Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v8

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We’re in full swing! Congress has returned from their district work period and I’ve got multiple fundraisers on the same day. #politicscanbefun

This week, I’m a Sponsor for the Women’s Information Network’s (WIN) Young Women of Achievement awards. I’m honored to be an Advisory Board member as well as a past member of the organization so if you would like to see your support well invested in helping young pro-choice professional women succeed then please consider contributing to this great group! I appreciate them for all of their support of my work (thanks for reading/sharing) and know that the future is bright with these women evolving into true leaders.

Let’s get to reading!

  • NYFW concluded last week and they’ve got a few suggestions for work attire. If you’ve got the budget, here are 4 suggestions that can up your office wardrobe.
  • These qualities are definitely what I’m looking for when I’m in need of an associate or an intern and I hope that I exhibited this kind of behavior when I worked for my previous employers. A great standard when thinking about how you become an invaluable resource to the team.
  • As a bonafide Gen Xer, I’m always looking for ways to communicate with the Boomers and the Millennials. As the workforce continues to evolve, everyone needs to find ways to effectively express the values and vision of their organization. We’re not so different after all.
  • For those individuals who wonder if the only route to becoming a Hill staffer is to intern, here’s some solid advice whether you can skip that step.
  • I’ve experienced burnout (when I was 25, I took time off from politics to run my own catering company and work at a James Beard winning restaurant as a manager) so I know the feeling of waking up in the morning and realizing that you don’t want to go to work. I also remember the elation I felt when I worked at another job, waking up so early because I was so excited to get to work. BIG DIFFERENCE. Here how’s to tell the difference between being in a rut and feeling burned out so that you can decode work stress.

Thanks for reading/sharing! Don’t forget to subscribe and leave me your comments!

– Madalene


Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v7

mardi gras sign

Happy Mardi Gras! If I was still in school at Tulane, I’d have today off. Instead, I’m in a congressional recess and a deep freeze so obviously, I planned incorrectly when it came to my travel schedule because it makes total sense that I should have made a trip to California for one of my clients. #poorplanning (addendum: It’s an official snow day in DC so I’m still working in my office but OPM closed the government due to the weather conditions so it’s kinda like I’m in NOLA but definitely NOT REALLY)

So instead, I’ll keep warm reading for the rest of the week!

  • I’m accustomed to doing regular check-ins with my staff, whether they be my associate or my interns. My office isn’t structured at all (my office is in my house so there’s no corporate feel, we tend to sit around my conference table aka my dining room, people can listen to my phone conversations unless I step out to another part of the house) but we have a chain of command and we have set procedures for almost everything we do. When giving feedback, it’s good to be direct but also personal so that the staff recognizes that you as the supervisor acknowledges that you are helping them improve. This kind of feedback is helpful to everyone, even if you think it’s time consuming. Sometimes you get trapped in the feeling that it’s better to do an assignment yourself than take the time to train the staff or to help them improve. Yes, it would be faster but taking the time means that you’re also learning the skill of teaching your staff so it’s a win-win. So when you find yourself short on time, use these tips to giving feedback.
  • When Jon Stewart decided that he would end his run from the Daily Show, I think there was a collective outcry (at least on my Twitter & Facebook feeds). He brought a wicked sense of humor to the news and cultural topics, but its his work style that really demonstrates his leadership skills.
  • I often am asked how I stay organized and I really don’t have a simple answer. I use Outlook calendar, a notebook, sticky notes, excel and myriad of other resources. For some reason, I manage to keep it altogether, however my fear is that I’m going to miss an event that I forgot to put on my calendar (hello anniversary!). I would like to be more efficient to give myself more ease of mind so I might try this system called Bullet Journaling and see if it gets me more organized.
  • Do you have self doubt or feel that negative thoughts dominant your thought process? It’s normal to question yourself but if you feel that self doubt is creeping this info graphic can give you techniques to combat them. YOU GOT THIS!
  • Did you know that it takes only seconds for a stranger to “assess” you in a first impression?  That includes potential employers and networking prospects. They say that there’s a science to it but I’m not sure if it’s pre-conceived notions that bring on these assessments. What do you think?
  • Which leads me to share how People are unconsciously sexist about how Women look at Work – dark colors and more masculine cuts are seen as more aggressive and forceful – qualities that are not seen as positive ones for women. My take is to wear what brings out the best in you because I aways like to say that confidence is the best accessory.
  • What does it mean to be female and young in Congress? Former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman shares her experiences and it translates well to females who are in leadership roles. From an early age, I was usually the youngest person in the room (I skipped a grade in elementary school) so I was accustomed to being young and doing things early. It also meant that I had to be more prepared so that people would take me seriously. Anything else you would add to the list?

