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Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v17

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Can you believe it’s the last week of April?? In a month’s time, we’ll be in the unofficial throes of Summer and campaign season will be crazy busy. We’ve got lots going on and we’re optimistic for what the rest of the year brings. I’ve also been having fun with Snap Chat so if you’re inclined to snap – add me: madalene.mielke!

Here’s Tuesday Truths:

  • Are you considered the note taker during your meetings? On big meetings, there are sometimes multiple note takers to make sure that everything gets covered because topics can go fast and furious. Junior staff in my office are usually given that task when I take them to meetings and the more meticulous those notes, chances are that you would have captured the essence of the meeting (discussion, action items & deadlines etc.). Some may think that this is a mundane task when in fact, it’s a critical piece of having a successful meeting. It’s a great example of how well you’re listening, and how quickly you can process information. Here’s an outline that you can follow to help you gain structure in your note taking. If you’re taking notes for yourself during meetings, knowing how you best recall notes can help you reach goals quicker when you recognize how all the parties involved are reaching their goals.
  • There are days when I like that I’m a boutique consulting firm and days when I wonder if I would like to have a flurry of people in my office working for me like in days past. As I celebrate 20+ years of working in politics, I recognize the things that I will subject myself to for clients. I still have a bit of idealism that keeps me passionate about working in this space and here’s the thing, I also know what I don’t want to do in my line of work and that comes from having done it for so long. I enjoy working with my colleagues and helping those who are new to the consulting business in their search for clients. Do I foresee my career continuing in this field? Yes, however in a different composition of my own choosing. When you’ve reached a career that spans decades, you’ve earned the right to make those kind of choices and reinvention has never looked so good.
  • I thank my momma everyday for giving me genes to maintain a youthful appearance. Fortunately, I work in DC where the saying goes, “We’re Hollywood for ugly people” so my looks don’t necessarily take center stage when it comes to my work. That’s not to say that my youthful appearance hasn’t been a source of contention. DC has a lot of young people – A LOT – so when you’re mistaken for a staff assistant or someone with a lesser title because you look young, it can be a blessing or a curse. Campaigns are made for young people with distinguished titles (“titles are free” but are your responsibilities and compensation = senior leadership). You can have a campaign manager overseeing a multi million dollar budget and still be in your 30s. I remember when I was in my early 30s and at that point, already a veteran of several campaigns and I had already started my consulting business that a slightly older, but not that much older male statewide elected official commented that they couldn’t envision me having managed staff (!!). OOOHHHH – KKKAAAAYYYY Was that a commentary on his lack of knowledge of my skills or his astonishment that I was older than what I appeared? My friends and I are relatively in the same age range and in fact, I don’t even know their specific ages unless they decide that they want to celebrate their birthdays with a number. I don’t base my opinions of people on that really inconsequential number because it’s about the level of experience that gets my motor running. It’s exciting to me to see a young person who has accomplished their goals and doing things that people double their age have never done and it’s equally important when I talk with an older woman who has done so much and is still creating their own set of rules. Comparisons come into play and life experiences only mean something when you’ve actually had a chance to experience life. Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you’re wise. No matter the age, it means that you’ve done or you’re doing something with your life and I’ll respect anyone who can share their stories. In a professional setting, older women are pushed aside because they’re no longer seen as assets when their life experiences certainly amount to wisdom. It’s not the age that matters but what you’ve done with your life that does.
  • When I talked about titles being free, I really meant it. Of course, that’s a totally different post on negotiation but what it also means is that your title doesn’t earn you respect either.  Leaders are made through their actions and how well you treat your peers and the people on your team have direct and indirect consequences. My former staff will readily admit that I’m a tough boss. I demand excellence but also understand when mistakes are made (we’re not perfect) and they know that I will have their backs. If we screw up something for a client, it ultimately falls on me because the buck really does stop at my desk. My office culture is that I want you to succeed, whether it’s in my office or after you leave. I may or may not be able to help you do your next job but I can certainly impart the sentiment that we’re always there to help one another. There’s an unofficial mantra that once you’ve worked for me (and performed well) that you will always be a part of my network and that each former staffer is responsible for the next generation or the many, many generations after.
  • Last week I went to a reception where I saw my old boss, Chef Bob Kinkead receive the Duke Zeibert award from the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. This award is given to a person who has contributed to the success of DC’s restaurant industry. He has countless former staff all over the area enhancing the dining experience of those visiting or living in our nation’s capital. I have so much respect for those who work in the hospitality industry because no matter how well your day may be going, someone walking into the restaurant may be having a craptastic day and your job is to make them happy. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out but when you have great service, a welcoming atmosphere and delicious food, you’ll have a winning combination to turn that person’s day around. Did you know that I used to be a restaurant manager at a James Beard winning chef’s restaurant where the owner was also a winner of Restauranteur of the Year? Yeah, there’s a lot of expectation with that kind of reputation! Which leads me to sharing the profile of Maria Trabocchi. She’s the co-owner of Fiola, Fiola Mare, Casa Luca and many many more soon to open restaurants. Fiona recently celebrated their 5th anniversary and it’s one of my favorite restaurants in town. I’ve talked about her restaurants on my personal blog because the food is delicious and the way they treat their customers is equally fantastic. I rang in 2016 at Fiola Mare, spent many anniversaries and other celebratory events at Fiola and have had fundraising dinners at Casa Luca. Treat your customers well and they will reward you in so many different ways. It’s a lesson that Maria teaches everyday.

