A Conservative Entrepreneur in France
July 10, 2012 | By Lauren Hart
We’ve all heard it: the economy is tough and jobs are scarce. So, why not create your own job, and work for something you love?
That’s exactly what Paris-born and raised Alexandre Pesey did.
But first, he came to America in the summer of 2000 to intern at the Leadership Institute (LI) in its Recruitment department.
While interning, Alexandre took 14 LI trainings on topics including from fundraising, broadcast journalism, legislative project management, public speaking, and online activism.
“LI has been helpful to me in my professional journey in three areas—techniques, network, and the conservative movement,” Alexandre said. “For techniques, I learned what you never learn even in the best law or business schools. Thanks to Morton, I was put in touch with intellectual entrepreneurs, thinkers, and activists. These people have mentored me, inspired me, advised me, and encouraged me. While interning, I got to touch the conservative movement, learn how to work together to get things done, and understand the core ideas and principles of the movement.”
In 2003—at the age of 28—Alexandre established the Tocqueville Fellowship. This one-month fellowship allows young French people between the ages of 20 and 28 to come to the United States to learn about American conservatism through visits with policymakers and think tank staffers as well as attend hands-on political technology seminars.
“In 2004, I started the Institut de Formation Politique with two other friends (Thomas Millon and Jean Martinez),” Alexandre told the Leadership Institute. Three things contributed to his organization’s start: his parents’ example as entrepreneurs; his desire to help his country; and his Leadership Institute internship, he said.
“My internship with Morton Blackwell at the Leadership Institute was decisive,” Alexandre says of deciding to start his conservative French organization, Institut de Formation Politique (IFP).
“I learned a lot, but more specifically four things," Alexandre said. "The first, I discovered the history of the American conservative movement and got a lot of inspiration from it. I wrote my thesis on the Heritage Foundation. Second, I learned about French authors like Frédéric Bastiat. I was never told anything about them in French schools. Third, I learned how to know more about the media and even get in the media (LI trained me and helped me work at CNN where I worked in their political shows in D.C). Fourth, I learned how to raise funds and then created Institut de Formation Politique.”
Alexandre currently serves as IFP’s executive director. The organization’s mission is to identify, recruit, train, and place young conservatives.
“We organize trainings both on ideas and on techniques, such as weekend seminars, monthly evening working sessions, e-learning in philosophy, publications of short papers on themes that are always in the media and prizes for the best, and networking events,” Alexandre said. “We have trained 450 students. Some are now working in Congress, the media, or civil society (think tanks and action tanks).”
“My wife Kate is an LI graduate and former LI employee,” Alexandre said. “She helped me launch IFP and is my best advisor and teammate.”
Alexandre and Kate have three children: four-year-old Emma, two-year-old Remi, and one-year-old Riley.
Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell said, “Alex and Kate in France are doing very well with their creation modeled on LI.”
If you are interested in starting a conservative organization, please read Morton Blackwell’s Conservative Organizational Entrepreneur.
“The Leadership Institute is the place to go to learn about the best techniques needed as a political entrepreneur or for any political action,” Alexandre said. “LI is the place to go to be at the core of the conservative network and the base to discover the conservative movement.”
LI also offers internships in the fall, spring, and summer. If you are interested in knowing more, please click here.
Please welcome Alexandre Pesey as LI’s Graduate of the Week.
To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.