Thanks for reading/sharing and don’t forget to subscribe!

— Madalene

too legit to quit

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v6

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Over the weekend, I did a training for the Virginia Leadership Institute, a 501 c(3) dedicated to encouraging more African Americans to run for elected office. It was a great turnout and I really appreciate my colleagues giving their time and expertise. I love me some training! If you’re interested in getting a training organized, drop me a line or if you want to check out the training schedule for the progressive community, look into Democratic GAIN‘s calendar.

Let’s get to Tuesday Truths!

  • The start of the speculation for Election2016 has been well underway but here are some thoughts on the VP pick and what it might mean to the make up of the US Senate. It’s certainly a combination of Game of Thrones, chess & House of Cards. #politicscanbefun
  • The sexy thing to talk about in politics is the Presidential race – sure, I get it but what is REALLY sexy is the census! YES, I’m talking about a process that will happen in 5 more years (a LIFETIME) in the time warp that is politics. The census can help Democrats with redistricting and the incumbency protection program that has held the US House in place. Agree/disagree?
  • You have no idea how much I love thank you notes! To send them and of course, to receive them! I often wonder if college students are taught this exercise and with a very casual survey of my own interns, I’ve learned that the business school students are taught this very important lesson: relationships matter! No matter how casual the meeting, if you take anyone’s time, an email thank you is the LEAST that you can do and the handwritten note is certainly the way to go. You never know if that might be the reason why someone does a little more than they need to when it comes to helping you.
  • Working in politics and public policy/service, you would think that it would translate to living a meaningful life. This isn’t always the case and there are times when burnout (me included) can make you question your place in the world. I, certainly didn’t have a career path. I knew that I wanted to work in politics but I didn’t really have a plan. Fast forward 20 years and I’m an established consultant (where did the time go?). Along the way, I did have to constantly reassess my professional priorities and balance that with living life (gotta pay those bills!). So if you’re in need of a roadmap to building a meaningful career, you may want to review this article to ask yourselves some important questions.

That’s a wrap! Thanks for reading/sharing and don’t forget to subscribe! Drop me your comments below!

— Madalene

success do it again

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v5

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I’m looking forward to this Saturday when I get to train a magnificent group of people for one of my clients, the Virginia Leadership Institute. They’re a c(3) dedicated to encouraging more African Americans to run for elected office. As much as I *like* fundraising, I really love training. I enjoy seeing people grow into being candidates and watching them succeed. I hope by reading these articles, they also get a chance to become more aware of how they can be present for their constituents, staff and peers.

  • When I first saw this article, I noticed that the feedback in the comments section were more negative than positive and since I had yet to read the article, I didn’t know the author’s response to “Ask the Experts: My Assistant Makes My Life Harder“. My take was the same as the author’s while those who disagreed were inclined to have the assistant fired. What say you?
  • So we haven’t talked up networking in awhile. I know, it’s a love/hate topic – a muscle that we hate to exercise but have to so that we can stay employed – networking > unemployment. Here are some great ways to get into the groove or stay there. Any of these give you an “AHA” moment?
  • I work in politics so it would be expected that I understand office politics, right? It goes without saying that you will be left behind should you decide to not recognize the players in your own office situation. As a consultant, I work with a variety of clients who have their own quirks so understanding how decisions are made, how to be prepared to get positive results so that questions fall in my favor are really a matter of recognizing how things operate in those offices aka office politics. Who are the players? Who makes the decisions? Who outside the principal needs buy in so that there are allies to my vision? You may not like it but it exists in varying degrees everywhere. The faster you acclimate, the more you become a part of moving your ideas forward.
  • Need more credibility in your work life? Here are 18 ways where you can find it from within and trust me, it takes longer to gain trust then it is to lose it. Consistent positive actions goes a long way!
  • I don’t have performance reviews – YAY to having a life as a consultant, but I do have an informal version of it when I work with my staff. Here are a few tips for managers on how to tackle them as well as for those who are looking to make sure that they also benefit when sitting down with supervisors.

Thanks for reading/sharing and share any tips on the topics that have been posted!