Thanks for reading/sharing and tell me your thoughts by emailing me or in the comments!

— Madalene

 

 

 

Screenshot 2016-04-18 09.49.33

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v16

Photo credit via

This is one hellacious week! Why?! By the end of the week, I would have had to deal with 8 fundraisers in a span of 5 days. Luckily, I only have another round (next week!) of crazy before I get a breather to start it all over again in mid May. The joys of being in election season. But who am I kidding? This is the kind of work that I didn’t realize I wanted to do, so although the days can be long and the details can get tedious, I’m proud of the work that my team and I get to do everyday.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Whether you’re on your 1st job or on your 10th, your professional career never ends. I had a wonderful opportunity to work in a different industry from politics and that professional detour still reaps rewards in the form of personal relationships. There was a time when I thought that I had to separate my professional and personal time. Yes, there are definitely moments when I want the barrier because I want that work life balance thing, but what’s important is realizing that social connections through your work relationships shows that you’re more than just your job. It’s less transactional and more about building experiences with one another. Your network becomes invested in your success and who knows, there may be a time when you change your mind and want to move in a different direction. The essential habits you utilize will be there to help you transition to wherever you decide.
  • One of the questions I often get with fundraising or becoming a 1st time candidate is “How do I prioritize my relationships so that it doesn’t look like I’m being calculating?”. Totally understandable because you want to be authentic while also working towards building relationships with those who are influencers in their industries/constituencies. This question is also a basic question when it comes to networking. Having depth in your relationships with a few key member is more valuable than a stack of business cards of people who you met but don’t have a connection. You can boost your network by being strategic on who you network with but don’t confuse that with the attitude that someone who isn’t on your list isn’t worth the time to talk with or connect. There’s always your priority list and you being on someone else’s priority list.
  • While you’re out networking, remember to make a good impression! Engagement and interest along with authentic interactions can make you memorable when you’re trying to get to people who are better established or those who are your peers or just getting started. We’ve all been somewhere on the ladder so remember those who have helped you and pay it forward.
  • Working in politics and public service doesn’t necessarily reap rewards in your bank account but when you enter the private sector, remember to use this handy dandy tool to calculate the real worth of your job offer.
  • I’m a little eccentric when it comes to my work attire choices. I’m not restricted with the standards of being a Hill staffer so I have a bit more freedom when it comes to choosing my professional appearance. DC gets a bad rap for being stodgy and a town of many shades of black, grey, & navy but here are ideas of how to create your own rules for your next work day style. For the dudes – if you thought you weren’t included in the article, there are tips for you too so check it out!!
  • Continuing my search for people who create their own luck, I found Leiti Hsu, a former finance person (not the fundraiser kind like me but the real kind that you find working in the trenches analyzing companies as an investment banker) who transitioned into becoming a food radio host. Recently I joined Snap Chat (come snap with me – madalene.mielke) and found her on snap chat at @leitihsu. At the time she was in NYC at a food conference and later made her way to New Orleans (my 2nd home!). She was taking me on a culinary journey as well as showing me daily life in these industries. As a result, I wanted to learn more of her story and found this wonderful article where she was interviewed by Jill Filipovic. Leiti and I ended up snapping one another and it’s been fun catching a glimpse of her adventures.

Thanks for reading/sharing and let me know what you think in the comments!

— Madalene

 

 

THE BEST WAY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE IS TO CREATE IT.

