We’re in the final stretch of a full week before June 30th – really putting the follow-up techniques for fundraising into full affect. I’ll be in Seattle later this week to do a fundraiser and training so I’ll have a limited amount of time to get my commitments in the door so BGM (BUSY. GETTING. MONEY) is on blast!
Let’s get to it!
So you did a major belly flop with an assignment or you faced a major career disaster head on with lots of collateral damage – how do you recover and make adjustments? It’s bound to happen! I always say that I’ve been yelled at by the best in the business and it has ingrained in me how much I do not ever want to repeat that kind of F-up so that it doesn’t happen again. At the end of the day, it’s embarrassing but I find that embracing it and owning up to it paves the way for resolution. The Harvard Business Review says that there are 3 ways you can react so share with me how you’ve recovered!
Working in politics, I see people who are always striving towards goals, mainly dedicated to obtaining a better title (which in most cases requires more responsibilities!) but there are times when people talk about becoming elected officials and ambition seems to be the driving force. As a person who assesses risk on a constant basis for when we need to find a a path to victory, it can be challenging to encourage people to do something as risky as run for office. With that in mind, if you can make the dream into your reality against all odds, screw what others say and go for it. You have to inspire your own work, whether that be in politics or some other field. People might say that I’m an example of being out of the box because it’s certainly not normal to have a Vietnamese American female work in politics (ask my mom – she’ll definitely tell you that it’s weird but yet still be proud of my accomplishments). So even if you don’t have external cheerleaders, you’ll always have your inner voice to move you forward.
Sometimes it’s the simple questions that really drill down to our values and as a result, help us to become better at our jobs or find ways to improve our lives. These 2 questions can help in your reflection, but since I work in politics my career certainly addresses these questions everyday.
Last week was really an amazing time for me because I had the honor of being given the Karen Mulhauser award from the Women’s Information Network (WIN). For those who do not know, I am an Advisory Council (AC) Board member for WIN and have been very blessed to work with such inspiring women. Here is my little love letter to them (who I also know are such great supporters of this little blog o’mine).
When I was first asked to join WIN’s Advisory Council, I was certainly delinquent in keeping up with WIN on a regular basis. I had been a speaker in some capacity throughout the years for their signature event, Women Opening Doors for Women (WODW) and had participated sporadically throughout the years in other ways. Having established a formal relationship with WIN, I was committed to meet my AC responsibilities and serve as a resource. Little did WIN know that my spending time with the WIN membership and leadership also fostered a growing desire to share whatever knowledge I had gleaned from my years of professional development. Whatever I was giving back was certainly returned to me tenfold by the women who felt that I was helping them through my AC role.
Fast forward to last week where I was not only given an award, but I was also voted to be the next AC Chair by the WIN Executive Council (the cherry on top!). I thank them for their confidence in me as WIN’s AC Chair Emeritus, Karen Mulhauser has been the AC Chair since the inception of WIN 26 years ago – it’s a new model for the organization and a new adventure for me. Karen has been such a stalwart and advocate, guiding WIN as it develops and she will continue to be a valued resource.
My fellow AC members are all uniquely qualified to be Chair and their talents serve WIN in so many ways so I look forward to working with them as WIN continues to support Democratic pro-choice women. Thank you WIN for this opportunity to serve and please know that you can count on me to support your efforts.
On to Tuesday Truths!
When I do my fundraising trainings, aspiring candidates always ask me what would be my one piece of advice about fundraising that they could start today even though they aren’t officially running for anything. My answer: grow and nurture your network. Sometimes it can seem unwieldy to manage a lot of contacts but having the ability to authentically connect makes for a deeper relationship. So even if your network is small that can sometimes bring more value than a broader network that isn’t very deep. Size does make a difference.
When you think you have nothing say when meeting someone new, here are 7 ways you can connect. I have to establish rapport everyday when I’m fundraising and so do my clients – a little behind the scenes research helps to figure out commonalities but when you’re at a conference or in an environment that may seem overwhelming, breaking the ice to allow others to talk will help get you going.