— Madalene



staying stuck

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v4

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Winter is barreling ahead full steam so we’re bracing for some crazy snowfall up and down the mid-Atlantic so I hope everyone on the east coast is staying safe and keeping warm. It might be a good time to get in some Tuesday Truths!

  • Regardless of what level of seniority you’ve obtained, you’ll always looking to improve. That might mean taking on more responsibility so that you can get to the next level, or wanting a promotion because you’re feeling professionally stagnant from mastering your current position. As a result, there will be skills that you will need to learn. Undoubtedly, you’ll encounter moments where you will have no clue how to do something. No one wants to feel like an “impostor” but you want to appear like a competent person as you maneuver through this experience. Here are some tips on how to best fake it til you make it so that you can continue to show confidence while learning along the way.
  • My colleagues and I are always on the lookout for talent and for individuals who exhibit qualities of future leaders. How can you show that you’re a leader if you’re a staff assistant or have no management skills? One quality that I look for is when someone helps others, not just to those who are their managers but also to those who have less experience. If you don’t manage the interns, but interact with them, how do you help them succeed? Your actions, as well as attitude determines whether people can see your leadership abilities and potential so take advantage of doing more than what is your scope of work.
  • Which leads me to when you have to manage someone who you may not particularly like. There are going to be times when a you have a member of your team who you may not have hired, but you have to manage. I tend to get along with everyone as I try to respect everyone’s roles. As long as you respect my role, I can respect yours. That includes understanding my position within the hierarchy of the management infrastructure as well as my history with the principal(s). I may look like I’m in my early 30’s but I have experience that exhibits itself by my actions. Whenever there’s a team member who rubs me the wrong way, I try to remember that as a manager, I’m above the drama and it’s my goal to have the team work as efficiently as possible by tapping into the strengths of the individuals and helping them with their weaknesses. If you’re the person rubbing people the wrong way, you don’t have to please everyone and personality doesn’t necessary fit into a neat box but you should recognize that some traits can be improved upon with a bit of polish and a boost of confidence. It’s really a relationship of all three articles.
  • I am a total believer about making your own luck. Does that make me a hippie dippy/glass half full/unicorn chasing rainbows kind of gal? Perhaps but I also try to pair that attitude with a high dose of pragmatic reality. I’ve had my share of disappointment but I don’t think I was ever really disillusioned. It’s about setting a mentality that allows for failure (yes, failure because we’re not perfect) while looking towards achieving attainable measures of success.
  • Since a lot of my clients happen to be men (OK all of them are men), I recognize that as a woman, I’m giving counsel to people who trust me for my political acumen. Fortunately, I’m not the only female to provide expertise on these teams so it helps to have a welcome environment to express opinions. I’m an only child so growing up I always had my family’s attention and with an AAPI mother, I was taught to have a more AAPI attitude towards deference to my elders (if there’s ever a hierarchy, it certainly dwells in an AAPI family) so talking back was certainly a no-no. I didn’t find my voice with my family until much later in life but I always had my voice for those people outside. I’ve enjoyed reading how we can nurture our younger females so that they don’t ever lose their voice. Which also leads me to how adult women can get their male colleagues to stop “mansplaining”. I have an Irish American husband who is the oldest of 5 and when I’m at his family’s house, I have to take a break because I’m not accustomed to having such a boisterous family lovingly talk over one another – a managed chaos that comes with family habits but not one suitable to business meetings when someone (gender neural at times) hijacks an idea or interrupts you when you’re speaking. This is assuming that you’re expressing yourself with authority and doing it in a manner that demands attention. I speak at meetings only when I feel like I’m adding to the conversation. This may or may not work for you. If I feel that my assessment or summary is worthy of discussion, I don’t hesitate to initiate it when appropriate. People have noted my style as to be calm and deliberative so that when I speak, people listen. When I’m talking and someone decides to talk over me, I speak louder because I don’t allow the person to be a distraction. I work with people who have been in politics for a long time and as such, we have worked on multiple campaigns together and provide mutual respect. So don’t hesitate to demand that respect by how you present yourselves and SHUT IT DOWN when someone thinks that they can.
  • Have you ever thought about taking a life audit? I’ve done it informally throughout my career so I could assess if I was creating a life that I wanted to live and love. I have felt, at times that I wasn’t living up to my potential and made choices accordingly. One of the reasons why I started my consulting business was because I wanted to be my own boss. It’s times like these when I have had my best periods of self discovery. Although challenging, this personal journey can make a difference in how you view your life. I’ll share my results if you share yours!

