capable of amazing things

Tuesday Truths 2016 Edition v35

This is it! the last week of recess and I start a bit early as I have a weekend work retreat. I’ll be in a new venue so I’m looking forward to working with the team there. As I’ve mentioned in the past, working as a political consultant can bring a variety of tasks. We do what needs to be done so that the events that we execute are as flawless as possible. It’s really not strange to think that my colleagues and I would get into a stranger’s car to ride with them 3 hours to a mutual destination because our flight was cancelled and we need to get to our event before our guests. Campaign people are generally left to their own devices and as long as our decisions are ethical and legal, we’re going to do what it takes to get the job done. This type of environment lets us really think on our feet with very little supervision. More often than not, it all works out!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Do you have dreams about having “inbox 0”? I’m pretty responsive with emails and I get a little antsy when I’m supposedly on vacation with my autoresponder saying that there will be a delay in response. I mainly respond quickly because I want it out of the way, but with anything that requires a more thoughtful response, I want the time to articulate my thoughts and that requires the most important resource, time. When you think your email is spiraling out of control, here’s how you can master your own email destiny.
  • Not every day is perfect. There are times when everything seems to be going in the wrong direction and negative thoughts start to overwhelm me. I remind myself that things can be worse and that I have it pretty good. There are always going to be obstacles in life and how we handle them teaches us how to be better people. So when you’re faced with a situation where you doubt your abilities or wonder how to get through a dark period, use these techniques to get to a more positive attitude.
  • When you’re facing challenges at work, especially in a campaign atmosphere, it can lead to a downward spiral. Managers can provide a bit of reassurance but when you’re feeling it as a supervisor, you need to pull yourself together so that you can provide a steady hand for your team. I always like to take a team effort approach to projects even though I’m ultimately responsible for the outcome. Seeing where you have obstacles and putting people who have the most skills to tackle the problem can create an environment where creativity can be fostered. Here are other ways that you can work through those challenging situations.
  • I do my best thinking in the shower. I also spend a lot of time singing so I’m probably the worst person when it comes to water conservation. Nonetheless, I think the idea of having the water wash away my doubts helps me to get to another place that allows me to walk out more confident and ready to take on what may be crowding my mind. The shower also lets me be my most vulnerable. Tears can flow and the private nature of the moment gives me the opportunity to face any negativity. I know that I don’t have a lot of time so it does limit me to wallow. It’s reasonable to question your actions and to give pause to a situation, but don’t allow those thoughts to determine your actions.
  • Sometimes it seems like I have all the time in the world because I’m reading, practicing French or just having non-scheduled time to do nothing. While all of these activities are important, I know that I also need to spend time thinking about how to move my career forward. These tips are helpful just as a reminder to myself to stretch outside the boundaries of only doing the work.
  • Communicating with people in any organization can be daunting. Group emails, reply all, should you call vs email…the list goes on and on. My philosophy is that I will communicate with you however to best get your attention. I work with donors who will only give if I fax them while I have other donors who I know will give if I text them the information. Not only do you have communication protocols outside of an organization, you have them for people who work with your organization. As technology changes, I find that younger people would rather snap then text but as with any hierarchy, communicating with your manager should be done in the way that is most comfortable for your manager. Learning to be flexible as well as establishing office protocols will allow you to know when it’s truly an emergency to respond. Travel also comes into play because team members may be in different time zones and knowing that before you communicate allows them to know that a response is OK during their business hours.
  • I always like to read how other fundraising professionals brand their organizations for donors. In political fundraising, Emily’s List taught us that there are only 4 reasons why political donors give and that kind of psychology really works in thinking about how you craft a message to donors to get them to contribute. When you’re dealing with development and working towards an individual donor program with a long term vision, you’re asking individuals to invest into a bigger picture than just an election. Here’s a great article of how you can keep your donors invested in your organization.
  • I do not pretend to know what my African American colleagues experience in their lives as women and if you didn’t realize how difficult it is for them, then you should read this article because if you’re not outraged by the time you’re finished, then there’s nothing anyone can do to help you. It’s a sisterhood that should be acknowledged and uplifted. We rise together!

Thanks for reading/sharing! Let me know your thoughts in the comments section!

— Madalene

 

In the world in which i travel,i am endlessly creating myself

Tuesday Truths 2016 Edition v34

I’ve started getting antsy for Fall. DC has been given a break from the heat and humidity and has returned to more “normal” temperatures. Less air conditioning and more windows flung widely for fresh air. So when the weather starts to turn, I start to think about back to school (my favorite time of year!) and of course, the elections. With 76 days left until E-Day, the excitement has already surpassed the usual buzz. All around me, people are organizing trips to swing states and are ready to fire up their personal cell phones to get to phone banking if they can’t travel. The frenzy has begun! It’s time to dive into the deep end 🙂 In the meantime, we’ve got Tuesday Truths!

