00:11:07] Yeah, they’ve got it good. Now they’ve got it good.

Roger Ream [00:11:09] Yeah. And it’s closer to the metro as well. And then they go to the George Mason University campus in Arlington for classes, which is a relatively new building state of the art. And so it’s working out much better in terms of that kind of lifestyle of the students. Tell me about how you got hired by your intern sponsor after the summer after you graduated, I take it.

Lindsey Rose King [00:11:32] I did.

Roger Ream [00:11:32] And it had to do with politics?

Lindsey Rose King [00:11:34] It did. So it was an organization that worked with corporations and trade associations on how to engage their employees politically. So we would come in and help them build that relationship with Congress and find out which representatives were, you know, advancing things for their employees or advancing things for their customer base. And then also the second arm of that is we would consult them on how to then fundraise money legally and ethically in order to back certain candidates that that business or trade association wanted to back financially. So it was a pretty cool job and I learned a lot.

Roger Ream [00:12:19] Well, I love hearing from alumni who got their first job as a result of their internship. That’s not that uncommon in our program. And it was true for me, too. I did our program in much before you did an intern for a congressman who hired me when I graduated from college and I worked for him for a little almost three years. In many of the podcast conversations so far, that has been the case where students graduate and then came back to work for their intern sponsor, which is wonderful. We love that. We love to provide ideas and thoughtful conversations at our program. And I should get back to what you said about the fact that we do recruit students from across the spectrum, you know, and work very hard to make sure that it’s a civil environment for them to engage in discussions about ideas, either in the classroom with professors who have real life experience or in the dormitory at night. I would assume your roommates weren’t all of the same political persuasion?

Lindsey Rose King [00:13:21] No. And same with the program I did. I mean, it’s not called it has a different name now, the business and government one, but even the other students, we even clashed at times. And it was great though because we all were there for the same purpose. We were there to get this experience outside of the university that we were coming from. None of us had any ties to each other prior to coming to TFAS. And so it was just a very unique environment to discuss ideas. It was discussing ideas free of any previous bubble or, you know, family environment or friendships that you had prior to that. It was all new.

Roger Ream [00:14:05] Well, I had breakfast with some students toward the end of this summer’s program and I remember asking them whether they’ve had really heated arguments in the dorm at night over controversial issues like, say, Supreme Court decisions that have been issued this summer. And the response I got was, oh, no, they haven’t been that heated. We just really appreciate the opportunity to hear different perspectives from each other. And I thought, that’s great. I loved hearing that because that’s really what we try to set up at orientation now is have friends who have different perspectives than you do. Be willing to listen and engage in civil conversations. And, you know, it’s unlikely any of you will persuade anyone of a different viewpoint in an argument at night in your dorm. That person you’re arguing with isn’t going to suddenly see the light and change their view on the issue. So, you know, be willing to have a civil discussion and listen. And hopefully that’s what took place that summer when you were at TFAS.

Lindsey Rose King [00:15:01] Absolutely. And it’s good to hear that it’s still happening and TFAS is providing that environment for it to happen. That’s the most important thing.

Roger Ream [00:15:09] And looking back, do you think that your background, where you grew up, that was kind of conversations at the dinner table where you said you had to come with good arguments. That was probably a valuable experience for you to have parents who, you know, had that kind of dinner table discussions underway. I’m thinking of it because in the podcast we just released today, in a conversation I had with Elliot Kauffman, who is at The Wall Street Journal now, he came from exactly an environment like that, not necessarily differing viewpoints, but enough of a I’ll put it this way, he said at almost every dinner conversation there was an argument and they had to back it up with evidence. And that turned Elliott into a champion debater in high school. And now he carries on in the role of a letters editor at The Wall Street Journal, where the debate is pretty intense too in the letters he publishes. So I think it’s important for those conversations to take place around the dinner table.

Lindsey Rose King [00:16:07] Absolutely. And to then have an opportunity to learn how to use those conversation skills. My first summer in D.C. with TFAS. It was, you know, you then continue to learn after you get out of your home environment, how to speak with one another, how to state your case. Because in a lot of situations, at least once you go into the professional working world, a lot of decisions are compromises. A lot of decisions are not ideal. And so when you can learn to hear the opposing sides case and understand what top priorities are for them and what the top priorities for your side that you’re representing are, especially in the business community, you can tend to negotiate and come to a really good decision that benefits both sides. So professionally, being able to debate that way and speak that way at TFAS with the other students that summer really set the stage for the rest of my professional career. Which I guess you know professional career really started with TFAS.