Hope everyone is staying safe on the east coast! Thanks for reading/sharing and let me know your comments!

— Madalene



Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v3

Photo credit: Martin Luther King, Jr. quote

This week has a lot of fun things ahead and that makes my work that much more interesting. Hope you’re having a great week!

  • If you haven’t heard, ABC will be premiering Fresh off the Boat on Feb 10th and I was fortunate enough to be invited to a special screening at the Newseum. The AAPI community is nowhere near parity in seeing talent that look like ourselves but we’re making strides. It helps to have a strong grassroots community to show their support. Here are a few AAPI bloggers who certainly help the cause. To read more about Eddie Huang, the inspiration for Fresh off the Boat, read his interview about his experience of turning his life into a tv show – both poignant and hilarious.
  • From Silicon Valley to sports to recruiting local candidates, these African American leaders are taking the lead. I look forward to seeing more of their work!
  • I went through a quarter life crisis in my mid 20s and as I face my 40’s, I’m experiencing a change in my own career that isn’t quite as linear. So if you’re in your mid 30s, meet Sharon Chang, the former Chief Creative officer for 19 Entertainment (the company behind American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance) who decided that she wanted to leave that position and make a career change. If anything, experience that comes with age makes you more self aware. So if you’re feeling like you’re getting stagnant, it’s a good read to self reflect.
  • This article was written for millennials to teach them how to manage talking on the telephone but I was more intrigued about the info graphic on how to handle the calls itself (basically how to sound natural, the best time to make the calls etc). It’s a great tool for those of us who hate being on the phone (that would be me) and for those who need to be on the phone to do fundraising call time (political candidates!).
  • As a political consultant, I spend an enormous amount of time helping clients with strategy. Some of my clients have been clients for a long time so I know how to work with their personalities to reach a shared view. Here are a few tips to how you can “disagree” with your manager and get back to working towards the same goal.
  • A few months ago I was asked to do a branding presentation for one of the Capitol Hill staff associations. It is such a challenging presentation because so much of it is self reflection and requires the individual to really take the time to assess their own goals. Here’s a great step by step process that can help during that self reflection.

Thanks for reading/sharing and if you find the posts helpful, feel free to subscribe!

— Madalene



Girl You Be Killin Them

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v2

We continue to see gloomy weather in DC and I think we’re still reeling from the announcement that Senator Boxer will not be running for re-election this cycle (coincidence?). I hope you’re having a good start to the work week wherever you’re situated!

  • The US Senate has always been considered an exclusive club. Can you believe that there have only been 44 women who have ever served? 44 – EVER in the history of the US Senate. With the recent announcement from Senator Boxer that she would not seek re-election to his Senate seat, is this a chance for another woman to take a place in HERstory? Reading this recent Politico article about the women who have served in this elected body was quite fascinating and I thank all of them for all of their work in making the Senate a more equal institution. We still have a long way to go but these women have certainly paved the way.
  • Most of you know that I advocate mentoring/championing those who are less experienced. As a woman of color, I especially believe that we need to support one another and teach those who would benefit from our experiences. Finding mentors within our communities shouldn’t be challenging yet this article shows that it can be quite a hurdle.
  • Although I’m no longer a young professional, I could heed some of these time management tips myself!

Thanks fore reading/sharing! If you don’t want to miss a post, remember to subscribe!

— Madalene


goal digger

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v1

goal digger

Photo credit: Goal Digger

Aiiiggghhhttt – time to hit it! I hope you had a cracking time during the holiday season but it’s time to put down the eggnog and get to business. I’m in the process of getting a new project started that should be announced shortly so I got a deadline to keep myself. In the meantime, get to reading those Tuesday Truths!

  • So I tell everyone who wants to be a campaign consultant, get working on some campaigns (outside of DC, of course!) because the camaraderie you share on those campaigns can forge life long friendships and business opportunities. There was a time in my life where I thought I would never date a colleague because I would just leave my work at work (well, was I ever wrong!). Now, making friends on the job is certainly different than dating, and having colleagues who have your back is like having a few extra aces up your sleeve.
  • Today is the start of the 114th Congress with newly elected members being sworn into office. This Congress is the most diverse EVER (yay!) which comprises of nearly 20% women and a little over 17% non-white.  So let’s do a little basic math = this means that the Congress is still comprised of 80% of men whereas the population is more than 50% female and white non-Hispanics comprise of 63% of the population. Nowhere near a true reflection of the population in representation. How can we take steps to have a more representative Congress in the future?
  • So happiness can produce success – ways that you can bring more happiness to your life. I like this strategy and it continues my way to #livinahappylife

Hit me up on the comments section and let me know how your 2015 goals are coming along!