My political colleagues and I have conversations about emerging leaders in our fields and whether or not they “get it”. We sometimes talk about how certain political skills can be learned while others are much more innate. A big part of that is how much common sense an individual possesses. LAWDY – common sense is BIG in my book – putting the dots together and reasoning an outcome = I want you on my team. It’s just one of the factors that can trump book smart intelligence and when it comes down to a job interview, those components together can make you a great candidate for the position.
This is just so on point – you’ll notice that most of these leadership commandments are about individuals taking action and about helping others.
It doesn’t matter the type of job you have or the industry/field where you specialize there are mad skillllzzzz you need to survive as well as thrive in a professional career. Learn them, be one with them and you’ll find that they’re transferable wherever you go. The negotiating skill is KEY – if you need training, check out Tanya Tarr and ask her about an upcoming workshop.
People don’t think that I procrastinate, but I do! You may have read in previous posts that I mainly work in triage – bumping up priorities according to meeting my deadlines (which miraculously I seem to not blow – I will not say never!). Recognizing what motivates you can get you going as well as taking heed of the type of procrastinator you are so that you can work to make it a bit easier on yourself.
It’s a busy week filled with more events and the start of a new intern. Any advice you want to give them for working in my office 😉 How are you getting on with your interns this season?
If you’re new to Washington, DC & the insane hierarchy of Capitol Hill offices, you may want to re-consider your social media presence, at least when it comes to how you decide to share your adventures.
I’m working on a project for the long haul. There are some immediate results (hello, fundraising!) but there are other points that will take time to piece together to see a broader result. As a consequence there are moments when I wonder, “why exactly am I doing this project? what did I sign up for?” so I have to dial it back and stop looking at the things that I hate about the project and see that there is a future where once the project is successful, it will be worth all of the frustration. So when you start to think that your goals are out of reach, these suggestions can help you get over the rough patch.
There was a time in my life when I ditched politics and went into a different industry to pursue an interest and see if I enjoyed it enough to start a new career. I was extremely privileged to be able to switch careers but I probably wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t feel the burn out of fundraising. It was a great learning experience for me but it also taught me how to manage my stress so that I could continue in politics without allowing stress to control my life. Here are some ways that you can manage your stress to prevent burnout. Tell me what else you do to give yourself some peace!
If you need to have a brainstorming session, recognize that you have introverts and extroverts as well as ambiverts who can bring their A game to the session as long as you give them the right environment to propose ideas. Set your team up for a successful session by taking these approaches – you’ll find that you’re getting better results!
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Much thanks to the incomparable Simone Ward for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk with the folks who attended the brown bag lunch last Tuesday! Simone is the DSCC Political Director and is the first African American woman to hold the position. I love that she’s breaking barriers and working towards a Democratic majority in the US Senate. If you missed her at the lunch, read her interview with National Journal! #ladyboss
We’re in high gear for fundraising – by now, I’m most likely on a plane headed to the west coast for a client fundraiser. I get a break from the crazy DC humidity and will take the opportunity to catch up with colleagues and friends for my less than 48 hour trip.
If you haven’t scheduled it on your calendar yet, you better get with the cool kids and join me for the Women’s Information network (WIN) Women Opening Doors for Women #WODW annual reception and dinners on June 11th. With 20+ different dinners to choose from with a wide range of topics, you’ll find a new group of like minded women to connect with in DC.
I feel like we’re always in networking mode and I feel it the most in the summer when interns come to town. You know the scene: people congregate with the people they already know and there are moments when it’s interspersed with people who know one of the people in conversation. What if you don’t anyone?? Do you hang out with the refreshments? Don’t fret – here’s 10 ways you can get that conversation started. “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?” – just kidding!
When I talk about branding, I like to tell people that it’s about how you want to be remembered and to be consistent in your work so that you actively portray those descriptions. This will lead to tangible results but it requires some internal reflection. This is how you discover how amazing you are and so will everyone else.