  • I’m cutting some onions here! I couldn’t get through the entire article without welling up. Whether you’re for Hillary or not, you can’t deny that there are bonds that are forever forged through friendship. The people who surround her, whether they are people who met her when she was First Lady or those who know her from a shared childhood, these women are in this together. That kind of friendship is one that I’m fortunate to share with women who are part of a shared tribe. We may live thousands of miles apart but we have shared the highs and lows because this sisterhood makes us stronger. Yes, I hope this article sheds light on a different side of Hillary for you (if you didn’t already know), but what really struck me was it only confirms that women are the strongest advocates for one another.
  • Should Secretary Clinton win the White House, I truly believe that we’re going to see much more crazy comments about having a woman as President. I remember when I was elected as VP of the student body at Tulane, I was one of six women to lead the student government. It was the 1st time the entire elected executive council were all women and the 1st thing that people asked, “Are you going to paint the student government offices pink?” – is that crazy?! That was over 23 years ago. As a woman elected official, there is just so much more crazy that you put up with than when you’re a man. Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
  • I’m fortunate that I have friends who are well versed on expressing themselves in their wardrobe choices, from vintage finds to high end designer outfits. Your style is a statement of your personality and one woman who has always brought style to the DC aesthetic is Huma Abedin. She has been in Vogue on numerous occasions and with this election cycle, the spotlight has been especially intense. She’s had a full spectrum of experiences, from staffer to candidate’s spouse to Vice Chair of a presidential campaign. With such a high profile life, she has had to endure evolving from a young professional to the person she is today and she’s always held her head up high.
  • If you haven’t read this open letter to managers who have women on their staff, you need to do it now, especially if you’re a man. I know I have some male readers! Respect your talent by advocating for them and obviously, (but not so obviously as this kind of crazy has been going on forever) PAY HER for equal work.
  • Need a reminder that your self doubts are full of air? Then check out Women@Forbes video. They’re waiting to burst your bubble(s)!.

Thanks for reading/sharing and if you have tips you want to share, leave them in the comments!

— Madalene

 

 

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Tuesday Truths 2016 Edition v33

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I’m back in the office after taking a few days off to visit with family up and down New England. Lots of driving the past few weeks for me so I’m happy to relinquish the car for at least a few days and be still. While I was “off”, I was also notified that my information may have been hacked due to the security breach at the DCCC (fun times!) and lo and behold, I started getting random phone calls (like disgusting racist ones) and lots and lots of spam texts and emails. Needless to say, I spent the majority of one morning changing passwords and dealing with the crazy. This definitely is not when #politicscanbefun 🙁

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • This has been such a crazy year in politics. I can’t wait to see the results and how political scientists will assess the environment for the history books. As a political science major in college, we learned of the historic pendulums that led to the dominance of the Democratic and Republican parties and to live during a time with so much history being made, I enjoy reading about people’s experiences on the campaign trail. MSNBC/NBC Reporter Katy Tur discusses her adventure covering the Trump campaign and it is WILD! Major props to her and to all of those who live the road warrior life.
  • If ever there’s a time when I need inspiration to live a more authentic life, I see Baddie Winkle as my spirit animal. She’s a BADASS and I would want to live my life as freely as she lives hers. She has no problems being herself. At 88 years young, she has lived a lifetime where she can give zero F*cks so, why wait?

Thanks for reading/sharing and drop me a note in the comments!

— Madalene

 

 

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Tuesday Truths 2016 Edition v32

Photo credit via

We’re in the midst of August slumber, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not working! I have a ton of events on the books and we’re excited that we’re 90 days from E-Day! Have you signed up for a volunteer shift? I’m happy to direct you to any of the Democratic organizations that are actively recruiting volunteers 😉

