Monthly Archives: September 2015

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v39

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It is cray cray time – lots of events this week so if you catch me around town looking slightly crazed, I’m trying to remember where I’m supposed to be and therefore trying to remember where my clients are supposed to be too! Last week, I was really fortunate to attend the White House arrivals ceremony of Pope Francis and it was well worth getting up at 4am. If you ever get the chance to attend an arrivals ceremony, I hope you make arrangements to participate. Definitely a DC moment – to be perfectly honest, I was thinking about past movies that feature WH ceremonies or events that happen on the South Lawn, particularly the scene from X Men: Days of Future Past – check it out! When Hollywood goes completely wacky!

white house pope

On to Tuesday Truths!

  • When life gets this crazy, I get a little anxious and that’s when I know that I really need to go to the gym so that I can release some of that excess anxiety. It’s also the same when I get in a bad mood or feeling overwhelmed. So when your life is getting out of hand, step away from the crazy and take a breath. I’m a thinker – I think about all the different scenarios when I’m stressed and that usually means all the negative outcomes. After I’ve thought of all the possible things that could go wrong, I try to focus on the best outcome and prepare myself for the worst so that I’m not so frazzled. Life is too precious to let the crazy control me. I try to be a positive person and when I’m around negative people, I start wanting to butt heads with them and that’s not good for anyone either. I’m also a realist because as much as rose colored glasses can make a situation better, I also want to be pragmatic. Life is about moderation and I want to experience it as fully as possible on my terms. I recently watched Inside Out and thought my own core memories that have made me into the person that I am today. Every experience has been a learning one and I look forward to experiencing every aspect that it can offer.
  • If you look through my twitter feed, you will find that I follow lots of restaurants, chefs, politicos, my fellow Democratic/Republican operatives, and fashion folk. One of my associates gave me “The Devil Wears Prada” dvd as a gift (not really sure what they were trying to say there LOL) but Anna Wintour has a reputation for being quite decisive aka bitchy. I think I’m decisive once I have input. Let’s collaborate on ideas and feel out all the different ones to reach a decision. Women leaders who are deemed decisive don’t get the same level of respect of their male counterparts who carry the same attitude. Don’t shy away from knowing what you’re doing and empower those who work for you to do the same.
  • I’ve always talked about defining your own version of success and not comparing someone else’s journey with your own. Did I plan to be in this particular place when I started? No, but as I was going along I made decisions based on the current situation and tried to plan accordingly. Hustling is not part of my DNA so I had to learn to do it and do it well enough so that I could get clients. I believe in creating my own luck and one of the ways to do that is to imagine the life you want and make it happen. Is it better to work all the time so that you can have a more relaxed life later? That depends on how you want to do it. A door closes and a window opens. There’s no perfect clean way to do life – sometimes it gets messy and sometimes it can present itself with a pretty bow.
  • At the request of a friend/colleague, I recently met with a young woman who works at a large organization as a fundraiser. She hasn’t been at her position for very long (maybe 3 months) and she felt a little out of place. There was some resentment from the junior staffers of her hiring because they were passed on a promotion. She’s a mid level fundraiser so she has a supervisor while she also manages an assistant. We talked a great deal about making her own tribe. Sometimes it’s not with the people in your department and as a woman of color in a mainly Caucasian organization, it may mean looking for people who may understand first hand what it means to work in that kind of situation. It’s important to have some social ties with people in a professional environment for the sheer fact that it builds relationships. They don’t need to be your BFF but being sociable and understanding some of each other’s key interests makes us better humans. If everything was transactional, there would be no personality to your work and as a result, no willingness to compromise or “see” one another when you’re in an environment to collaborate.
  • I often tell people that regardless of your age or experience, everyone can give back. You might wonder, I don’t have any management responsibilities or this is my first job – all great experiences to share with those who are looking for their 1st professional endeavor. In my perspective, I don’t lead an exceptionally exciting life but there are people who want to have a similar life and want to know how I got to this place. If it helps them achieve their goals, I’m happy to share my story and help them along the way. Networking works both ways – you share your experiences with those who are in need of a person to help them and you share your experiences with those who can help you.
  • I’m a BIG fan of my colleague, Joe Fuld’s political consulting firm, The Campaign Workshop – he has a blog as well as great “how to” e-books on running a campaign. One of his staffers wrote a fantastic post about down-ticket races and tips on how you can win. Check it out and follow Joe on twitter @joefuld for great campaign advice!