I have a job that is a nice combination of work that I believe in and work that I do to pay the bills. Is it really necessary to have a job where you’re happy? Research says that it actually does matter! When I was unhappy in previous jobs, I felt disengaged and less committed to the mission of the organization. There may be times when we don’t have a choice and circumstances dictate that we stay in job where we’re not happy, but if you can make adjustments to get you to a happier workplace then it’s a win win for everyone.
Sometimes, I fashion myself as a private investigator because I’m always looking up potential donors – their bios, political participation etc and with the internet around, I have so many resources to figure out someone’s story. It gives me a snapshot of what this person may be interested in and what motivates them to participate. So if you ever need to do some quick research and become an “expert” on a topic or person, here’s how!
I try to remind myself of these tools when I’m talking to people who aren’t friends. I find that I don’t need it as much when I’m teaching/training since I’m very comfortable in the material. I also find that the way I communicate via email (in very concise sentences) is how I try to strip away excess in my verbal communication. It’s obviously a lot easier when you email because you can edit, edit, edit.
This article was intended for those individuals who are looking to friends and family to invest in a start up or kickstarter but I also found it pertinent for those who are running for elected office. You gotta ask for $$ and your friends and family are the early seed money investors for your campaign. It’s very similar and can be transferable to when you start your early stage of fundraising.
Before you can really start fundraising for your campaign, you really need to have a strong compelling narrative. The fine folks over at Campaigns and Elections put together a great article on to do that – one major takeaway – it’s a not resume!
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It’s a district work period for the House and Senate and we’re gearing up for a pretty event heavy June with the 2nd quarter fast approaching. Sometimes I look at the past posts and realize that I could be commenting on some kind of sports game when I’m talking quarters. My colleagues in the fundraising profession and I have “trained” donors to recognize short term gratification by creating an environment where deadlines are just ways to get to your contribution faster (thank you FEC!). I hear so often that people are tired of the barrage of email solicitations that come with the end of the quarter that it just turns into white noise and we’re still looking for innovative ways to capture people’s attention. Engaging with people in a way that makes them comfortable so that they can decide to click on the contribute button (that’s part of what I do for a living!).
Let’s get going with Tuesday Truths!
When you need to focus on convincing an individual or a group on making change or investing into a project, here are ways to win over their hearts or their minds. Great article that really translates well to campaign style too.
The original post was intended to help those who are hiring millennials but after reading the questions, I realized that it would be good to tweak them when it comes time for an employee review. I greatly believe in investing in staff – having managers who can recognize talent in the ranks and nurturing it because sometimes individuals don’t recognize their own talent unless someone sees it first and taking the time to see if people believe in themselves enough to have people push them further than they envisioned for themselves. These questions may bring broad strokes to who a person is (it is after all, a list of questions for when you hire) but these questions can be re-visited later to see if people have the ability to change their perceptions of themselves as they continue in their professional careers.
I like that is article is about listening and the techniques you use to show that you’re actively listening to someone. It will certainly make you memorable and people will want to have your ear. Which leads me to best practices for more effective communication. Campaign professionals talk about campaigns as a conversation between the voter and the candidate – a communications model. This ultimately is a back and forth so that we can get feedback. These techniques can be helpful for when you’re communicating with your peers, supervisors or with anyone who can help get your ideas across.
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It’s almost impossible to think that we’re heading into summer and the return of the intern rotation. I’m looking forward to having an intern start with me in the next couple of weeks so you may see a guest post geared to their peers.
Although the title of this article is “How To Win An Argument Every Time”, I would prefer to think of it as How to Best Neutralize a Conflict. You decide and tell me what you think!
I believe in positive reinforcement as well as tackling issues that may be seen as weaknesses. Harvard Business Review did an article on how companies have increasingly drained women’s ambitions. The environment for promotion is less inviting with a focus on behavior that leave women less motivated. One of my first reactions is that we need more female mentors. If you’re a female with management experience, I hope that you will make the time to support those women who need a helping hand.