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v15

With Congress returning today, we’re moving full steam ahead with a plethora of fundraising events. Time to raise that money! I’m also looking forward to being on a Mentoring panel this week for the Young Leadership Network (YLN) for the Association of Government Relations Professionals (AGRP). I’ve done this in previous years and it’s a fun way to meet people in the government affairs industry. What projects/events are you most excited about this week?

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Having Congress gone meant that I had time to do work and to assess how my year is going so far. I’m not a fan of “being busy” and I’ve made a more conscious effort to pursue other opportunities that are more aligned to my professional goals. If you don’t take the time to reflect on whether you’re living a life of value, then you’re missing out on times when you can be leading a fuller life. Coasting is not my nature so whenever I feel a little complacent, I know that it’s time to mix it up. I’ve always been a believer in creating my own luck!
  • Which leads me to there are less than 9 months before the end of the year!!! That crazy feeling that time is slipping away is REAL! Here’s how you can get a handle of reaching your goals. I’m a big fan of calendaring EVERYTHING – gym, personal appointments, health appointments and scheduling my life around those things so that I know if I’m really giving myself a chance to achieving work/life balance.
  • We’ve all got Decision Elves lurking in our everyday lives. It’s a risk to do anything in politics – you never know if the candidate you’re working for is going to win or if the incumbent you have is going to lose. Life has a way of figuring it out for you and it’s that mental game that you must play to see if you can handle the older version of yourself reflecting on the challenges you’re facing now. Everyone has a level of risk that they’re willing to take – do you fly off the deep end or play it safe? You can’t make everyone happy with your decision but for one person: YOU. Knowing of others who have risked it all and made it through is good for acknowledging the possible. Take a moment to figure out what you’re really willing to risk.
  • Decision Elves are related to the Choice Fairies. We all make choices in life in how we want to spend our time. It’s called prioritizing. You always make time for the things that are most important and that is ultimately a choice. My ability to improve my French is solely based on how often I commit to practice and I mean in a whole hearted way; not “the I’m busy reading the same sentence from my French novel a million times because I’m distracted and not really reading”. As I start to work on a project that means I’m helping an organization shed its excess to reach a tighter argument on why prospects should financially support them, it also highlights for me what excess I want to shed so that I’m running a more efficient life that puts into place the foundation in achieving my goals. Hmmmm…pretty powerful stuff when you start recognizing that shedding the excess really does bring you to the core of yourself.
  • I hear that a lot of you want to start your own consulting business one day and that’s fantastic! You’re probably one step ahead of me because you’ve started thinking about your business plan. If you haven’t then here’s a template on the how to’s. I’m going to use it to see if I can actualize my Korean spa. Find a mentor and network like crazy!
  • Whenever I do trainings, I’m always fascinated with learning all the new technology and the psychology of a voter. Polling certainly outlines the potential of a race and how certain pressure points are affecting voters’ choices in candidates. With states doing all kinds of different things in this election, it was interesting to read the forecast of election 2016 from this perspective.
  • In an effort to highlight more people who have created their own luck, I want to share profiles of people who inspire me to be as fierce as them – in business, in community, in life. I hope that their work ethic, drive and passion spur you to make your dreams into reality. Today, I’m highlighting Annie Choi of Found Coffee in Los Angeles. I’ve only met Annie once and it was through a mutual friend. I later learned that a work colleague of mine is also a patron of Annie’s coffee shop and that Annie’s sense of community is felt everyday (whether she’s there or not!). Annie and I became friends over Facebook and I’ve had a lot of fun observing her life with her team and her customers. You can read more of Annie’s story here. If you’re a fan of coffee and baked goods, you’ll want to visit the next time you’re in the LA area! Is there an inspiring figure you want to share with us? Let me know!

Thanks for reading/sharing and let me know what you think in the comments!

— Madalene

 