Roger Ream [00:17:15] Well that is an outstanding piece of wisdom you just shared. And I think not enough young people and college students understand that in terms of what it’s like in a career and not just in the business world, but particularly in the business world, where you have to make compromises, you have to be willing to hear viewpoints that you don’t always agree with to reach a decision on something.

Lindsey Rose King [00:17:35] If you’re not going to be that type of person or you’re not willing to learn how to develop that skillset, then you really should not pick a career where those skills are needed. You should work or champion for a cause that you can blindly do. But for most of Americans and most people that I know that have gone through The Fund for American Studies like you’re in these normal professional settings and you have to work with other people on a team for a better answer and a better solution for everyone than sticking to an ideal.

Roger Ream [00:18:12] Well, let’s fast forward a little because I do want to get to your entrepreneurial endeavors, particularly at your most recent. So you went from five years working for the company that sponsored you as an intern. And then you at some point you broke out on your own right? With your own company?

Lindsey Rose King [00:18:30] I did. And the interim I then worked for a national trade association doing fundraising, political fundraising and then I worked for a defense company doing political fundraising. And I was asked while I was employed with the defense company to jump on a campaign and fundraise. So jumping on that campaign was kind of the first step into my entrepreneurial career. So that really is what kicked off what I’m calling my second career because I did political consulting for companies and trade associations for almost ten years prior to starting my own company.

Roger Ream [00:19:18] And so tell us about that decision to start your own company.

Lindsey Rose King [00:19:23] I basically was like a hired gun for this campaign. They’re like, we need you to come in for the primaries and do X, Y and Z. So I thought it was just going to be, you know, 3 to 6 months max. And then I’ll go back to D.C. and work for a business or hopefully get the job that I had previously. But I realized after the campaign. That I really liked making my own decisions. I really liked knowing that everything that happened, I was responsible for it. I was answering to the candidate and to the campaign as a whole. But I came in as a consultant. Like, Hey, like I said before, it was the hired gun. And I really liked doing that. And I knew I couldn’t do that if I worked for a company or a trade association. So I started my own business and it was pretty scary. Because, you know, you’re not really taught how to be an entrepreneur. Maybe now there’s more curriculum and stuff in our schools for that, but I’m not aware of it. And it was pretty scary. And a lot of people, my professional peers and things of that nature, kind of looked down on it like, Why? Why would you do that? We’ve all worked our tails off to become seasoned political professionals in our field. Like, why would you leave that and start over? So it was  pretty scary. But the milestone moment for me when I knew it was all worth it was when and it’s not a big number. But for me at the time it was important is when I made my first $10,000 completely on my own. I sought out the clients, I worked for that client, I did the invoicing, I opened the bank account, I put the checks in there. So that first 10k was a huge accomplishment for me.

Roger Ream [00:21:30] And how long did you have this company? It was probably cyclical through campaigns.

Lindsey Rose King [00:21:37]  I did it, it was the whole year.

Roger Ream [00:22:32]  So you ran your own company. Did you have any employees at that time or was it just you?

Lindsey Rose King [00:22:40] It was just me. It was just a, you know, solo operation.

Roger Ream [00:22:45] And now did you move to Texas?

Lindsey Rose King [00:22:48] Yes.

Roger Ream [00:22:50] And you saw in another entrepreneurial opportunity.

Lindsey Rose King [00:22:54] Yes, I launched a venture that was in no way related to political consulting. So you can do something that’s not related to your current career. So I actually came up with the idea for this business when I was living in Arlington, Virginia, Washington, D.C. area. I had the idea but I didn’t press go on it until probably three months after I thought of it. And then during that time, my husband actually had a job opportunity in Houston, Texas, so we were busy moving to another state. So I said, this is a great time to start a new company when you’re moving across the country. I don’t recommend it, but it can be done. So my idea was in the box subscription space. So if anyone’s familiar with that sort of shipping logistics, it’s a direct to consumer business model. So the idea I had was to create hosting boxes that helped busy individuals entertain and enjoy their friends and family in their home. And it was subscription based, which I really liked that business model because you get recurring revenue. Mine was quarterly. So quarterly I knew that I had this revenue coming in. It was a lot of work but I loved it. And I want to say before I forget, the whole reason that I pressed go on this idea was because I wasn’t afraid to let go of my current career and I wasn’t afraid to let go of my current career because I had taken that chance and taken the job at that campaign. And that got me thinking like, Oh, I can work on my own. I have a skill set where I can find clients and do business deals on my own. So, even if you aren’t in that mindset, you can very quickly get into the mindset of starting a business as long as you aren’t afraid to give up what you currently have.