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Political life can bring discourse. I found this article quite interesting because it made me take a breath and LISTEN. I like to think that I can be patient, although it’s not an adjective that I would immediately use to describe myself and the ability to actively listen and to better understand someone who comes with a differing opinion requires a healthy dose of it. We move in such a fast society with social media only lending us maybe 6 seconds of attention span so the ability to listen and be aware of someone else’s perspective makes for a test of patience. Would you want to change the person’s opinion? Would you want to voice the merits of your perspective? Of course, but sometimes what really matters is that we give each other the space to be heard.
  • I give big PROPS to the Washington Post for creating a compilation of articles about women in power in DC. They highlight women in both parties and how they have grown or decreased within these establishments, how women are coming into their power through political contributions, as well as how women of color still battle everyday to be recognized. It’s a great digest of how women in DC are fighting to be at the table.
  • Being that my spouse is also a campaign hack, who I met when we both worked at the DNC during the ’96 re-election, I thought this article about finding love on the campaign trail hit close to home. I’ve always likened campaign life like being in a class. You work with people your age as well as those who have more/less experience and those relationships/friendships forged during those particularly intense moments can build a bond that would have never existed.
  • I had an opportunity to speak to a couple of interns last week about what it means to be a political consultant and the work that I do as a fundraiser. It was great to tell them about how I work to elect candidates who look more like America, but what I failed to tell them that I also do things like, order 50lbs of pork butt (and pick it up) for an annual fundraiser so that my out of town chefs can prepare their menu. I also purchase golf balls for gift bags and order catering from a specialty food truck for 100 so that I have food for my events. I’ll just let The Campaign Workshop talk about what campaign fundraisers REALLY do for their candidates 😉
  • If you’re having Democratic Convention withdrawal or even FOMO (I’ll admit it, all of the frenzy was quite worth it!) then here’s a recap from my dear friend Edil De Los Reyes (follow her on twitter!!). She worked with the Democratic Convention digital team to share stories and poignant moments during Convention and she wrote a recap of the 1st day. Thanks Edil for capturing other parts of the day so that I can see what else was happening!

Thanks for reading/sharing and if you haven’t signed up for the weekly blog, I hope you get on the party train 🙂

— Madalene

 

 

convention floor

Tuesday Truths 2016 Edition v31

So a bit of context to my photo, I was sitting on the convention floor (like really sitting on the convention floor and not in a seat) watching President Clinton speak on Tuesday night and he was so close because I was in the 3rd row from the front (AMAZEBALLS!).

I’m still processing the past week’s Democratic Convention activities, mainly due to being overwhelmed with emotion and serious lack of sleep. I could have been a responsible adult and went to bed after the proceedings, but I chose to see friends that I hardly see when I’m in DC or elsewhere and stay up way too late and get up way too early. It was all worth the experience of being there and being apart of the revelry. Now that I’m looking at the calendar, the realization of it being less than 100 days to the election has hit me with full force. If you weren’t serious before now, it’s time to get to organizing!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • I’ve been to 6 Democratic conventions as either part of the DNC or as part of an allied group participating in the extracurricular activities to motivate and energize people to volunteer their time and resources to electing a Democratic ticket. I’ve been emotional at each one because as much as I’m a cynic now, I was an idealist (and continue to be somewhere in the depths of my soul). Part of my journey was that I was able to find my way to the Democratic party and make my goals a reality and to stay connected to the progressive movement to make this a career. I’ve seen this Party go through ups and downs and to come out on the other side to elect the 1st African American President and to nominate a woman to a major political party. I think I have been fortunate to live my life in rose colored glasses. I was raised in a multi cultural society, where my friends from all faiths and backgrounds were seen as part of the community. I went to school in the South where the student body elected an all female Executive Committee for the Student Government, where I was privileged to be VP of Administration. To witness firsthand the workings of an institution to nominate a woman was truly astounding. We are not perfect by any means and yet, this emotion was set forth because women deserve the respect and equal treatment of our male counterparts. Geraldine “Jerry” Emmett, a delegate who casted her vote from Arizona was born BEFORE women had the right to vote. Think about it – there was a time when women could NOT vote. We had men tell us what to do and with this moment, we have a role model who can say, “You belong here.”
  • Women are constantly getting critiqued for their appearance and elected officials as well as those who work in politics are not immune to those criticisms. Male candidates have the luxury of knowing that they need to spend very little time thinking about wardrobe when they enter the political arena. All they need to worry about is if their suits fits them, if they’re well groomed. Women, on the other hand, need to worry about hair, wardrobe, makeup. Do you know how many times Secretary Clinton was admonished for her headbands?? Extra time needs to be cushioned into the schedule so that a woman can get her hair and makeup done while men can easily take the extra time to rest or prepare for the day. Wardrobe can also be symbolic of your candidate’s message. I found it interesting that there was much ado about Secretary Clinton’s white pantsuit for her nomination acceptance speech. Did she actually choose all white for the symbolism? The same question can be posed to First Lady Michelle Obama’s choice of attire for her Monday night speech, where she spoke of inclusion and diversity. Just like in the days of when I was a field organizer, you drove American cars to reflect the alliance with Labor, the choices that we make as representatives of the Democratic Party can also be seen in our choice of attire.
  • When I think of my tribe of women friends, I know that they are progressing in their careers and reaching for their goals while also holding the door open for those who come behind us. All of that and more can be said for Donna Brazile and her #girlsquad of “Colored Girls”, the name that they gave themselves ages ago. They each have inspirational stories and together, they have forged a dynamic alliance of power with one another. True example of no drama and women helping one another. They’re writing a book and it should be out by mid terms of 2018. I know that I’ll be pre-ordering a copy!
  • Were you riveted with the introduction video at the Democratic Convention of Secretary Clinton? It was the best 12 minutes to showcase the Democratic nominee at her best. Shondaland outdid themselves. I hope Ms. Rhimes thought it was better to do this than take her vacation!