 

never stop

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v14

Photo credit via

How fun is it that today’s post coincides with my birthday?! I’m taking a day to re-evaluate, reflect and re-energize. I think most people would consider the numerical value of my life as “middle aged” and although it’s just a number, I know that I have a lot of life still to live and learn. Whatever experiences that I’ve gone through, whether they’ve been positive or negative have brought about tremendous life lessons. I look forward to continuing this journey with you and sharing how we can make the most of life’s adventures!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • This is basically the story of my life! As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, “I’m a Jill of all trades and a Master of nothing” and yet, I’ve managed to carve out a life that does a bit of this and that to make a professional career. So what happens when you recognize that you’re not good at anything particular? You create the totality of your portfolio to something that defines your success.
  • There’s definitely awkwardness when we’re going to networking events or receptions or just about any place where it’s required of you to meet people (maybe that’s why I’m an introvert!). I always believe that with a fair amount of practice and preparation, you can eliminate or at the very least, reduce the amount of awkwardness you face when you’re meeting people for the first time. Here’s a really great outline of what not to do as well as what you can do.
  • I’ve talked before about how staff can manage their bosses and how effective it can be to making your career (Devil Wears Prada). As a Gen Xer, I sometimes serve as a bridge between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials and regardless of where you fall into the spectrum, it helps to know that the tools used to manage your boss pretty much works in every instance. Are you a Millennial and your boss is a Baby Boomer? Learning about their preferred tools of communication is how you’re going to get in front of them and become a trusted ally. Same goes for the Baby Boomer working for the Millennial. It all comes down to communication and how best to message your point of view. I have donors who prefer to FAX me donor cards – they have the ability to go online and process their information but they CHOOSE to do it via fax. You know what? I love it! I’m going to take their money and it doesn’t matter to me how they want to give it. I still get it at the end. Being flexible and willing to provide the options to communicate how they see fit is where I’m going to meet them. It’s what is easiest for them, not me and just like your boss, you want to make life easy on them and in turn, they’re likely to do the same for you.
  • I believe in all of these things and I have to remind myself that it’s OK to not have all the answers. I’m certainly not the smartest person in the room and although I work by myself quite a bit, I also recognize that collaboration requires communication with a variety of personalities and leaders who can push individuals to throw out their best ideas demands that we teach leaders to create a safe space. I was doing a training in Philadelphia a few years ago with 2 other colleagues and while we were conducting the training during the day, we were also working at night to create content for our client. So we’re talking long hours and trying to be creative when we already put in a full day of work. We locked ourselves into a hotel room and just hashed out different scenarios. My colleagues were younger than me and I knew that I didn’t have the perspective of what people in their age group would want to see. Knowing my vulnerabilities and acknowledging them helped us to frame the objective. As a result, we were able to timeline a goal and get the project completed. It was my job to get all the possible ideas to reach the goal and set the deadlines to accomplish the tasks. What’s also important is giving credit to everyone because ideas that are equally invested and accomplished (good or bad) makes for a stronger team.
  • A really great article on identifying traits in people so as to better read them. I associate some of these types to the elected officials I work with and as a result, I have a better understanding of how they operate. It gives me a better sense of how I can present information to get the results that are more positive for me. Just like you can read people, they can also read you so whatever public persona you exude, don’t send mixed signals because then it creates confusion and you’re less likely to get people communicating with you in a style that you prefer.

Thanks for reading/sharing and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

— Madalene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot 2016-03-30 12.46.42

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v13

Photo credit via

As you read this little ditty, I’ll be flying to the west coast for a few days on work travel. People are out and about on Spring Break so although I’m a bit joyous that I get a time-out from fundraising events, the work still continues. When Congress returns, I’ll be going full steam ahead with a barrage of fundraisers, #tistheseason #politicscanbefun

So whether you’re mushing it up in Iceland or drinking a beverage that has an umbrella in it, here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • We know that diversity is a key issue for all aspects of life. Having a seat at the table is important to bringing a different perspective and to highlight challenges and triumphs. What’s also critical is that women and minorities tend to be penalized when they try to help in that process through their hiring practices. The Harvard Business Review explores the implications of having those kinds of attitudes.
  • One of the many reasons I enjoy being a part of the Women’s Information Network (WIN) is that it gives like-minded women a safe space to be women and to share their knowledge and expertise with other women. We’re one another’s cheerleaders. It’s long been known that the “old school” method of networking in the boys’ club was via poker, golf, and men’s dinner clubs. As more women join the ranks of senior leadership, they’re creating spaces that allow us to embrace all of the attributes of female empowerment. Yes, we’ll mix with the boys, but let’s remember that it’s OK to spend your work life also socializing with other women. With that in mind, Shelley Zalis conceived the idea of a Girls’ Lounge, the equivalent of the Boys’ Club so that women could “pair and share”. Read more of her efforts here.
  • One of the things that I’ve learned through the years is that courage manifests itself in a variety of ways. I know my fears and although not fully conquered, I know what I have to do to overcome them: to face them and not allow them to own me. Believe me, I still weigh the risks (such as when others tell me that I’m going to get eaten by a shark every time I go surfing), but I know that I do myself a disservice by not doing the things that scare me. It makes the rest of my life that much less fearful.
  • Normally on an election year, I tend to focus solely on work. It’s work, work, work, work, work (thanks Rihanna!) and everything else goes to the wayside. I realized that every other year is a fiercely intensive time in my life and even more so when accentuated if it’s a Presidential year. I create my own stress because I’ve left everything else to wither. My health doesn’t necessarily wane because I recognized that I needed to exercise and get enough sleep so that I could continue to function in an optimal condition. So I decided that I needed to give myself goals that would test my commitment to myself and to my future self. I added private French lessons and although there were moments when I really questioned my sanity in taking on this additional task, it forces me to take action in another area of my life. It’s a lot easier to focus solely on work when you decide that nothing else should matter and that’s not how life works. If you really want to be a whole leader, you need to recognize the other aspects of your life because those aspects also matter to your team.

