FB Cover photo

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.

IMG_1876 IMG_1878

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

 

 

Screenshot 2016-07-10 14.36.46

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

 

You-2

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

 

 

 

 

Screenshot 2016-06-19 14.30.36

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v25

Photo credit via

Hope you’re having a great start to the week! I’m getting ready for WIN’s annual Women Opening Doors for Women (WODW) and gearing up for MAY-JAAAHHH collection agent mode for the end of the quarter. We’ll soon be headed into 30 days before the Philadelphia Democratic convention and less than 130 days before the general election. If you’re a planner, then you know that we’re in overdrive!

Putting all of that aside, I want to express my gratitude for all of your support of the blog! I really enjoy hearing from you and getting your feedback on how articles have been helpful or have impacted your professional/personal lives. Thank you for reading and I hope that I can continue to be a resource! Feel free to let me know what types of articles you’re looking for and how I can be helpful.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • There are a lot of young people who work in politics and oftentimes, you start where there’s the most demand and likely that was in field. As you start to become more involved with the industry, you will become more acquainted with the finer details of each particular specialty. I do fundraising because it was due to my organizational skills that my manager/supervisor saw that I might be good in that specific kind of role. If you’re in field and you want to move into communications, you need to know the scope of work involved for that position. It’s not just being a spokesperson. You need relationships with media outlets and reporters, as well as the skill to write a communications plan. The higher the role, the more responsibility. How does this translate into changing industries/fields? You need to know the trends that are happening and you need to get into the sphere of influence of those who can make hires. Although this article was written with the perspective of an entrepreneur, it gives you the guidelines to which you can make a transition into a different field. I try to live my life by “creating my own luck”. It can be more challenging but there are steps you can take to give yourself credentials into another type of work.
  • I have a lot of friends who are getting ready to transition from working in the Obama administration to the unknown world of life changes. People have started thinking about their futures and preparing for new challenges. Does that mean something in a future administration, returning from where they came, getting out of politics/public policy for greener pastures (yes, I’m also alluding to making more $$), or is it all a mystery? It’s a time for new chapters – whether they be written for you or by you. How do you start thinking about all of these questions? It doesn’t matter what age you’re at (for those who may remember, I had a quarter life crisis and left politics) because you can always start a new chapter at any age you choose. This is your life – you get to do with it how you choose!
  • Last week I shared a great deal about self doubt and I’ve realized that optimism plays a critical role in getting unstuck, releasing self doubt and a number of other positive habits. If there isn’t hope that the work you’re doing, the person that you’re becoming, and the world is going to be better then we’re seriously screwed! Of course you and I will have our down days and that’s why you have built a community that will allow you to bathe in the negative for just that moment and help you rise again. Being able to enjoy the small triumphs is worth every second of victory because that will carry you forward to the next threshold. You’ve got this and YOU are a role model to not only OTHERS but to YOURSELF. HELL YEAH – you wake up in the morning knowing that the day can bring its challenges and you’ve got the skills and the know how to make it through. #winning
  • I’m a mentor to a couple of undergraduates who are enthusiastic and eager to jump start their professional careers (I tell them that they need to savor this moment of their lives because I didn’t think that 20+ years of post graduate professional life would get me to now – that’s for another time!). We’re in the midst of discussing their life goals and the basics such as how to write a cover letter and how to get through interviews. I’ve talked with first time job applicants as well as to more seasoned professionals about how to approach a job interview. Foremost, know your strengths – know them in and out and how to articulate them in examples. Know your weaknesses and how you can improve them. Most importantly, know your VALUE. Your ability to express your value to a company/organization also translates to how having you as a team member helps them to reach their goals.
  • When you take a step back to see where you are in the world, you can sometimes feel small. If you’re an intern, if you’re an assistant, if you’re a director, if you’re a VP, there’s always going to be someone higher up the ladder and you need to have the skills to be able to engage those people into your orbit. Knowing how you can be helpful to them is always the beginning to the conversation. This goes back to your value and assessing your ability to help others with your skills.
  • As a fundraiser, I’m constantly thinking about how much money needs to be raised by the quarter, the month, the week and daily – intervals of time that set up benchmarks. How about if we did that with our time?? The saying goes, “Time is money” and how true is that when we also realize that we can never get more time.
  • It’s a running joke that I like to exercise at the crack of dawn (running joke, get it?!). Anyway, I’m in a time out with exercise. My body has decided that I needed a break and I’m absolutely OK with it and I will be OK with it until I start to feel sluggish and really really cranky. I know all about the positive benefits and I like the adrenaline after my workouts. I’m just not feeling it these days and I’m giving myself the space to be OK because I know that I will get back to it when I’m ready. For those who are looking for the motivation to exercise more, here’s a trick that you can use to get you to your favorite physical activity. I actually use the same thinking when it comes to exercise because I prioritize it over other things, however at this point in time, my quality of sleep is beating out exercise.