Show of hands! Who went to the Convention? Was it your 1st time? Share with us your experience! For those of you who watched from home, what did you think?? How did it look on tv? Would enjoy reading your comments so drop them below!

Thanks for reading/sharing!

— Madalene

 

 

 

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Tuesday Truths 2016 Special Edition v30 (Democratic Convention)

We’re in Day #2 of the official Democratic proceedings! I’ve been here since Saturday and if you’re reading this on Tuesday, I’ve just finished conducting a 4 hour training with the AAPI community. I also have a fundraiser in 2.5 hours so I’m going to grab lunch and head over to set up for my fundraiser.

What are your thoughts on the Democratic Convention so far?? Love/hate? Tell me in the comments section!

In the meantime, here’s Tuesday Truths Democratic Convention Special Edition!

philadelpia skyline

Philadelphia is quite the city. In 1996, I was a Regional Field Director for the ’96 Coordinated campaign in Pennsylvania and I would occasionally need to travel to Philly (HQ) for staff meetings. Fast forward to many more interim years where I would come back to Philly to conduct trainings and to just enjoy all the different things to do. When I drove into town, you knew there was a convention happening – check out the barricades!

Along with tons of street signs to delineate travel logistics and just about everything else, this city was ready for 50,000 people.

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One of the fun things that the city did was have painted donkeys throughout the city and they set up an app to get you to play along. Here are just a few of the donkeys that I found while out wandering the streets.

south carolina donkey

new jersey donkey

illinois donkey california donkey

If you didn’t notice that there was a Convention going on, the hotels were also decked out with patriotic swag as well.

marriott hotel

Philadelphia is where we hear the exciting news of having Donna Brazile become the interim DNC Chair. This town holds a lot of memories for the beginnings of my career in politics. I’ve worked in Pennsylvania in 3 presidential elections so yes, I feel a certain nostalgia for the Keystone state. I read a great article comparing Hillary Clinton to Philadelphia and it served as an analogy to what it may mean to be this city and this kind of candidate.

One of the more intriguing bits of convention this year is the realization that the DNC was hacked by 2 separate Russian intelligence agencies! Talk about a plot twist out of some spy thriller, but with much more consequence.

One of the reasons why I work in Democratic/progressive politics is because I feel welcomed in this very diverse party and although this movement is not perfect and is certainly a work in progress, we strive to make improvements so that we are reflective of this country. There was a panel to discuss how to have inclusive diversity hiring practices, not just to talk about challenges but to discuss solutions.IMG_1886

Let me know your thoughts about convention!

— Madalene

 

You don't get into something to test the waters

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v29

Congress is officially out of session, the Republicans are having their Convention, we’re days away from the Democratic Convention, & weeks away from the Olympics! SO. MUCH. TO. DO. What a time to be alive!

In all seriousness, I’m writing this in advance of publishing so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in Cleveland. I remain hopeful that everyone involved will be safe there and the same for when I join my fellow progressives in Philadelphia. Life is about optimism. If you go in with a mentality that you can’t overcome the obstacles, you’re already behind. I completely acknowledge that sometimes life hands you disadvantages and powered by tenacity, hard work, dedication and most importantly, hope, you can find a way that allows you to conquer the day. Life may seem dismal, but if you can envision getting to your goals, taking the small and painful steps everyday will lead you forward. Optimism is the key to life. #trust

