Monthly Archives: February 2015

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

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

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