What are you doing to bring value to those around you? Share your stories!

Thanks for reading!

— Madalene

Screenshot 2016-06-12 13.19.00

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v24

Photo credit via

As I look to my schedule, I can see that my summer is well planned with lots of work projects. Fall has always been my favorite season because of the change of temperature and we’re in the heady days of campaigning. I’ve always worked in places where we’re bundling up and finishing the night’s work with whatever baseball game is on for the World Series. My colleagues who work in the warmer states, I have no idea what it feels like to campaign in shorts and it always makes me feel a bit out of place in the same way when I’m celebrating Christmas and there are palm trees around me. This is my 11th campaign season as a political operative and although technology has changed tremendously (I remember when it was 1996 and I was using a thermal fax machine to transfer phone banking information!), I know that what really matters is that you understand how your district wants to be communicated and how to message them so that they want to listen to your message. This will always be about connecting with people and talking with them in the mediums that they want to communicate, whether that’s one on one in a face to face (door to door) or by text message. Understand that people want to be heard and will engage when they see that you want to understand them.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Did you get a chance to catch my FB hangout with Tammy Gordon when we talked about the Joys and Challenges of Being Your Own Boss? If not, you can hop over to the Arum Group FB and take a look see! If you thought it was helpful, please feel free to share it! Much thanks to Tammy and her team member, Christina Giordana for taking the time to hang with me and to Arum Group Team members, Hyunju Bin and Samantha Ng for designing the graphic and for setting up all the tech pieces! #BOSS
  • One of the topics that Tammy and I didn’t cover was the juggle of having a life partner in the equation. Occasionally I will get asked this question about balancing my work and the life that I’m creating with my spouse. One variable I don’t have is children, which in itself is a totally different dynamic. I, along with my spouse made a very conscious decision early in our lives that we would not have children and I strongly believe that this decision is unique to everyone. Only you know what is best for your life and I’ve had conversations with people who have vehemently disagreed with my choice. My response to them is “You don’t live my life, I do and your choices are yours so I will also choose to not judge your decisions because I will never really know the challenges and happiness that you enjoy but I will be supportive of whatever you choose.” End of conversation. There are going to be times when you won’t have the attention span to give to your partner and as in the case of the author of this article, she didn’t have an infrastructure for her business when she fell in love. Each relationship can be intoxicating – you’re in love with your work life and in love with your partner. What kind of infrastructure/support system can you create to make it work?
  • We live in a world of busy (which I personally hate) because everyone likes to think that it’s perfectly normal to be out of control with their schedules. Don’t get sucked into the world of busy! I completely understand that the to do list can be crazy! The ability to focus on a large project can be daunting when your to do list is 10 feet long. Here are ways to be more productive. Don’t multi-task and find when you’re likely to do your best work. I know the type of conditions I need to get big thinking, which leads to big doing done. I can’t have music playing, unless it’s classical; if the tv is on then it can be the news and sometimes I can put on a cooking show on mute; no emails and no other social media apps to distract me. Most importantly, I set a timer. I estimate how long it’s going to take me to get that project done and I take that time to focus. I reward myself by checking my social media apps to see what’s going on in the world while I was working. One of the things that I need to work on is meditation. Every article that I read talks about its effects and I need to get on that train! What tips are helpful to you in being more productive?