How to throw around some swagger without looking like a douchebag or a more appropriate title, “How to Promote Yourself Without Looking Like a Jerk”. Like we always say to candidates. your narrative (bio) needs to be compelling and so does the manner in which you talk about your achievements.
No matter where you may be in your career, these 5 tips can help boost your career. It’s a great reminder to stay connected with your network! What other tips have you done to help your career?
I’ve been working a lot more in the field of leadership and realizing that a person’s state of mind is so important to achieving your goals. When I have moments of doubt, I remember some very basic tenets to remind myself about the Why because those doubts turn into clarity. Learning technical skills or specializing a particular field can certainly bring you success but it’s personal development that brings mental dexterity to evolve and adapt to ever changing situations.
Which leads me to how you get to influence people when you’re not perceived as an expert. If you don’t have a lot of experience, you can begin by working with your peers and your network to get testimonials of your abilities or work with a more experienced person in your field who can provide you with credibility. What other tactics have you used?
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Happy Tuesday! This is an especially crazy week with a deluge of riches of AAPI Heritage month activities as well as the House returning to session, and me doing my civic duty with jury duty. Never a dull moment! I’m still working off the adrenaline from doing a Boston campaign training with the AAPI community. Great to see new faces while working with people who have been colleagues/friends for close to 20 years. If ever I wonder why I am in politics, this is a reminder of why – people! I may be an introvert but being around people who are interested in advancing the lives of the AAPI community and those who are disadvantaged or marginalized makes it worth it. So it’s nice to see that a bit of idealism still alive in my cynical heart
If you missed the announcement last week, I have a Special Guest joining us for the Tuesday, 5/26 meet-up – DSCC Political Director Simone Ward. So be prepared to get your lunch/beverage/dessert/snack from Le Pain Quotidien at Union Station (so that they don’t hate us for using their space but not buying lunch) at noon. Please RSVP in the comments section so that I can make sure we have enough space.
On to Tuesday Truths!
Did you realize that only 31,976 donors gave a total of $1.18 BILLION in federal dollars in the 2014 election cycle?? That’s a whole lotta of cha-ching spread across not that many people. So basically the one percent of the wealthiest one percent are political donors. See how the demographics break down through this piece from Opensecrets. If you guessed white & male – BINGO!
I’m a fan of both the Outlander tv series and books but I never really expected it to be a part of the interview process, but I like where this question is headed. Time travel is not just for science fiction fans/nerds! Next time, I’ll be prepared for when I have to interview someone!
I hate talking with strangers as much as anyone else (OK, maybe not a extrovert) but I think back to when I was a child and I would talk with anyone who would respond and asked for stuff all.the.time (maybe that’s why I usually don’t have a problem about asking for money). As I’ve gotten older, I find it a little tedious so I need to kick myself in the butt to remind myself that there was a time when I was much more open and thought about the consequences less (they could say “NO!”). I need to think less and just dive in. My 2 cents on how to network with strangers but the Harvard Business Review may have a slightly different take 😉
Work smarter not harder. I try to do most of these steps but I need to stop multi-tasking and focus, focus, focus. With the clients I have I try to not get sidetracked when something comes up so that I can devote my attention to each one with the kind of purity I want as if they were my only client. I also know that I have to schedule call time for myself when I fundraise. Knowing the weaknesses is half the battle, right?
Be a little foolish and you may well find that you’re on the path to success. I try to face my fears by doing things that will make me less fearful (i.e. surfing – for some reason I developed a fear of water – I used to spend so much time in the pool and then I became a little mental about it so I decided that the only way for me to face it was to do something that would show me that it’s OK). Holding onto that fear can stunt your growth and hold you back from realizing that you are much more resilient than you think.
How to become more politically active without actually running for office? Here are a few tips from Tonia Bui and I would add that when you think you have no connections, you really do – your friends and family and people who trust your insight. The more you meet others who think that they don’t have connections, the more you’re networking to the next level. Show people how you want to be involved by your actions, not your words. They’ll see it and believe it.