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • I’ve realized that I’ve become a little salty lately. I’m normally salty (if you’re anti-swearing then you would not like being in my office where certain swear words are obligatory adjectives) and I always find myself becoming a little more insulated when stress hits a high. Admittedly, I haven’t been doing my usual exercise routine so that might attribute to my sassier than normal nature, however I will course correct my behavior when I start to notice that my self care is not sufficient to reaching my peak performance (personally & professionally). You have to recognize where you need to improve and strive to work on them. That sometimes means saying, “no” to things that you may feel you need to do without feeling any guilt. Taking care of yourself while taking care of others means prioritizing yourself along with all of the other people you value. You value yourself, right?
  • I’m a BIG fan of The Campaign Workshop (FOLLOW THEM!) and they recently did a post on campaign job descriptions. Perfectly timed with a recent Facebook LIVE event I did with America’s Opportunity Fund (AOF) to discuss the AAPI Pipeline Project, where we discussed the different types of opportunities you could pursue when working on a campaign. We did a word association while throwing out job titles and we were a little light in the job descriptions so this handy dandy cheat sheet is a great primer!
  • Another fantastic interview by Tanya Tarr on creating vision in negotiation with Ms. Foundation President Teresa Younger. IMO, what’s so important in this article is seeing that negotiating isn’t about “winning” and more about creating a contract that serves a mutually invested interest. As a result, EVERYONE wins and that’s what’s driving your purpose through the negotiation. Thinking of only yourself creates tension and the feeling that if I’m winning then you’re losing. No one wants to lose so let’s have a win/win.
  • If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re in a room full of people in a meeting and you have been asked a question that you don’t know the answer, there are alternatives to responding, “I don’t know”. In addition to the suggestions provided in the article, I would suggest that depending on the situation (especially if people have been going around the room giving their opinions), you take a quick assessment of who’s in the room and crib their answer. Fake it! You can always give your own opinion to add into the answer such as, “I haven’t yet done the research but knowing that I’m in a room full of intelligent people then I can make a similar conclusion that…” You never know when an opportunity has been given to you and even if you aren’t prepared, you can still sound like you’ve given the topic some consideration. No one is going to know! Don’t give them the chance to think otherwise.
  • I have lots of females (in a variety of ages) who I mentor and I also have 6 wonderful nieces, so there’s a lot of girl power to cultivate! I think back to the days when I was a young girl and although my parents were a little heavy on the “cute” factor (I was a child beauty pageant participant), they also valued my “smarts”. My mom used to have me do math problems in the summer in her own self designed summer school. I’m not gonna lie, it was a pain, but guess what? I skipped a grade! I also went to a magnet school that specialized in math and science so being secure in my intelligence was drilled into me from an early age. With nieces coming into their tween years, I can see so much of their potential and how much it’s being nurtured through their support systems. They have the freedom to try different things and to pursue their interests without fear that they’re making the “wrong” choice. They’re healthy, vibrant, strong girls maturing into young women and with all change, there are questions of self doubt and where/how they fit in with their peers. So seeing this article from Angie Goff reminded me of how my parents raised me and I hope that other young girls are given the same kind of self confidence.
  • I work in an industry that is run on cycles. We’re extremely busy as we gear into an election so the pressure is huge and it’s all based on client work. With this kind of work, it’s quite seasonal so a lot of time in the front end is used to get new clients and to set up teams to execute the plans that we’ve created to raise millions of dollars. There is so much involved with being your own boss that has nothing to do with the actual “work” of what is considered your professional services. If you want to grow your business that means spending more time pitching and meetings related to business development. As a result, you need to train your staff to be your mini-me’s – to do the work as if you’re doing it yourself. What does all of this success equal? It can mean that work takes over your life. All of it. Personal life slowly becomes smaller and smaller when you’re hustling. One last email before going to dinner turns into a barrage of back and forth to get one thing done. One small fire turns into an inferno. It’s a balance to get to a place where you’re not overworking and with that comes a mental shift of what is really important to you in regards to your ambition. Re-assessing how and what you spend your time on means redefining your goals personally and professionally. It’s the flexibility to know that you can do what you want because you designed it that way!
  • I stumbled upon this blog post by Jane Zen because I was looking for a strong female author taking risks and I think I want to be her friend! We both surf and we both believe in the same philosophy regarding taking risks – great things could happen! Guess who shared that with her?? A 10 year Japanese surfer. Get it, kid! I think I want to be his friend too 🙂

Thanks for reading/sharing! I’ll still have Tuesday Truths next week (although slightly abbreviated) as I’m off to Philadelphia for the Democratic convention next week. Follow along on my adventures on my snapchat: madalene.mielke – have a great week!

— Madalene

 

 

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Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v28

Photo credit via

Happy Tuesday, Folks! We’re diving into the final week of session before Congress breaks for the Republican and Democratic conventions (are you going to either?). I’ll be in Philadelphia for the Democratic convention (basically the whole time and then some!) so there may be an abbreviated Tuesday Truths during that time (wanted to give you that heads up now!). If you’ll be in Philly, give me a shout and we can get together! Catch me on snap chat to see the latest: madalene.mielke!