  • I work with non-profits to help them with their fundraising and we often talk about how donors are “investors” to these organizations. What’s frustrating is that even when we speak in “for-profit” terms, we’re still working with unrealistic expectations for non-profits. If you work directly in non-profits, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading Nonprofit with Balls. Every time I read this blog, I find myself nodding my head and laughing while simultaneously wanting a glass of wine because I think it will make it all better. In all seriousness, it provides a serious lens to the environment that many non-profits face. Changing how we view ourselves and what we want others to know about the work that we do will hopefully educate those who think that non-profits are less serious than for-profit entities.
  • I live in the bubble of the Beltway. It’s a very privileged life and I realize that if I want to know what’s going on in the world, I need to listen to those who are not in this enclave. When I started campaigning, I would work elsewhere to see what topics were important to people who don’t live and breathe politics everyday (you know, normal people). Everyone’s financial situation is unique and learning how others live makes me reflect on what money can buy. Here are the stories of 4 women with 4 different incomes and how they afford to live their lives.
  • How much does self doubt rear its nasty head in your life? There are days when it’s screaming in mine, but I take a deep breath and listen to MY voice, the only sound that matters. I think of myself as pragmatic. There are times when I’ve tried a few things that didn’t work out and I chalk that up to finding the right rhythm to get into a groove. Did that work? No, well then let’s try something different. I grew up getting straight A’s – all the time. It’s a horrible feeling! Yes, the joy of having excelled at subjects transitions to Oh shiz, I gotta do it again next quarter, next semester, next year. The 1st time I got a B, I freaked out that my parents would be disappointed in me (they were fine). The kinds of expectations that I put on myself were making me tough and giving me habits to apply to other things outside of school, but it also made me question whether I should do something if I thought it wouldn’t be PERFECT. GAWD – I love perfect – when nothing goes wrong and everything comes out just like you envisioned. Fear of not getting something done perfectly or even done as well as your peers can lead to paralysis. Throw in self doubt and you have created a lethal dose of destruction. Self doubt got nothing on you.
  • Every day that I work in politics, I come to the realization that my job is to be part of the story telling mechanism that promotes my clients. It’s the best productive thing you can do to create a brand and solidify a reputation. When I meet a candidate, one of the 1st things I ask is, “What’s your story?”. Why? It gives me a sense of how they’re pitching themselves to prospects, donors, influencers, the media, you name it! We talk about the elevator pitch and this is essentially it. What makes you unique and what makes you memorable and above else, what makes you relatable to people who you’re convincing to vote for you, give you money, and what other asks you have of them. This also applies to your own individual narrative. You need to learn these skills to be an effective leader. Leading a team involves so much more than commanding directives and project management. It means sharing your vulnerabilities and being authentic. You value people (and brands) when they’re honest and when they’re welcoming. That can lead to admiration and respect – qualities that any brand would want.

That’s it folks – let me know your comments and like/share the post! Thanks for reading!

— Madalene

 

