Monthly Archives: March 2015

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v13

Photo credit via

Today’s the END. OF. THE. QUARTER!!! Can you tell that I’m super excited? It can be stressful to be in full on collection agent mode but I also have a client who is also very generous in giving so I get to spread some joy to my colleagues with their clients when I let them know that I’m dropping off checks! So it’s a nice mix of giving and receiving. The end of quarter is kinda like Christmas, Lunar New Year, Birthday, and any and all celebratory events rolled into one. Plus it’s a congressional recess so that means a little bit of down time.

chris manjiri


A little background on the above selfie: I met up with 2 of my former staffers for drinks last week and it was a nice little reunion. These crazy kids worked at different times in my office. Chris was with me in 2007 before I kicked him out of the “nest” and encouraged him to work at the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver. Consequently, he worked for the CEO of the Convention and later worked for the SBA Administrator. At the same time, Manjiri graduated from college and I served as one of her references for the Denver Host Committee working for the CFO. Knowing that I had 2 former staffers in Denver, I suggested – OK – I mandated that they needed to meet one another. As a result, they became fast friends. I imagine that when we’re all getting on in years that they will be the #goldengirls even though Manjiri is happily married (both Chris and I were guests at her wedding) and I will need to step in to be the boss, Sophia ūüôā

I share this story because I like to connect my networks when I see it appropriate.¬†As a result, I always try to keep in touch with my former staff, volunteers I’ve worked with on different campaigns, donors that I meet in my job and making personal connections so that I can introduce people. The rule in my office is that if you have ever worked for me then you are obligated to meet anyone I ask you to meet with because politics is about giving and receiving. The altruistic version is that you’re helping people and the more “politicized” version is that people will owe you a chit. I operate in the middle – I do want to help those who have proven themselves and are eager to make a difference for more than just themselves but I also remember who I’ve helped because one day, I may need help from them. It goes both ways because if you’re in the position to where you need to ask for help, remember that you may be asked to do something in the future. That’s also why when you’re seeking help, looking for ways you can help someone indicates that you value that person’s assistance.¬†Giving and receiving. The political circle of life.

Let’s get on with Tuesday Truths!

  • Career coaches giving their best tips on advancing your career – get it here!
  • Ever heard of Seth Godin? He’s a renown entrepreneur who has written 18 best selling books with more than 20 years of experience. If you’re going to take advice from anyone on leadership and direct marketing, it should be him.
  • Calling all future #ladyboss titleholders – looking for female mentors can be challenging but once you find someone who works with your goals, be sure to use these guidelines to help you stay on track. Also, remember them when you’ve taken on that future role.
  • I always liken politics to being in high school. I work in the call room where various Members of Congress do fundraising call time. They’re particular in where they like to sit (near the air conditioning, near a window etc..) and it reminds me of when you’re in the cafeteria sitting with the cool kids, nerds or the athletes. It pretty much is the same everywhere in politics – Members and their official offices in the House or Senate office buildings or the press room in the White House.
  • Working in politics, you see more than your fair share of losses and wins. You go on to fight another day and sometimes, you feel a little less idealistic but you keep going because you know that altruism motivates you. If you ever need a reminder, here’s 10 selfless ways to build good karma. You can be tough but you can also be kind.

Thanks for reading/sharing! If you find the post helpful, I hope you’ll consider subscribing!

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v12

Photo credit via

Thanks to all of the readers who did the survey from a couple of weeks ago! It was great to get your feedback and I’ll take your recommendations into account for writing future posts!

My current situation is that I’m in full on BGM (BUSY. GETTING. MONEY.) mode with the end of the quarter so #showmethemoney ūüôā