Alright folks, don’t forget to comment if you’re planning on joining us on Tuesday, 5/26! If you find these posts helpful, feel free to subscribe and share. Thanks for reading!
It’s the beginning of another May and luckily for me, it’s Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month! I’m fortunate to work with my community so that we can have more representation and for others to better understand that AAPIs are also an integral part of the fabric that makes all of us American. So if you didn’t know about AAPI Heritage month, here are a few places where you can learn more about the trailblazers who have helped to make this nation more diverse, culturally richer, and my community proud.
Buzzfeed did a great pictorial of their AAPI staffers showing what it means to be AAPI.
Along with AAPI Heritage month, it’s the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, otherwise known as Black April (April 30, 1975). NPR did a series of stories that chronicles the lives of American soldiers and where they lived – this story talks about a refugee family’s transition to San Diego. PBS honored the anniversary by airing “Last Days in Vietnam”, a documentary based on the accounts of a NBC reporter and a US Army Captain.
The Smithsonian has a wonderful AAPI Center where you can learn more of the AAPI experience (it’s diverse and complex) so there is always so much to learn.
**We’re on to additional Tuesday Truths!**
Remember when I talked about my life being in constant triage? When I’m trying to tackle a tough deadline/project, I try to remember these steps to get my mind in gear. I procrastinate like everyone else!
If you’re looking for more work/life balance, it boils down to managing choices. My priorities are exercise and sleep. I try to work out 4-6xs a week because I know that it reduces my anxiety and stress level. I also know that I need to sleep so that my brain functions efficiently. If I don’t get enough sleep, my ability to be coherent and articulate greatly decreases. I can both see and feel the affects of lack of sleep pretty quickly. My priorities are different than your priorities and my goals are different than yours. Some people know that I have taken voice lessons throughout my life, and occasionally I get asked if I’m still taking them and I haven’t made them a priority to make time in my schedule to take lessons. So I can’t lament that I haven’t done it because I’ve made a choice to not move other things off my calendar to make it a priority. It may seem like a it’s an unconscious decision but when I put other choices in front of others, I’ve really made a decision to pursue that particular goal, unspoken or not.
One way to get to your goals can be to take whatever small step is necessary for change. This seems to be directly related to getting your mental game ready for tackling that big deadline/project. Those small steps can turn those accomplishments into grand plans.
Networking is really never about you because the more you can connect with others willing to tell their own stories; the more you will be remembered. If you’re new to the process, here are a few things you can try. One thing I tire of but know that I must do all the time is to get my own story refined. It’s a terrific way to practice your pitch and refine your brand.
Summer internship time is about to start (in some offices they’re on their 1st wave already!) so if you are starting on the Hill or work with staff, here’s a great primer to help get that wardrobe question of “What do I wear?” that is also appropriate out of the way!
With networking on the brain, some readers asked for a way to get together in DC. So meet me on Tuesday, 5/26 from noon – 1:30pm at Le Pain Quotidien at Union Station for a brown bag lunch. I may even have a Special Guest with me! Drop a note in the comments so that I know to expect you and have enough space.
Thanks for reading/sharing and I hope to see you on 5/26!
It’s the last week before a district work period is upon us so we’re barreling our way through with fundraisers and donor meetings. Does it seem like all I ever do is raise money? Well, if your answer is “YES!” then you WIN – I’m not sure what you’ve won but consider yourself a WINNER! Let’s get cracking with Tuesday Truths:
I think like most people, I started my professional life with an idea of where I wanted to work and in a particular industry. I aligned my beliefs with working in my industry but as I have gotten older, I’ve started thinking more of how what I do affects my purpose of life. As a believer in creating your own luck, I think it’s also a result of your ability to control your “destiny”.
If you’re having challenges with work, it may be because you need to remind yourself of what motivates you. I pulled back on some of my projects because I realized that I was spending too much time doing things that didn’t maintain a spark in my career. Read about the science of finding that motivation.
