Monthly Archives: May 2015

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v21

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.

Authenticity and sincerity are the keys to making people aware of your accomplishments as well as your weaknesses. So even though we discussed humble bragging in last week’s post, there seems to be a scientific way to talk about yourself that highlights your strengths. Interesting article, indeed!

3 life lessons that can help you become a better leader. I’m still working on getting better on each aspect. Everyday I remind myself that each small step moving forward is still progress.

A really great post on the types of people that can help you as you build your career. It seems so elementary but yet so very true to maintaining a network. It’s especially important if you’re considering ever running for an elected office.

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.

Thanks for reading/sharing and if you haven’t subscribed, please sign up!

— Madalene



Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v20

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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.

  • 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?

Thanks for reading/sharing – please feel free to subscribe if this has been helpful!

— Madalene


Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v19

it will be worth it in the end

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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!

— Madalene


Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v18

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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.

The Library of Congress has a great section to honor the achievements of the AAPI community.

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!