By Sarah Pride
His last semester at Patrick Henry, Chris Ridley (Public Policy, ’07) found himself with a new wife, a new baby on the way, and no paying internship. Thankfully, some scrambling in the alumni network soon landed him a place at the Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS). PHC alumna Stephanie Terek, who works for the Department of Labor (DoL), gave Ridley an additional boost with key recommendations. Now he serves the Secretary of the DoL as a member of the speechwriting team.
“Some days I research an event or speech; some days I’m editing correspondence and writing; and some days I’m rushing to get a speech delivered to the Secretary moments before she steps up to the podium,” he relates.
Ridley is currently prepping for law school, or possibly for graduate school with a focus on economics. As for PHC, he says, “the rigorous academics helped me to demand excellence of myself in all areas of my life.” The head of speechwriting, who made the final decision to hire Ridley, cited his education as the reason to pick him instead of qualified applicants with higher GPAs. Also, the PHC reputation helped in tangible ways. During his interview at the White House, the interviewer remarked that he attended church with PHC students.
“Those PHC kids are great people,” said the interviewer. “They love God and they love this country, and if you are anything like they are, you are exactly the kind of person that this administration is looking for.”
Says Ridley, “Being associated with PHC has done nothing but help my career.”
Ridley senses a call to serve his community and the larger culture as a leader, but he “will let God decide whether that is by working as a lawyer, a legislator, or a businessman.”
“Who knows,” he shrugs. “Maybe He has something totally different in store for me.”