Over the weekend, I did manage to spend a few hours with a dear friend who I’ve been fortunate to know for half of my life and it got me to thinking about when she and I would get together in college and dream of the future. I would probably tell my younger self to chill out and be slightly amazed that I accomplished my ever evolving list of goals. Why? Because I never had a plan but I did have a driving sense of ambition. Although my list of goals have changed, my curiosity continues to compel me along a path that is outside of my comfort zone and to challenge myself. There is occasion when I think about how my life would be different if I made different decisions but as I told another friend over the weekend, life is about living without regret and with the life that you’ve chosen. You can always change course or realize that you want to do something else. I had a quarter life crisis and went into a completely different industry because I thought it would be an opportunity to explore a different interest and realized that I was really a lot happier doing politics. People may¬†judge your decisions but you’re the only person who has to live with your decisions. We make mistakes and learn from them so that we can not repeat them. Self reflection helps to shape the person that you’re meant to be. My younger self is certainly different than my current reality. I no longer have the same type of ambition that I had in my younger days and there’s only a certain amount of BS that I’m willing to take to do my job. I sometimes post articles about how comparing your story to someone’s can lead to negative results. Basing life changing decisions on what others may think can tilt your internal compass and at the end of the day, no one else is living your life but you. For the most part, I live¬†without¬†#FOMO¬†because at this stage of the game, I give zero F*CKS. I know myself well enough when I’ve reached my limits. I know how to prepare so that I can be the best version of myself when necessary. This affects my decisions about getting exercise, taking clients, and recharging. I’m all for self improvement but also knowing how to maximize your energy to get to your goals in a way that works best for you is going to make the journey less bumpy.

So if you’re starting out, #hustle the game as much as you can so that it works for you and know that when you next talk to a dear friend who you’ve known for half of your lifetime that you’re going to wonder where did the time go and it’s highly likely that you’re more than going to be OK ūüôā

Now onto Tuesday Truths!

  • Looking for ways that you can get ahead within your organization? Here’s 7 ways!
  • Here’s a commentary from Amy Errett, CEO and co-founder of Madison Reed in Silicon Valley on how to be a successful leader.
  • I recently met someone at a party who had a great way of introducing himself to strangers¬†at the party. It wasn’t really what he said but the way he was able to connect with people from different backgrounds and experiences to strike up a conversation. Here’s an article that takes you through the steps but I’ve come to realize that it’s really about active listening and giving people the opportunity to talk about themselves. You’ll be talking to every stranger at the next networking event!

Thanks for reading/sharing!

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v11

Photo credit via

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Hoping you’re wearing green so that you don’t get pinched (do you remember doing that as a kid or is that just something out of my own crazy childhood??). We’re changing things up a bit with an opinion piece but we still got Tuesday Truths!

Last week I was a panelist as well as the moderator for a Women’s Information Network (WIN) panel on Bridging the Generation Gap at the Workplace between Boomers, Generation X (my generation) and Millennials. It was a great interaction and we certainly created dialogue and prompted questions not only about generational uniqueness but also the layered nuances that each of us have experienced as women and to our individual experiences as women of color or as a member of the LGBT community. Intersectionality is something that we can’t ignore as all generations converge in the workplace.

With a less homogenous professional environment, we’re all navigating how to best move forward with our companies’ missions while handling office politics and a variety of personalities. How does anyone get anything accomplished? My associates are either getting younger or I’m just getting older ūüėČ In all seriousness, every cycle I tend to work with people who are recent college graduates and I always tell people that I’m not the perfect boss. However, I strive to create an environment where people feel that they are valued for their work.

Politics can be fast paced and expectations need to be set from the beginning. My office’s official hours are from 10am-6pm. Since it’s somewhat casual being that my house is also my office, I don’t really want anyone to have to stay past 6pm and with such a late start time (I remember working in campaign season when I had to report in at 7:30am), there really is no reason to why anyone should be late. I’m such a stickler with being on time (my definition of being on time is 15 minutes before the start time) that if you start off late with me, you’re going to get major attitude. Knowing what your manager considers important that may not be important to you, is key to making your own life easier. I say this from the get-go. You should be beating me to events and there are going to be times when you’ll beat me to the office because I’m doing things outside of the office that informs our work. If it’s the height of fundraising and we’re doing west coast events, we’re working later because we deal with the time difference and then we may have east coast events the next day where we need to be at the site by 7:30am. It can all be a blur but I recognize that everyone puts in a lot of hours and once the quarter starts anew, I want my team to feel refreshed – take a few hours off, blow off some steam and lets get back to work. I try to take my team to lunch once a week so that we all get a chance to ask questions of one another that is outside of the work setting. It’s a good way for people to socialize and to get to know one another better. I talk more about what we’re doing and why. A lot of my former staff enjoyed the lunches for the food alone but it was also a forum for them to ask questions and to learn. It also better informs me of what my team maybe facing if I’m too busy during the week to take notice of any problems. I’m not here to make friends but I’m here to empower you to have a better job performance. I liken it to being a coach. From the beginning, there’s always an understanding that staff will not be working for me long because it’s a shared goal to get you to the next place. A lot of jobs don’t have that understanding because they’re bigger and built to engage individuals to fulfill a particular function. When I worked on presidential campaigns, there wasn’t an employee manual. My role was to get my voter contact numbers in and move the needle forward. We’re not too concerned about the touchy feely aspects of managing. There were no such things as job performance reviews or a real HR department. So when it’s time to transition to a work place where those things do exist, it can be awkward.