Roger Ream [00:24:48] Yeah. And this company, you named it Mostess, right?

Lindsey Rose King [00:24:52] Yes.

Roger Ream [00:24:53] Hostess with the Mostess. Yeah and I think there’s a story about getting a write up in the Houston Chronicle.

Lindsey Rose King [00:25:02] Yeah, that was a defining moment.

Roger Ream [00:25:04] Well and I think you tapped the alumni network to help get that?

Lindsey Rose King [00:25:08] I think it tapped itself. And that’s how strong the alumni network is. So I think the word had gotten out that I had started this business. And I got a call from the Houston Chronicle reporter and she said, Hey, we’re doing this story. And I had mentioned, you know, the connection with TFAS and you know, that really hit the ground running and that was before I had officially launched the business. I had done a soft launch, which also might be called a friends and family launch for anyone that’s interested in starting like a direct to consumer business. Sometimes at a soft launch before it really goes live. And so I was in that phase.

Roger Ream [00:25:50] This, as I recall, was this 2016 you launched Mostess?

Lindsey Rose King [00:25:54] Yes, I did the soft launch in 2016 and I was still running my political fundraising firm during the day. So I was during doing that from 9 to 5 and then starting this company from like 5:00 until whenever my husband was like, you have to close your laptop. So, I was working two jobs in 2016.

Roger Ream [00:26:16] That’s the life of an entrepreneur. And then it took off and you were, you know, growing and probably had to carry a lot of inventory. Suddenly we hit a pandemic and that meant not many people were having parties. Is that right?

Lindsey Rose King [00:26:33] Yes. Well, what’s interesting with my business was that I didn’t lose my customer base. I had for the most part, since it was subscription based, which is huge, I would totally advocate for businesses that are subscription based because of the recurring revenue. But I had a great base of customers that loved the product because we were a luxury product so they could financially handle it. But the biggest issue that I faced was in the shipping and logistics portion of my business and I’ll kind of very put things in simple terms, but I had to rely on my wholesalers who were getting products overseas. A lot of things were held up on shipping containers for long periods of time or they weren’t getting anything because factories shut down. I also had wholesalers that were based in the United States who, you know, for weeks on end would have no employees that could work for them because of the pandemic. And so that completely turned my business upside down. And we just were I mean, we could not get products to then create our subscription boxes with and then ship them out to our customers. So I had to get very creative on how we sourced products. It was extremely stressful. We had to make a lot of cuts and the shipping and logistics and wholesale side of it is really what hurt us the most.

Roger Ream [00:28:01] Oh, I can’t imagine that. That must have been so very stressful. You’re building this dream into reality and then suddenly the world changes and you’ve got to try to figure it out and maybe pivot. And so what did you do?

Lindsey Rose King [00:28:16] Well, we made a lot of cuts. If you want me to go into the details on that, I can. But it was basic cuts across the board.

Roger Ream [00:28:24] Is the business still going now?

Lindsey Rose King [00:28:27] The company Mostess LLC is but the direct to consumer subscription portion is not. And I’m happy to jump into that because that was our pivot.

Roger Ream [00:28:37] Yeah, please do.

Lindsey Rose King [00:28:39] So we kept the doors open and the lights on, so to speak, for our subscription business for probably nine months longer than we should have. I was going in the hole. But trying to explain that to customers. How do you explain to a customer, hey, the invoice that we got for the wholesaler, they just called and upped it by 25% just because. I can’t then go to the customer and say So, hey, by the way, this product you just bought for me, I need you to give me, you know, 25% more of the value. It was crazy. So during this time someone on my team who is actually our photographer that helped to do the marketing and we create videos and beautiful photos for us to work at our product, said, Hey, I have some businesses that I work with that want their products to look the way you style your products. I thought it would be someone like, Hey, I want to merge our businesses or I want to buy your business. That would have been awesome if someone was like, Hey, someone, a big huge retailer wants to buy your business. Fantastic. So it kind of was not something I was seeking out or thinking would happen. And I did work just did a couple of client type jobs for these small businesses and I realized I really liked it. I also realized that there was hardly any overhead. So you had mentioned inventory before. So the business model I had was inventory heavy. I had to have a warehouse, I had to pay for shipping. I had all of this money tied up in that portion of the business. And when you’re going in as a marketing consultant or styling consultant for a business, I mean, you call the shots, it’s okay. This is my hourly rate. Do you want you know, how big of a team do you want for this marketing photo shoot? Here’s everything. And so it’s upfront. The other business is paying for that. And so I saw this opportunity where I could get rid of the burden of inventory management and logistics and shipping which is a nightmare. Any small business out there will tell you that was the worst part of the pandemic. And I can literally financially go in a direction where there’s no overhead. And it was a pretty amazing concept. So, about halfway through 2021 we refunded all of our subscriptions. That’s the one downfall of a subscription based business, is that if you do close down the business, you have to refund everyone that had prepaid. So once we did that, I pivoted the business model to be marketing and styling based for other small businesses.