resist change

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v23

It’s so super crazy! I went away for the weekend and today is Super Tuesday 5 (I remember the days when there was ONLY ONE Super Tuesday and in this election we have had FIVE of them!!). I think most people know that I’m supporting Hillary so here’s to breaking the glass ceiling!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • We all know that there are different leadership styles, but did you know that there are differences in leadership according to culture? The Harvard Business Review breaks it down for you!
  • Life is going to throw you curveballs and they way in you which you handle yourself during these trying times is a testament to your strength of character. It’s an exercise in patience, self esteem, confidence and resilience (and so many other attributes!). It certainly is a Defining Moment and how you capitalize on it makes a difference on your outlook of yourself and how others perceive you. Here’s a great story on Jenna Wolfe and her defining moment. Was there a time in your life that you would call your defining moment?
  • Priorities are about choices. I’ve talked in the past about how I triage my life, constantly moving things around to meet deadlines and knowing how much I can push something so that I can move forward with other projects. In my opinion, being busy isn’t a great feeling. I like the sensation of being busy in that I’m not bored and time seems to fly by. Doing work in a transformational way takes real energy. It takes focus and sometimes time goes by much slower because you’re not forced to do “real work”. No one is ever too busy when you place a premium on priorities.
  • I’ve been fortunate to have a professional career where sexism has been rare. It definitely exists with my colleagues and you might say that there is a certain level of it in fundraising when you think about the donor/staff/candidate dynamic. That is changing with more female donors and more female candidates/elected officials. Here are ways that you can shut it down and be supportive of those who have experienced sexism as well as how we can help one another to not make this kind of atmosphere the norm.
  • I’m thrilled to announce that Tammy Gordon from Verified Strategy will be joining me on Thursday, June 9th at 3:15pm Eastern to discuss the Joys and Challenges of Being Your Own Boss on the Arum Group Facebook page! Tammy and I have known one another since we were young sprites doing political work. She’s been a pioneer in social media strategy for national organizations and she recently decided to take the plunge and be her own boss. Send in your questions and join us as we talk about life as an entrepreneur, all the crazy administrative stuff you need to do when you rather be working on your client projects, and how you can live a life that’s designed by you!

Thanks for reading/sharing! If you haven’t already signed up for the blog, I hope you’ll join this growing community!

— Madalene

Screenshot 2016-05-29 13.55.09

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v22

Photo credit via

I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend. Memorial Day is special to me because my father was in the military. Although when I was born, he had already retired from military service, he kept in close contact with the people who he served with throughout his career. It also reminds me of how much I love the United States. It doesn’t matter if I’m at a sporting event or a gala, if the national anthem is playing, I will always tear up. I think about my dad and his colleagues and how much they sacrificed to serve the US. There was a time in my life when I thought that I would apply to West Point – my life would be completely different – I think that idea really came from watching the camaraderie through my dad’s relationships. I hope that our military and our veterans know that there are citizens in this country that truly respect their work.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Income equality is no joking matter but when you think about all the reasons that women aren’t paid equally, you start to wonder if it all was a joke in the first place. Here’s a satirical video of all the reasons why women can’t break the glass ceiling.
  • Sometimes your work life takes over everything and then a health issue makes the idea of just being alive a priority. Whenever work starts to overcome my life, I have to re-assess what’s really important to me. As I’m closing into my mid 40s, I know that I’m at the peak of my life – I know that life will continue to be fantastic as I get older, only if I take the necessary steps now to prepare for those later years. My body will tell me that I can’t/shouldn’t surf anymore, my health will tell me that I need to watch my diet and my brain will tell me to keep challenging myself. All of these things matter but the one thing that I need to do most is nurture my relationships – the friendships that create strong bonds and a support system for me and to the people I care about – my usual tendency is to spend time alone (which gives me the quiet that I enjoy) but that my making an effort to be with people who care for me as I care for them will also bring benefits in the long term.
  • As I’ve gotten older, I wonder why I didn’t do certain things when I was younger? Mainly, I wasn’t necessarily thinking about certain aspects of my professional life with a particular lens. Since I see myself more as an entrepreneur and a political operative, I notice things differently because my perspective has changed. I see more younger professionals taking the time to brand themselves more (something I never did as a young person) and now I encourage others to do it too! I’ve even taught a workshop on branding. Here’s a great article on tips to create a brand that works for you.
  • It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are in life, you’re going to feel down in the dumps and need a wake up move to jumpstart your confidence. “Power posing” scientifically gives you that jumpstart. Power poseHere’s me doing my best power pose. It doesn’t need to be this particular pose. It can be whatever makes you feel the most confident. Send me your pics of your favorite power pose!
  • I spend a lot of time sharing with you articles that matter to working women and I noticed that I didn’t really share a lot when it comes to motherhood and how it affects your professional/personal life. Partly due to the fact that I’m not a mother and also because so many women that I know in my professional life aren’t moms either. The ones who are moms tend to have help, in the form of nannies or relatives/grandparents in the area. It was good for me to also see how people juggle through a schedule of being mom, wife/partner, professional all in a 24 hour span – I think I would have an identity crisis seeing how this one woman manages life in one day. So many props to the women out there who live this kind of day/week/year. We all have our challenges and being supportive of one another by recognizing our different challenges makes us more empathetic to how we can make one another’s lives better.
  • I recently met with a young woman asking for career advice. She commented that working as a consultant you spend a lot of time hustling and that’s very true. Sometimes thinking about going on your own makes for a glamorous story and it’s a great goal to have if you think you will thrive in those types of conditions. What types of conditions am I referring? The kind where you need to follow up on potential clients, looking for people you can target who will be in need of your services in the future, marketing your services so that your work is based on referrals and recommendations, and actually maintaining a level of work product worthy of those referrals and recommendations! There are a ton of great things about being on your own. It’s your marquee and it’s also all the things that go into having it your marquee. Don’t let your fears of what it may be like keep you from jumping into the deep end, but also be realistic about what you need to do to be your own boss. Join me on the Arum Group Facebook page on June 9th at 3pm Eastern for a session on the joys and challenges of being your own boss.