Thanks for reading/sharing and leave your comments below!

— Madalene

Screenshot 2016-03-21 10.40.10

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v12

I had a terrific time at the NLC training over the weekend. The participants had extremely good questions asking about how fundraising in underserved communities affects your finance plan. Campaigns are constantly trying to break through all the white noise by finding appropriate messengers to serve the message in mediums that are comfortable to the intended audience. Building connections and establishing relationships are the heart of campaigns. I wish the participants much success in their endeavors and the progressive movement is fortunate to have so much diverse talent ready to serve.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Growing your network while being authentic in your actions can be a daunting task. It helps when you have an interest outside of your field of expertise and proactively tell people about it! I always say that I’m a “Jill” of all trades and the master of nothing because I keep such varied interests in rotation. The ones that stand out for me are eating (who doesn’t like to do that!) so I often get asked where to go for dining options, and my choices in wardrobe attire. When I worked as a manager of a James Beard winning chef’s restaurant, the wait staff would tell me that they could envision me as a cooking instructor (maybe this goes back to my love of teaching!) and people who ask me to help them as a stylist. Obviously all of these interests are outside of my professional expertise, but people identify these as activities where I can excel. This all leads to how you can better network as you progress in your careers. It makes life more multi dimensional and brings another flavor to your character.
  • People often call me to ask me what they need to do in preparation for a run for elected office. I always tell them that they need to massage their network. It’s also important to be  a part of different organizations and to be active as a community leader. It doesn’t necessarily mean be a social butterfly and collect a ton of business cards that never really mean anything to anyone, most importantly you if you’re trying to make meaningful connections. If you need to reset your networking goals, here are 3 tips to make your networking more successful.
  • I’m a little late to this game because I’m already a workaholic but there may still be hope for me yet. I’ve always said that people shouldn’t stay in the office for the sake of looking like they’re putting in more hours. If your work is done, then Buh Bye! This doesn’t apply if you’re an assistant and your boss is still burning the midnight oil but however way you can help in making your boss’ life easier will score brownie points. In every industry it’s a little different how people manage their work life but here’s how you can still advance in your career without being a workaholic.
  • I’m not even in this age range anymore (!!!) but I can tell you that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also give less F*CKs about what people think (maybe a wee bit and mainly that goes to my long time friends who have always supported me in my goals). I recently visited with a few of my high school classmates (some of them who have become closer friends as we’ve gotten older and some who have been life long friends who have been with me during some turbulent years) and we were reminiscing about how much we’ve changed or stayed the same. What people thought of me then is the same as what people think of me now. I’m quiet until you get to know me and then you realize that I’m a very animated person. The saying about me is that I’m cool but not **cool** as in not very warm. My closest friends have commented that upon meeting me, I don’t necessarily come off as standoffish but I have a guard up that is seemingly hard to crack. Maturity plays a factor of how much you can change as you age, but core personality traits will always be at the heart of who you are as a person. It’s with experience, you learn to become more warm and more extroverted as deemed by circumstances (in my case).
  • Ever wonder what your salary would be if you worked as part of the senior leadership team of a presidential campaign? Look no further – here you go! Does it surprise you that the Kasich campaign is the only campaign that has a female as the campaign manager? How about in the Sanders campaign that no one in the top 10 highest paid employees are women? In the Trump campaign, no one breaks 6 figures and in the Cruz campaign, the Political Director makes $192,000 – the highest paid person of any of the presidential campaigns. #politicscanbefun
  • I know several people who work from home and for some it was their 1st time in that type of situation. They wondered if they could survive the lack of structure that goes with working from home. The physical location of my office is my home but I have staff who come to my office as if it’s an actual office building to work. So I don’t necessarily follow the norms of “Working from Home” and when I don’t have staff, I still maintain some pretty crazy hours. Campaign life doesn’t have a work from home aspect. The camaraderie that’s built working on a campaign builds a stronger rapport of trust and dependence on your team members. Here are some hard truths about that work lifestyle – what do you do if you work from home to maintain structure?
  • When you think you need to re-assess your goals to get to the next level, use these lessons to get you motivated. I’m always re-tooling productivity and trying to find ways to be more efficient. Whenever I get overwhelmed and think I can’t do anymore, I take a step back to find the small triumphs and that gets me excited to take the next step. I work in teams with my clients and we normally discuss strategy as a team but I have to execute it mainly solo so going back to the team to think of ideas helps to create a collaborative space. Knowing that I have colleagues who are supportive in the goal is important in creating a safe place to explore new ideas.