Thanks for reading/sharing and don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already!

— Madalene



Tuesday Truths

time to drink champagne

Photo credit: Time to Drink Champagne but probably not dance on the table if you’re at your office holiday party :)

I’m officially taking a holiday from work so if you’re doing the same, I hope you’re enjoying yourselves and if not, I hope this post is helping you get through the work day!

It’s the end of the year so that usually means resolutions and an even more determined effort to get it together for the start of the new year. My new year’s resolution (almost every year!) is to have more fun! Everyone tells me how much I work but to be perfectly honest, I think of work as fun (yeah yeah – there are definitely times when I get frustrated and want to do bodily harm but MOST of the time, I’m feelin’ pretty good with where I am in the world). Remember you’re only competing with yourself so don’t compare someone else’s story to yours. We ALL come with our own baggage and that means we also have different paths to reach our definition of success. I’m always open to improvement!

So get to reading!

  • So in that vein, I read an article about Career Choices – granted, people may not have a lot of options when it comes to making career choices. You may have been “Funemployed” for longer than you anticipated so taking a job out of necessity may be a priority because we all got bills, bills, bills but if you could decide how to move ahead in career without much consequence, these choices make a whole lotta sense!
  • There are sooooo many lists of things that successful people do everyday – really??? I would get confused making sure that I was doing everything but this list makes so much sense and it’s totally do-able. Remember success is personally defined! My biggest problem is actually the “stop planning and just do it” – Perfect is the enemy of the good :)
  • I like to think that I’m a good wing woman for my single female friends when we’re out and about but you should consider being a career wing”person”. So take a look around your office dynamic and see who’s got your back. They may be helping you more than you know!
  • My fellow #APIAs what do you think about why we excel in academics? I skipped a grade when I was younger, probably due to the fact that my mom used the summers to help me increase my math and reading skills. I usually hated those breaks because while the other kids were out playing and having fun, I was doing math problems but hey, I loved being the youngest person in all of my classes ;) I may or may not have been the snotting kid in class #justsayin’
  • Why mindfulness may help you achieve your goals – living in the present may help that attention deficit.

Enjoy the holidays! If you liked the post, feel free to share and subscribe! Thanks for reading! See you in 2015!

— Madalene







Tuesday Truths


In the past few weeks since the election, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been doing informational interviews for those interested in getting into politics or at the very least, political fundraising. We’ve got a lot of people who have come off of losing campaigns, the Hill where their members of Congress lost their re-elections, and just overall job fatigue. So it got me to thinking about how we make New Year’s resolutions to improve our job skills or to take a fresh perspective on how to wrangle the time we spend at work. I’ve taken a step back from my own fundraising firm to brew up a little something different (still under wraps but soon to be revealed) so I totally get wanting to be challenged in the work front. So it’s just not the millennials who get a little antsy about job satisfaction!

In the meantime, let’s get to a short exercise and to reading!

I am

  • When I first saw this on Pinterest, I thought about how I would finish this sentence so here’s my first draft:

I am wickedly strategic in finding ways to expend my energy.

This was never going to be about a job title but more of a mantra. What say you? Drop me your I am ______ in the comments section!

  • In the vein of doing informational interviews, here’s a Millennial’s take on how to get the job you want. I’m also going to include that a majority of the points apply to those who don’t fall into that age category.
  • I’m a HUGE believer in knowing as much as possible about my prospects and knowing the pressure points for how to create rapport. How does that apply to when you have to charge your way through the masses to get a cover letter written to accompany your resume? Start thinking about it as a pain letter vs a cover letter.
  • I’ve been a mentor for a few years and I’ve always come into the relationship with the realization that I’m a reference point for those who are asking me questions. If you’re looking for a mentor, you should be looking to create this type of environment and mentors can also learn quite a few things from you too.
  • So you’ve got the job you want and now you gotta make an impression. Here are ways you can learn on the job so that you can get the job done!

Got any comments? Let me know!

Thanks for reading/sharing. Feel free to subscribe so that you don’t miss out on a post!

— Madalene