Roger Ream [00:31:31] And that’s going well. I take it you’re growing.

Lindsey Rose King [00:31:35] Yes, I have a monthly actually a well-known magazine that every month we work on their products and we curate how we’re going to style it. So it’s pretty awesome that I’ve been able to pivot that way.

Roger Ream [00:31:52] Well, that’s outstanding. You know, I truly believe entrepreneurship is kind of at the heart of the American economy. It’s small business. And even through the pandemic, I was amazed at the numbers of small businesses that were being started. You know, many more fail than succeed. But you’ve really had a couple of successes. And, you know, that’s a credit to you and your hard work and your long hours and your intelligence as you built these companies without, as you said, you weren’t taught how to be an entrepreneur. You learned through experience. And that’s just outstanding. What kind of advice, if any, could you offer to a young person who says, you know, I really want to be an entrepreneur and start a business? They may have an idea. They may not. But how do they go about accomplishing that dream of wanting to be an entrepreneur?

Lindsey Rose King [00:32:47] So my first piece of advice is real simple. Just don’t be afraid. Just do it because what you think is the hardest thing, which is making the decision to do it. While it’s very, very hard the real work comes when you build the business. So rip the Band-Aid off. Just do it. Be brave. Don’t be afraid of it. My second piece of advice is depending on what state you live in. You need to look at trademarking the name and working with a third party to get a website reserved, a website domain name and then making sure that you file the necessary paperwork to either be a sole proprietorship or an LLC. In Texas, it’s very easy. Texas is extremely open for business, for entrepreneurs but it does vary by state. So make sure you look up the proper channels on that and just do it. So one is the inspirational side. Just be brave, go do it. And then the second is the paperwork side of it. Administratively, you need to trademark the name, do the website and have you done the paperwork with the state that you live in to do business properly and then you’re off to the races.

Roger Ream [00:34:04] And three would be prepared to work hard.

Lindsey Rose King [00:34:08] Oh, yeah. And you might be working two jobs. You might need to keep your day job and do this after you get home or after you clock out. And that is something you have to be prepared for. Or you might be making decisions that you’ve never had to make before. Like if you leave your job to do this, like how are you going to get health insurance? So you might have to have some big decisions that you make but just don’t be afraid of it because I think it’s worse to live with the what if.

Roger Ream [00:34:42] Then you try and fail and try and fail and then succeed. Well, you know, last year The Fund for American Studies we did a new strategic plan to try to accelerate our growth. And in reviewing our mission statement the one change we made in it where in the past it said, developing leaders, we inserted the word courageous. Our aim is to develop courageous leaders because in so many walks of life even more so today than in the past, I think a leader has to have courage because they might fail. Someone might try to cancel them or shut them down or ridicule.

Lindsey Rose King [00:35:20] Or steal their idea.

Roger Ream [00:35:21] Yeah. So you’d have to have courage to be a leader. And I’m glad you touched on that one with your first piece of advice about don’t be afraid, be brave, be courageous because it does often take courage, personal courage to try anything new and to make a difference in the world. What other advice might you offer just in general to young people today in college or in to be coming out or attending our programs and trying to figure out what to do in their lives, about leadership or about having influence among those they’re around?

Lindsey Rose King [00:35:56] That’s a heavy question.

Roger Ream [00:35:58] Yeah, you can take it in any direction. You’re a leader in many ways and you’re also someone who’s, you know, making a difference through your businesses.