Expectations are how partnerships are formed and team work product is evaluated. I will readily admit to when I screw up to my staff. They expect me to give them clear instructions and when I don’t, it shows in their work. Procedures and processes are very clear cut (we have memos and outlines on just about everything) so when we don’t¬†follow them, we have created situations that will cause problems. I ask what’s not working and why. If there has been a fundamental change (a client has asked for a new procedure etc), we adapt and change the memos to reflect that so that we’re all on the same page. If you as a staffer can help create more efficient processes, your value has increased in my book. Less time working on getting something done with the same quality of work is a good thing. All that being said, I’m working in a profession that allows for a lot of flexibility. Those individuals who are at a different economic status may be working hourly positions and that is a different environment in terms of negotiating and expectations. There is no one size fits all. It gets tricky when women are advocating on behalf of women when the constituency in itself doesn’t fit into the same mold either. I respect Sheryl Sandberg’s efforts because it brings a necessary conversation but we also need to engage those individuals who don’t have the same kind of flexibility. The New Republic highlights that in the article about #leanintogether.

You see that I haven’t really talked yet about intersectionality even though it’s a topic that is just underneath it all. Generational uniqueness in communicating with one another is a challenge all into itself and then layer anything else on top of that and you have quite a pickle. How do we have better conversations so that our generational uniqueness allows us to evolve and better understand one another? Is it possible to educate? As a person of color, I grew up with an Asian mother and a Caucasian father in a predominantly African American neighborhood but I would have to remind myself that I was Asian American by looking in the mirror. Why? Because I really didn’t take notice of race and in that I had to learn about challenges and discrimination through the experiences of my friends and colleagues. I didn’t have real first hand knowledge and that is an example of the privilege that I grew up with in my life. As a result, I try to inform myself by talking with others in my community of their experiences and learn about micro aggressions/prejudices that are common. Just like we can’t pigeonhole generations, every constituency has had varying degrees of prejudice within their own constituency. This topic is never going to be comfortable but the more it’s discussed in a safe environment without judgement and fosters steps for improvement, it helps all of us to evolve.

I was asked earlier about an article that I shared about how allies can best help in this cause so I’m sharing it here and I also wanted to share a post where it helps to outline a way to which a dialogue can get started that may be a good jumping point for your own workplace. Got comments/questions – drop them in the comments section!!


Now for Tuesday Truths!

  • Even as I try to provide a resource for those who are less experienced, I also strive to provoke thought to my peers. Here’s a good one as we start to reach a point in our lives when we begin to think about life after work: retirement! In my personal definition, it means that I will still take an active part in politics and be happy to watch from the sidelines, but it also includes time to explore new adventures and interests.
  • If you’re just starting out in your career and want a little direction so that you’re going down a strategic path, you may want to check out these steps¬†and advice from leaders who want to share their experiences.¬†If you’re already on your path but need help to focus or you’re feeling stagnant in your current position, these same steps can help you as well. All great advice to having a better experience in your career.
  • It doesn’t come as a surprise that I’m a huge advocate for training. I spent part of my weekend training the DC chapter of the New Leaders Council on fundraising. Having started my political career in the Training Department of the DNC, it really has affected my perspective on how training helps to engage our constituencies. A former DNC colleague of mine, Joe Fuld makes an excellent point about the future of the progressive movement and training in a recent blog post. Check it out!

Thanks for reading/sharing and if you have comments, drop them in the comments section!

— Madalene




Readers Survey

Photo via

Hello Fantastic Arum Group Readers!

So just like the featured photo for this post, I’m taking a quick temperature of what you’re enjoying and what you want to see more of in the blog topics. This will help me as I build out more editorial content and become a resource for what you think is important.

It’s only 4 questions¬†and its completely anonymous (unless you want to give me your name in the comments section!).

Thank you for reading/sharing!

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v10

Congress is out of session on a district work period and that gives me time to get my act together for the myriad of events that are scheduled for the last 2 weeks before the QTR ends. So let’s get to reading!