Alright folks – tell me your stories! Thanks for sharing/reading and if you thought this was helpful, tell a friend to subscribe!

— Madalene

 

 

 

WTF

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v11

I’m looking forward to teaching my fundraising session at the NLC’s training this weekend in DC. Believe it or not, fundraising can be a FUN experience! Talking from years of practice, I really do enjoy the research portion the best and when you’ve done the work, it pays off in the call sheets and on your tally board. I bet you that most candidates think that fundraising is the least fun component of all of the campaign activities. What do you think??

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • When I read this article, it really struck me as the same kind of structure one uses to connect on a political level. Shared interests creates rapport and that leads to how people can solve problems together. I get a lot of calls from candidates and elected officials asking me how to connect with voters and my response is it has to be genuine and you have to have a common interest that you’re passionate about and willing to fight for everyday. That’s how voters connect with your active participation to help on an issue. How do you raise those concerns so that they’re addressed and discussed in a productive way. These tips can help your sales numbers but they will also help in creating a robust network.
  • Here’s a funny gif on the glamorous life of being a campaign press secretary. Although I have never held the title myself, I have done my fair share of pitching stories and all I can remember is screaming to myself, “If it doesn’t get covered then it didn’t happen!”. I think I’ll stick to my call sheets.
  • We’ve had posts about self doubt, imposter syndrome, self esteem and what it all boils down to is one’s mental capacity to believe in yourself. That ability manifests itself into what some people call charisma. One of the most important aspects of charisma is the ability to empathize with people. One of the reasons why I’m successful in fundraising is that I can see pressure points. My mom used to lament that I was never a master of the guitar and I’m fine with that because my ability to converse in a myriad of topics allows me to dig deeper with people in their interests when I really could care less. It’s not that I don’t care about the person, but even I can only dig deep into others’ interests when it’s not of interest to me. Remembering people’s storytelling and mental momentos really allows people to see that you were really listening.
  • I was once an assistant so I know what it means to “manage up” and lawdy, was it interesting to see my associates do that to me, especially when they weren’t doing it very well. The last thing I want to do as a manager is to do your job for you so the more you know my pressure points, the better jobs we’ll all be doing. I’m a stickler for being on time and my definition of being on time is most other people’s definition of being 15 minutes early. It doesn’t stress me out and it gives me a positive feeling that as a team we’re going to fix an last minute problems that may arise. So when staffers come “late”, I get stressed out and as a result, I get cranky. My mood has shifted and if you catch me on a day that I might not have hit the gym then you better just go hide somewhere and come back when I’ve calmed down. Knowing how to create an environment where you can get the most positive results is a win win. Getting to know managers likes/dislikes can make a tremendous difference in gaining credibility and ultimately more responsibility given to you.
  • Competing with your peers can be daunting. Am I were I’m supposed to be? She’s got a better title than me. How am I supposed to compare with someone who has their sh*z together?? Believe me, it can all be a Debbie Downer if you allow yourself to get caught into the current of self doubt. I also know what it feels like to be swept away and get emotionally tied to people because envy has reared its ugly head. It’s not pretty. It’s so much more fulfilling to feel the glory of the light when you appreciate someone else’s “shine”. My tribe of SHEros have taught me what it means to celebrate their accomplishments. They push me to DO better and to BE better. It’s awesome that they’ve been profiled in the NYT, that they exceeded their business development goals, and are rising to the occasion. When I talk about them, my male friends tell me that they sound amazing…because they are and hopefully some of that shine allows me to also push towards my own goals.
  • Most people laugh at me when I tell them that I’m an introvert. They really don’t believe me! So I concede that maybe I fall in the middle of the spectrum between the two. Needless to say, I like to be alone but I also don’t mind speaking in public. Setting up an introvert for success in a public setting means allowing us/them to prepare. Giving enough notice so that introverts can properly prepare makes the situation less challenging. So when I’m preparing for a lecture or presentation, I visualize my material and it comes naturally to me. I can talk your ear off about fundraising, leadership, branding and it’s because I’m comfortable with the subject, I can do what I’m supposed to do…talk! I like to connect with the audience and figure out what exactly they’re trying to get out of the presentation. I can always improve my energy level but I recognize that I’m not a “yeller” when it comes to showing enthusiasm. I sound fake – my ability to convey my message in a conversational way is my best form of communication and being authentic is much more important than trying to be someone you’re not. Looking for other ways you can become a better public speaker? Hop to it!