Lindsey Rose King [00:36:10] Well, thank you. So my advice for students going through the program or about to go through the program or just coming out of it as far as being courageous, you know, in my mind it’s real simple. It’s when an idea and an action come together and you’re the person that initiates that. And the question you have to ask yourself is, can I do that? And can I do that and also bring others along with me? And so that’s the leadership portion of it. So the courageous portion of it is can this idea in this action come together to do something? And then can I get others to follow me? And to get others to follow you a program like the programs at The Fund for American Studies offer, that’s how you learn that. Yes, I was fortunate to grow up in a family where we had crazy political discussions all the time. But then when I showed up at TFAS I had to learn how to have these conversations with people that their background was not at all similar to mine. And you have to learn how to even something as simple as, hey, we should try out this new restaurant because we’re all living in this cool city now. You have to find a way to get people to trust you and come with you to make that idea and that action happen. And so you can find certain ways to do that. For me, what really accelerated that was when I was asked to be a mentor shortly after I graduated from the TFAS program. So all of a sudden I think it was like 22 years old and TFAS was like hey, you’re experienced enough to provide life and professional advice for, you know, an 18, 19 year old. But you think of it, you’re like, this is crazy. But at the time for me, it was like, Oh, now I have to look at myself. I have a year of professional, you know, work on my resume. I’ve already done this program. I am now in a position to give advice to someone on how to do that. And that also helps develop your leadership skills and helps you learn how to be courageous. Take an idea and an action, put it together and get others to follow you.

Roger Ream [00:38:23] Well, this has been great, Lindsey Rose. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation because I think, you know, TFAS is located in the nation’s capital in D.C. and students who come to our programs are often looking to careers in politics. And I think they’re often also influenced by professors to think if they want to make a difference in the world the way to do that is in politics or even in sometimes they would say it’s my line of work. So in the nonprofit sector that that’s the only way to make a difference in the world. And I try to impress on them that, you know, if you look at accomplished entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, they’ve created a lot of wealth. Their wealth is now funding philanthropy. But I think they generally have made more of a difference in their entrepreneurial lives and in their lives as philanthropists, even when they engage in really philanthropy that I admire. But the products they get, the private sector develops for us that make our lives easier, cleaner, healthier. And it almost doesn’t matter the business because you are taking, you know, precious resources, investing them into creating value. And you were giving your customers something that made their lives better and it, you know, freed up their time or enabled them to have fellowship with family and friends that they wouldn’t have had. So I think you’re a great example. And that’s why for this podcast on Liberty and Leadership, we don’t just want to bring on people who are holding public office. We want to bring in people who have created value through entrepreneurship and through the private sector. So my hat goes off to you. I thank you very much for joining us today. I don’t know if you have a last word before we conclude this but thank you for giving back to TFAS as well along the way.

Lindsey Rose King [00:40:20] Well, thank you. And I think my final words would be, you don’t have to be in politics to make a difference. In fact, the skill set and the experiences you learned through TFAS. You can make a difference in your local community, like literally your municipal government, your local government, your school system, all of that. And it takes the same skill set to make change as an entrepreneur or someone locally as it does to make change in the United States Senate. So it’s the same skill set. And I hope that students that are listening and former students and future students realize that TFAS creates that environment and protects the ideas of liberty and free enterprise and free thought that a lot of other students in other countries don’t have. So, take your skill set and know that you can use that outside of Congress. I’ll just say that you don’t have to be a national politician.

Roger Ream [00:41:28] Well, thank you very much. I’ve enjoyed the conversation very much. My guest today has been Lindsey Rose King, entrepreneur, someone giving back to TFAS through our Board of Regents, new mother. Got a lot going on in your life beside entrepreneurship. Congratulations on your success and thank you for joining us.

Lindsey Rose King [00:41:48] Thank you.

Roger Ream [00:41:49] Thank you for listening to the Liberty and Leadership Podcast. Please don’t forget to subscribe, download, like or share the show on Apple, Spotify or YouTube or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you like this episode, I ask you to rate and review it. And if you have a comment or question for the show, please drop us an email at podcast@TFAS.org. The Liberty and Leadership Podcast is produced at kglobal Studios in Washington, DC. I’m your host Roger Ream and until next time show courage in things large and small.


About the Podcast

TFAS has reached more than 46,000 students and professionals through academic programs, fellowships and seminars. Representing more than 140 countries, TFAS alumni are courageous leaders throughout the world forging careers in politics, government, public policy, business, philanthropy, law and the media.

Join TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 as he reconnects with these outstanding alumni to share experiences, swap career stories, and find out what makes their leadership journey unique. With prominent congressmen, judges and journalists among the mix, each episode is sure to excite your interest in what makes TFAS special.

If you have a comment or question for the show, please email podcast@TFAS.org.

View future episodes and subscribe at TFAS.org/podcast.

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