  • I could have used a lot of these samples earlier in life and it certainly contains a lot of useful tips to help with a variety of office protocols. Oftentimes, I start my emails with what I want to accomplish. Then I revise the raw version so that it’s more polished and reflects a balance of personalization and emotion.
  • What is the definition of a “badass”? I think there are quite a few women who fit this definition and we should applaud them for paving the way. What do you need to do if you want join the ranks?
  • A few weeks ago, I saw the movie: Kingsman and it only cemented the fact that a man in a well tailored suit can bring serious game to any profession. So here are a¬†few ideas on wearing suits, guys.
  • Are you the Boss? Are you planning on being the Boss but haven’t gotten there yet? Here are a few tips to remember when you get to achieve that title so that everyone wants to work for you.
  • What happens if you join an office and make no work friends? Sometimes it’s difficult to find a rhythm in an office culture. I always find that campaign life is an accelerated version of life where people are thrust into situations where they work so intimately with one another, you find out who are your friends rather quickly.
  • Ever have a moment where you envy someone else’s success? Here are ways you can overcome the green eyed monster so that your focus is to be the best version of yourself, without any comparisons. We each have to live our own stories and other people’s success can be a great motivator but don’t let it sabotage your journey.

Got a tip you want to share? Drop it like it’s hot in the comments section – we want to share your success story!

Thanks for reading/sharing and if you have found this post helpful, subscribe!

— Madalene



Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v9

Photo credit via

March is roaring like a lion and will probably go out like that with the end of the quarter (at least, I hope so!). Gotta get that cash money ūüôā The last two weeks of the month will especially be challenging with numerous back-to-back fundraisers so the Tuesday Truths may be a tad abbreviated but it will still be fierce!

Let’s get to reading!

  • After several months of doing an e-mentoring program, I’m thisclose to actually meeting my mentee face-to-face this week. We live in different cities and have crazy work schedules but it will all be worth the time to meet in person. As I was reading this article about the 5 types of mentors you need, I started to ask myself, which one fits my style. I realized that I take on a different style dependent on who I’m mentoring but in most cases, I’m a Coach and a Connector. What kind of style do you need in your repertoire?
  • I’ve always believed that the more I made my boss’ life easier, it would result in a better work environment. As a consultant, I know that I need to be prepared with all the possibilities aka solutions that will help my clients attain their goal(s). Here are 2 unusual ways to impress your boss so that you can get ahead.
  • Everyone talks about personal branding and how it affects your future, but oftentimes we don’t know how to craft that image. It’s such an internal process and it’s HARD to make yourself stop and think about how you want to be perceived. You might have a sense of what that looks like but it’s challenging to articulate. It requires honesty and a true assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. You can also take a few cues here.
  • I gotta give it up for my Latino colleagues as they navigate the evolving political environment. They’re¬†hustling to get the respect that they deserve and 2020 is going to be a year when communities of color can once again stand and be counted. Check out the article from NBC on the Latino Victory Project.
  • When Patricia Arquette won her Academy award and talked about equal pay, a lot of the progressive community were supportive of her talking about the issue to a mainstream audience. The post awards show comments made by Ms. Arquette brought a firestorm from a great deal of underrepresented constituencies. As a woman of color who was raised by a Caucasian father and an Asian American mother, my lens is a slightly different perspective. I try to check my own attitudes to see what my Asian American colleagues/friends are saying so that I can better educate myself to situations where¬†I don’t have¬†experience. In that circumstance, I think when allies are showing support, it’s good to understand how to best provide that kind of support.
  • Who doesn’t want more self confidence? Everyone has ways to pump themselves up. I’m usually in high heels and most people think of me as taller than my actual height because they’re so used to seeing me a certain height so when I sprained my ankle a few years ago and had to wear flats, everyone was taken aback that they were looking *down* and not eye level. My wardrobe is my armor and it gets me in a mental space so that I can be the hostess with the mostess when I do my fundraisers. People expect me to be engaging and warm so my wardrobe gets me ready to tackle the day (I’m more an introvert than an extrovert so talking with people really requires me to conserve energy when I most need it). Here are 5 researched ways to improve your self confidence. Tell us what you do in the comments section!
  • There was a time when a few friends were unhappy with their job situations. Even I have gone through it myself. I hate to complain and when it takes a portion of my time with my friends because those complaints are sucking all the life out of you, then there really needs to be a change. So what do you do if you’re unhappy with work? Life’s too short to be spending that kind of energy.

Thanks for reading/sharing. If you think this has been worthwhile, please consider subscribing!

— Madalene