Thanks for reading/sharing and let me know what you think in the comments!

–Madalene

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Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v10

It’s #InternationalWomensDay! Let’s celebrate those women who have made it possible for us to live better lives and continue to encourage girls to know their value.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • I’m a bit of wack-a-doodle for getting up at the crack of dawn to work out, even on weekends, but I know that getting my exercise in the morning is the best time for me, otherwise it won’t happen. Sometimes it’s really hard for me to slow down because I know that there’s so much I want to do. Starting my day early allows me to extend the hours that I have to get the most out of life and as I get older, taking naps or taking a break seem like a distant memory. Here are a few ways how you can have seemingly endless energy.
  • When I once served as a mentor to the Running Start Fellows program, their main advisor Arnie Thomas told me that he thought I was meant to be a teacher and he was probably right. Although I have the technical skills and experience as a fundraiser, I truly enjoy my training portfolio that much more. One of the things that I’ve recognized in myself is that I’m a “sharer” which comes to a surprise to most people because I’m an only child (do only children always have such a bad rap?). Nonetheless, I like sharing whatever knowledge I possess to those who are interested in learning. If it’s not knowledge that I share then having time to volunteer on projects that mean a great deal to me is part of that teacher mentality. I may not know a whole lot but I know that it makes one’s life that much more fulfilling.
  • Every once in a while, I get into a mood where I contemplate the old adage, “What am I doing with my life?”. After 40+ years of living on this Earth, I still wonder if I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing or if I’m meant to do something else. To be perfectly honest, I usually get this way when I’m a little overwhelmed. For a time when I had my quarter life crisis, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled and wasn’t sure if I was doing what was right for me. Having the privilege of choice can create fear and paralysis. In the end, it always came down to what I was passionate about and having the belief in myself that I could do it if I created my own path. I know that I will continue to examine my life’s purpose for the foreseeable future as a way to check if I’ve gotten lazy and now I have the perfect set of questions to ask myself.
  • I get really excited when I see AAPIs succeed, especially in the political world because hey, I want to see more of my people engaging in the electoral process. It’s nice to see that it’s becoming more common to see AAPIs running for elected office and winning!
  • I first met Amy Dacey when she worked at the DCCC and I worked at the DNC so I’ve seen this woman in action for a long, long time. Well deserved article touting her abilities to get the job done as the CEO of the Democratic National Committee.
  • Most of you know of my involvement of the Women’s Information Network (WIN) and through that organization, I’ve had such a wonderful experience meeting young women who are doing extraordinary things. I want to give a personal shout out on this #InternationalWomensDay to the women (Katie Breslin, Christy Carter, & Claire Gould) behind a soon-to-be launched podcast called Beyond the Ceiling. They’re telling the stories of women who are making the world a better place. Catch their inaugural podcast on March 10th!

Alright folks, what you have up your sleeves for the upcoming week?? Share them in the comments or drop me a line!

Thanks for reading/sharing!