In the meantime, here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Being a manager/supervisor can be challenging. Are you giving your team enough feedback; are you course correcting when needed?; are you micromanaging?; are you encouraging your team when they’re doing a great job and keeping their motivation upbeat? Sooo many questions and so many ways to address issues that deal with the team perspective/dynamic as well as individual team performance. Here’s a great article on how often you should be asking for feedback. I like to check in on my team individually and see if they’re having problems as a whole and if they’re learning something new on a project. It  takes more time to get a bit deeper on an individual basis, but I think it’s worth the investment to get a sense of how individuals are connecting with the work. I think it’s so important to understand the “Why” of projects so that it doesn’t turn into a memorized procedure, but more a way of thinking. When I ask my team how to map out the steps and timeline of project, I usually ask them why are they doing it this way. Not to be a douche about it but to see how their thinking process works, as well as to get them to think the same way that I do.
  • After years of working in a variety of teams and continuing to do so today, it’s important to recognize that not everyone gets along with their colleagues. You have to be flexible and tolerant as well as realize that you’re there to do a job. Identifying the annoying co-worker and what exactly bothers the hell out of you means looking internally to see if there’s room for improvement on your end. Not exactly what you expect on how to deal with the situation (grin and bear it!) but it’s at the very least a teaching moment for you. Above all else, please don’t talk about it with your other colleagues. Office gossip doesn’t need any more fuel to the fire.
  • I didn’t go to Catholic school but I do did Sunday school as a child so I have a limited experience of spending time with nuns (other than countless hours watching The Sound of Music where nuns make very clever decisions). I get the sense that they’re matter of fact and get to the task at hand without a lot of hoopla. So if you spent a lot of time with Catholic nuns then you may have fond memories reading this article and if you haven’t had that kind of experience, it educates you on just how bad*ss these sisters are on a daily basis. They’ve got excellent tips for those who are looking for guidance on how to start your career with a level head and get things done attitude!
  • I am sometimes astonished with the fact that I’ve been working for more than half of my life already (I started working when I was legally able at 16) and in that time, I’ve discovered I’m constantly trying to challenge myself in how I get my passion and purpose to align. When I had my “quarter life crisis” and changed careers for a hot minute, I realized that although I found a fun job, it didn’t fulfill my purpose. As a result, I returned to my original career with a different mentality and that has fueled 2 very demanding sides of my life. More recently, I’ve come to a crossroads in re-assessing my life’s work. I still have a lot left in the tank so spending my time doing things that are meaningful is becoming more momentous by the day. I’m getting to the point where my life partner is thinking of retirement and how the sunset of our lives will unfold. It’s difficult for me to think about not working. I joke that my mom, who is creeping into her mid 70s and supposedly retired for years now is opening a restaurant (!!). I have worked in that industry and it ain’t easy. My daughterly concern for my mom’s choice of hobbies in her post retirement life has made me become the parent (“are you sure you want to do this?”). She tells me that she’s bored. I have a feeling that I’m very much my mother’s daughter. If you’re fortunate to have your passion and purpose align, relish in its harmony because you’ll come to realize that they’re not always the same.
  • Have you experienced Mean Girl attitudes with other women? I’ve been fortunate to have been in a work atmosphere where women have helped one another and fostered each other’s successes. I remember back to the days of high school where I had strong female friends, who encouraged each other to do our best both academically and when we competed as athletes. We had our fair share of boy troubles and such but we overcame those obstacles. This article discusses the reasons why some women don’t help other women. I’m fortunate to be involved with the Women’s Information Network (WIN) where the environment is extraordinarily empowering for women and I get to witness how young professional women develop their leadership skills with other women. They are completely welcoming and want women to have the freedom to exercise those skills. Of course, I also have my own tribe (I highly recommend creating your own community) and there is nothing more comforting than to have a group of people who are dedicated to the principles of sisterhood. I technically went to an all women’s college while I was at Tulane and I was in a sorority so a common theme of my life involved having strong women be my peers as well as role models and hopefully I can share in the knowledge that has been passed down to me.

How are you winning these days? Thanks for reading/sharing and feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments section!