If you haven’t already, please like the Arum Group Facebook page, join me on Twitter @madalenemielke, and snap chat at madalene.mielke. Much thanks for all of your support and I hope to see you on any of these social media platforms!

Thanks for reading/sharing!

— Madalene

 

Screenshot 2016-05-23 09.01.02

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v21

Photo credit via

What do I love about the month of May? It’s APIA Heritage Month and celebrating all the wonderful accomplishments and reflecting on the challenges that my community faces along with the solutions that we create. It’s a time to honor those who have blazed the trail for us and to recognize those who continue to do the work. It’s such a great way to see the past and look to the future.

Before we dive into Tuesday Truths, can you do a big favor and fill out the readers survey?? It will help me get you the kind of material that will be helpful to you! Thank you!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Speaking of the future, how much do I love that Asian Fortune highlighted 50 Young Asian American Stars in Politics? I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of the Democrats/progressives featured in this article and I consider them my brothers and sisters. They’ve got knowledge to drop and you should get to know them!
  • There are going to be times when you have doubts and wonder if you’re headed in the wrong direction. Here are a few warning signs that you can self-assess on what you’re doing and where you’re going. So if you find yourself in a situation where you need to re-invent or turn yourself around, here are ways you can course correct – no matter what age!
  • We’re headed into intern season, the time to shape a young person’s mind and professional work experience (said *tongue in cheek* but not really.) Even if you don’t spend a lot of time with the interns or the younger members of the staff, it’s imperative to learn the myriad of ways you can be a leader. Learn about these habits and how they can bring out the best in others.
  • I did a training a few weeks ago where I was recently asked about, “If the updates in technology have changed the way we do voter contact” and my opinion is that engagement is really about how others want to engage, especially when you’re thinking about targeting voters who have a high propensity to vote. It’s important to not rely on just technology to get your message out. The more traditional routes can be less sexy, however you still need to talk with people who continue to use the more traditional tools to get their information. Use Twitter and the other social media tools to your advantage but don’t let it ruin your perspective to talk with those who prefer other ways to communicate. I’ve fallen down the Snap Chat rabbit hole, so if you want to get an idea of what it’s really like to be a political consultant, follow me at madalene.mielke!
  • To really live the life you want, there is a sh*t ton of hard work you need to do to get be successful. There are so many obstacles and there are times when you’re just so exhausted that you think that you can’t possibly do anymore. Are you truly moving forward or are you achieving the steps that you need to get you to where you want to be? The doubts abound and when you need to assess your current situation, take a moment to see if you’re headed in the direction towards success.
  • Gotta give BIG props to the Honorable Geraldine Roman, the 1st openly transgender elected official in the federal government for the Philippines. #breakingbarriers
  • Before I sign off, did you do the readers survey? I’d most appreciate it!

Thank you for reading/sharing and letting me know your thoughts and comments!

— Madalene