My life is always about deadlines and to an extent, it’s about dealing with procrastination. My friends/colleagues would probably say differently, but I’m a BIG procrastinator. I’ve used a lot of these techniquesto mentally prepare for the onslaught of deadlines and thinking of triage. Do any of these methods help you?
I’ve come to learn through my interns who happen to be business school majors that they learn about thank you letters but those in other programs, aren’t necessarily taught to write them. So for those who may need to brush up or just outright learn some business etiquette, we’ve got exactly 19 ones for you.
As much as I advocate for doing business as usual or at the very least understanding what is considered “the norm”, it’s great to see people who are innovative in breaking through the endless white noise. Check out Nina Mufleh and her creative way to get her resume noticed by Airbnb’s CEO. Which also reminds me about Lindsay Blackwell and how she used her social media network to get noticed for a job announcement at the U. of Michigan.
As a woman who has professional and personal goals, I feel that my definition of “having it all” is different from anyone’s goals for themselves or even what they may think it may be for me. So when asking yourself, “Is it possible?” really think about what your definition is and not compare it to someone else’s.
We are well into the 2nd QTR of 2015 and I have coffees, meetings, lunches, breakfasts, and receptions to bring in that cash $$. It’s a wonder that people actually want to talk with me considering the number of emails and phone calls I make to tell them about upcoming opportunities. Luckily I never take anything personally and I know that it’s not about me so hearing a lot of “No’s” isn’t a morale drainer. I’m only human after all so after too many emails/calls, I need a break to re-charge and get back into action. Hope you’re having a good week so let’s get to Tuesday Truths!
I get asked a lot about branding and although the exercise itself is very reflective, the ability to pitch yourself is not. You can actually practice to make it more natural so that the next time you meet someone at a cocktail reception or networking event, you’ve got skillz and stories to share. We know that small talk can be mind numbing but you can turn those moments into opportunities!
My peers and I are often asked to meet with people from our networks and we’re usually more than happy to oblige a request because of our relationships. There are times when I wonder what people are thinking when they do ask us to meet because since we’re the ones doing the favor, wouldn’t our schedules take precedence as well as our preference to where to meet? Well you won’t fall into that etiquette conundrum when learning the art of the introduction.
Did you know that there’s a service that will use publicly available data sources to come up with personality profiles and provide ways that you can best communicate with specific individuals? I haven’t used the service but Crystal has piqued my attention. Talk about personalizing a pitch in an email to best suit the reader. Hitting those pressure points! If someone tries it, let me know! If we’re talking about communicating, here are ways to improve your communication skills so that you are more self aware and can best engage with others.
There’s going to be a time when you as a manager/supervisor will need to have some tough conversations. I know that in the years when I’ve had to manage, I’ve had to motivate and get people to realize their potential as well as to correct behavior so that bad habits aren’t created. I’m a person who tends to keep my emotions in check when I need to but on a regular basis, I’m a “F” bomb thrower and will do a quick solo tirade to express my displeasure before I gather my senses. I just like to get it out and then move on. So when it’s your turn to have those stressful conversations, use these techniques to get you through it.
I’m doing a campaign training in Boston and one of the challenges that Asian Americans face on the regular is the dreaded question, “Where are you from?” – “No, where are you really from?” which just means that the people who ask that question don’t really think that I’m American after all. My head starts to swivel back and forth and I get a little PG (Prince George’s) on them but I try to remember that my momma taught me right and respond in a polite fashion, instead of reverting into my high school persona of the Ice Queen. This recent HuffPo article by Mason Hsieh may teach people a more appropriate way to phrase the question as well as what does it really mean to those of us who encounter the question ALL. THE. TIME.
If you’re having a bad start to the week, buzzfeed is here to the rescue! Puppies, dogs, kittens, even a baby kangaroo (for the record, a joey) so if you need to take a few deep breaths while you’re stuck on a barrage of conference calls (really, not me!), you may find some happy thoughts to get you through the day!