— Madalene

 

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Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v27

Hope everyone had an enjoyable 4th of July holiday! I took the weekend off and ate my way through Boston while visiting with family. We’re into a new quarter and yes, I have fundraisers scheduled for this week! We only have 2 more weeks before Congress recesses until after Labor Day so there’s a lot to be done before the elections come at us full force! I’m doing a Facebook LIVE for one of my clients (America’s Opportunity Fund) on Thursday, 7/7 at 2pm Eastern to talk about how to get into government affairs and lobbying with Irene Bueno so check it!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Really great read from former Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend on “What Should a Powerful Woman Look Like?” and in my mind’s eye, I think of someone who is a person of color (thank you President Obama) and also a woman. As I mentioned earlier, I was visiting in Boston when I heard someone say that in 2060, Chelsea Clinton’s son, Aiden would be eligible to be President (not verified just a repeated statement) and I couldn’t help to add that her daughter, Charlotte would be eligible before then as she’s the older sibling. Why do people always think that boys can be President when girls are thisclose to seeing a female get elected? Just like I hope to see more African Americans become President, I hope to see an Asian American as well and MORE WOMEN!
  • In the same vein about image vs reality, former NY Congresswoman Liz Holtzman has talked about her experience being a young woman in the 70s elected to the US House of Representatives (which I’ve shared with you in a previous post) as well as her journey of life as the US Senate candidate in NY and later, District Attorney and Comptroller. She’s a pioneer for all of us and I hope to never hear it’s “not a job for a woman” as a reason why a woman isn’t qualified for any position.
  • I get asked out to coffee a lot (I don’t even really drink coffee, ask me out to tea and we’re getting somewhere!) because people want “to pick my brain”. Where did we get this gross (let’s be honest, the visual isn’t that great) expression? It’s a term that we fall back on because we hear/use it so often for ourselves and with others. If you’re looking for advice, why not just ask for it? There are times when you just don’t know anything enough to ask specific questions because you haven’t been exposed to it. Better yet, when you ask for the advice, also offer to do something so that the person who you’re seeking advice from can see that you’re resourceful as well as understanding of that person’s time. Whenever you can have a win/win then you’re helping to achieve everyone’s goals.
  • We’re in the final stretch of an administration and what does that mean for all those people who are political appointees or staff whose bosses lost their re-elections? It means polishing up those resumes and getting ready to see who wants to hire you after working in public service. Here are tips you can use if you’re interviewing or hiring after the elections.
  • When in meetings, it can be challenging to get a point across when there are people or even a single individual, who likes the sound of their voice. I personally hate meetings because the consequence is that I usually get shackled with more work and they can go on and on if there’s no set agenda. I like my meetings in and out. Let’s get to doing! Alas, often times that’s not the case so you’re in a meeting where everyone feels compelled to talk and talk and talk some more. Yet, your boss has brought up a subject that you think you can provide valuable input – what do you do? Here are the 3 questions you can ask yourself to see if this opportunity is one where you should speak up or remain silent.
  • I have had many an intern work in my office so I’ve seen a lot and I remember one of the craziest things I’ve ever had to do when I was an intern was wear hosiery. Lucky for my interns, they don’t have an antiquated dress code to follow. What they do understand is that part of the reason that I never had casual Fridays when I interned on the Hill because I worked for a MD congressional member who could easily come into the office on Friday and since we lived in a more conservative time, the dress code reflected that kind of atmosphere. We understood that even though we were interns, we had to dress that way because it was part of the office culture and that summer, I spent a lot of money on white hosiery (don’t ask me why they had to be white). I bring this up because I read an article where a group of interns signed a petition and sent it along with a proposal to their manager on having more leeway with the dress code. Kudos for taking initiative, however not a good idea since the entire group was fired. In my office, when Congress is in session, it means we’re in business attire. You may not have appointments, but I might send you out to pick up a check or we might have a last minute meeting and that reflects on my brand aka my firm. My office has seen me start the morning with a more relaxed outfit and as we move into the day, I’ve changed to more appropriate attire to fit the meeting or event. Having a better sense of what the office conveys in its image also means understanding things as simple as its dress code.

Thanks for reading/sharing – let me know your thoughts by commenting!

— Madalene

 

dont give up

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v26

Can you believe that we’ve now hit the half way point of the year? This being the 26th post of a weekly blog?! WOWZERS!