— Madalene

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v9

It’s SUPER TUESDAY – 13 states and one territory have their primaries and caucuses today – only in DC would there be a happy hour to watch the returns. If you’re a sports fan, you will see that today is the playoffs for the Superbowl, World Series, Olympics, Stanley Cup etc..all rolled into one. In my world that means I have about 8 more months before my vacation 🙂

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Washington, DC is a destination city. It’s a place where there’s a constant stream of people dreaming to work here. Sometimes people fall into positions, but it’s a high probability that people mapped out a strategy to find employment. In an earlier post I shared a great list to where you could find campaign related jobs (here) and now, my friends over at the Campaign Workshop are sharing advice on the strategy in finding a job. Combined it can make the process a little more manageable and can help in a more efficient search. Good luck!
  • As a manager or someone who is in a supervisory role, motivating your team is an essential part of the job. It keeps up morale and helps to quickly identify problems that may not yet have surfaced. I believe that every person has a different reason for doing things and although the team may be on the same page, everyone gets something uniquely personal out of the experience. So although the headline for the article is slightly misleading, it’s really determining how each of us should build relationships so that we can create an experience that motivates us to succeed.
  • It seems that DC attracts young, well-educated single women – check out these numbers! Which leads me to a piece written in New York magazine about how single women hold the most important political clout of any other demographic. Society has placed restraints on women and doesn’t equally count your voice unless you’re married. (I love my momma but she didn’t think I became a woman until I got married and just for that, I held out from getting married even though I was living with my husband for 7 years before we got married and even then, I eloped.) The policies that can affect change are dependent on this demographic using its voice. Not all single women are high income earners and in fact, many of them are single parents who are juggling paying for child care and earning a wage without the ability to schedule their work hours around when the voting polls are open.

Thanks for reading/sharing! Don’t forget to share you comments!

— Madalene

 

 

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Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v8

Photo credit via

It’s been an eventful week as we execute plans for the Democratic primary and even though there is so much going on, this is what working in politics entails. Over the weekend, I spent part of my Saturday at The Women in Politics Institute at American University as a Guest Speaker at a Women & the 2016 Elections weekend session. It was amazing to talk with such a dynamic group as we discussed what it means to be a woman working in this industry as well as the challenges that women candidates face. I marvel at the fact that I’ve worked in this business for 20 years and have seen the demographic change to include more diverse individuals, but yet there’s still more work to do.  I hope to still be around in the next 20 years to see how much we’ve progressed. This class certainly gave me inspiration for the future!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • I’m excited to be participating at WIN’s Young Women of Achievement (YWA) awards this coming Thursday. If you haven’t purchased your ticket, get on it! I had the opportunity to meet quite a few of the 55 women who were nominated for their respective industry awards earlier in the month and they are all extraordinary people who make a difference in their organizations and the broader community as a whole. I made remarks that evening commenting that after reviewing their resumes, I wondered what I had done with my life because they were already well accomplished. As a result, this made me reflect that I could have chosen a better way to congratulate these women because I know that life is not about comparisons and that there are times when people feel that they’re falling behind to their peers. All of these women have seized opportunities and made it their own. I hope that everyone gives themselves the room to take it all in.
  • If you’re looking for ways to re-focus your journey, here are some great ideas to jump start your adventure. I recently met with a woman who is starting a new life (leaving her 25+ marriage, moving from a very well established life in a northeast state to DC where she hasn’t lived since her college days, no longer managing a household with a husband and 2 grown children etc..) and she’s ready to dive back into the work force and brush up on her social media skills. That takes a lot of courage and the mental wherewithal to take steps to change a very familiar routine. Life is a constant reinvention of self. I try to push outside of my comfort zone so that I can feel and embrace the fear. I took up surfing for that particular reason. Even with multiple trips out into various oceans, I still have my WTF moments and wonder why I put myself in these situations. I always know the answer and yet I still ask the question. I don’t want to be complacent and when the familiar becomes too familiar that new sensation creates a different perspective of how the world operates. Starting a new chapter can be exhilarating and downright scary but the water’s just fine – jump in!
  • A revealing article on how to have more presence in your workplace from Amy Cuddy, a Professor and Researcher at Harvard Business School. It articulates how much active listening creates a level of trust with your colleagues and staff. Important factors to remember when you’re working in your organizations!
  • With so many networking opportunities in DC, there can be times when you can’t seem to get beyond the small talk. Here’s to moving into medium talk! I thought the questions were great in engaging people. Small talk is innocuous and doesn’t allow for people to GET REAL. Do you have some favorite medium talk moments?
  • Regardless of whether you’re a Hillary supporter or not, everyone needs to acknowledge that there are crazy high expectations of women in positions of authority. Known as the double bind, women are constantly critiqued against a scale that doesn’t apply to men. It’s something that needs to stop and it begins by recognizing it in the first place.

Thanks for reading/sharing – tell me what new adventures are on your horizon!!

— Madalene