Guess what? We’re also 2 days away from the end of the quarter and it’s got me all

money money

So you can tell what’s on my mind: “I got my mind on my money, my money on my mind” – Youngbloodz

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • How happy am I that I get to share my good friend, Tanya Tarr‘s interview for Forbes@Women with none other than former Texas State Senator and all around ROCK STAR Wendy Davis with all of you??? Ms. Davis is dropping knowledge on the art of negotiation. What does she say that’s aligned with my own beliefs? Know your value! #getit (P.S. I can’t wait to see what other fascinating stories and interviews Tanya shares with us in the future – follow her!)
  • We’ve talked about the Power Pose and how your non-verbal actions can provide insight on your internal dialogue (confident, anxious, nervous etc) so here are a few suggestions of how you can engage your body and hand gestures to appear more bold and confident. I have video of myself when I’ve given speeches or lectures and I’m a full on hand gesturer. I can’t help it! I never realized that there are people who put in hand gestures as part of their presentations to create emphasis. I gesture when I speak ALL. THE. TIME. even when I’m on the phone and the only time when I stop myself is when I’m taking notes. I recognize it’s because I’m comfortable speaking on the subject matter and when I’m doing presentations, my hands are part of my speaking presence. Now that I’m doing more video, I try to keep my gestures to a minimum so that it’s not distracting to the viewers. Always a work in progress!
  • I’m working with a mentor on her cover letter and my advice is to find your strengths and translate that into how it can help the organization where you’re applying. Personality is essential, even in a cover letter that can be as dry as a burnt piece of toast. Do you know how many of these things get reviewed on a daily basis?? Formulas are good in the sense that it helps to articulate pieces that you should highlight. What are the key things that people expect you to say in your letter? It’s up to you to jazz hands the shiz out of it so that hiring managers will remember why they picked your resume out of all the others. We’ve talked about how you can control your narrative. At this point, you are a blank piece of paper and when you submit your resume for consideration, you are giving people the best version of yourself. Do you know the saying, “It looks good on paper?” well this is a prime example. It can be tedious and most of all, you are forced to be your most creative and most insightful. If you only spend time in going through the motions, you won’t get very far. Here’s a great list of ideas of how you can share some of your best moments.
  • Change, regardless if it’s chosen or forced upon you can be a transformational moment. How you take that challenge can bring great rewards if you build upon the idea of always creating community and goodwill. I always tell people that it’s more important to help others first because it’s a nice thing to do but in addition, should there ever be a time when you need assistance, people will come to your aid. It’s the same with donor relationships. Donors don’t want to feel that the only time you come to them is to ask for money. I really enjoyed reading the story of Sree Sreenivasan because he lives the principles that I like to share. You have the ability to control the narrative of your own story – whether it be good or bad. Whatever way you want to share your changes is up to you.
  • We all got fears. Fears of not meeting expectations; fears of public humiliation; fears that we are not worthy; many of them can be rationalized and many of them can’t – are our friends drinking the kool-aid and encouraging us even though they think we’re going to fail? Well let me tell you, we always need a reality check and those friends who can be supportive while also walking through all of the scenarios with you to make sure that you have thought of the pros and cons are who you need in your corner. Do you know who else you need in your corner?? YOU!!! You, my friend need to look in the mirror and trust in yourself. Let me go full circle back to the previous article about Sree. We are not perfect and we can’t be great at everything. Do not let fear be the barrier that keeps you stagnant. You will soon realize (like me!) that 20 years of being in the business that you always wanted to be in has happened (that’s a good thing) and it’s OK to transition into something else that you find meaningful. Don’t give anyone the ability to judge your decisions. That is a gift that you’re giving when you allow people’s opinions to matter. I give that gift to friends that I trust and to people who I admire because I know that they’re looking at for my interests. They will challenge me and will make me question my decisions not for the sake of being dickwads and I give them that opportunity because I know that they care and will support my decision. #YOLO
  • Women have to work twice as hard to get elected to Congress and to overcome gender bias. It’s incredibly important to have female leadership in elected office and it’s scientifically proven! With that in mind, if you’re looking for ways that you can be a part of a community that supports females running for office, here’s my list:
  1. Identify as a progressive/Democratic woman of color, especially of Asian American or Pacific Islander descent then visit, America’s Opportunity Fund (AOF). There’s a network called The Power of She. (full disclaimer, I’m the Executive Director of AOF).
  2. In the history of the Women’s Information Network (WIN), there have been quite a few women who were members who later became elected officials so the organization has a good track record of supporting from within. (full disclaimer, I’m the Advisory Council Chair of WIN).
  3. The grand dame of pro-choice Democratic women is Emily’s List. Their investment in pro-choice female candidates is off the charts. They have trainings and their endorsement is quite a feather in your cap.
  4. There’s also Ignite, Emerge, Running Start, WeLead, Women’s Campaign School at Yale University, and I know that I must be missing many others. If you have gone through a training or know of other resources, please share so that we can have a more comprehensive list. We never want any female to not know of places where she can go to get the training she needs to run for office.

That’s it for this Tuesday – we hope you enjoy the rest of the week! Thanks for reading/sharing & if you haven’t subscribed, then I hope you will do so today!

— Madalene