Thanks fore reading/sharing & if you haven’t subscribed, get on it!


Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v38

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It’s supposed to be a “quiet” week with the Jewish holidays and the Pope visiting (which I’m fortunate enough to have a ticket to the arrivals ceremony at the White House) but with all of these events this week, I’m getting ready for a wedding next weekend out of town and when I get back, all crazy will be breaking loose with back-to-back events the last week of September. Which means I really need to get my life together so that whatever happens the last week I can go with the flow. I like to be as prepared as possible which is kinda funny because believe or not, I’m a HUGE procrastinator. No one ever believes me when I say that because they think I’m a little OCD and a list maker extraordinaire. I LURVE to make lists, it’s the checking things off that can get a little tedious. That sensation of seeing an fully checked To-Do list is pretty exhilarating. I hate when things hang over my head so the procrastinating tends to get curbed because I like knowing that I don’t owe anyone anything. The ball is in your court 🙂 If you’ve read the blog long enough, I’m a triage type of do-er. I’m constantly evaluating my priorities list to get the most important to do items out of the way first. If you’re in DC, I hope you get to telework during the Pope’s visit. I hear the traffic is going to be insane.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Living in DC, I oftentimes feel like I live in a bubble and once I depart the confines of the Beltway, can I accurately get a sense of what living in the US can truly mean: regular people who don’t talk about politics at a Saturday night dinner party or think about the next maneuvering of the budget. I spend my time with a very diverse group of people who tend to think very similarly as me so my experience of microaggression is not the same as those who work in larger organizations or engage with people who are not accustomed to seeing people who are not like themselves. Microaggressions occur from people who unwittingly don’t recognize the impact of their words and how it affects the position of power. We’ve become more aware of it as we have become a more diverse society and the more we learn about it, the better we can address the issues that are behind it. Is it better to have blatant racism vs the microaggressions? Can you tell the difference if someone is well intentioned vs slyly sneaking in a comment? This world is a tough place and it comes from all sides. We are not perfect and every experience is a lesson.
  • This is a longer read but well worth the time. I was raised in a multicultural house with a Caucasian father and an AAPI mother, where I spent a lot of time with Caucasians and was fortunate to live in a diverse neighborhood with AAPIs and African Americans. So when reading the article, it helped to educate me about the privilege that exists within a much bigger ecosystem than I have personally experienced. Checking your privilege can be a challenge when you’re thinking, “I just want to be an ally and show my support” and it’s even more challenging to maintain your composure when racism occurs in your community. My takeaway: put others first.
  • There are times when I think I want to pick up and move to Star’s Hollow (for all you non Gilmore Girls fans, it’s a fictional town in Connecticut) and become a regular at Luke’s diner. What that contemplation really means is that I would like to live in a sleepy town where I have no adult responsibilities but I think due to my personality, I would either help a candidate run for Mayor of Star’s Hollow or start my own small business selling party supplies. So regardless of where I lived, I would still be “adulting”. My point in all of this is that there are times when instead of contemplating moving, I should just take a breath and not be so hard on myself. Here are a few reminders of how you can take a break from being an adult so that you can get right back at it later.
  • Hey Type A Millennial this Generation Xer doesn’t have all the answers either, although I tend to ask myself constantly, “What’s next?”. Remember! Don’t compare yourselves to your peers and definitely don’t compare yourselves to those who have been around the block a lot longer. I spend a good portion of my time with women who are younger who I have seen grow in their careers and although our relationships have evolved into being colleagues, I still have more years on them and with that a certain amount of stability. It’s not a competition and there’s certainly no judgement on how you envision your life.
  • For those of us who work in politics and especially in the niche of communications, messaging is crucial to position your narrative the way you want others to see it. Apply those same techniques to your own story when you’re up for a promotion or a job interview and you would have flipped the script.
  • I’ve got an article for more seasoned readers and that might mean managers who are starting out. Things that you’ll need to consider as you continue to ascend into your career and become less reliant on a support system to help you. It can be lonely at the top so you’ll need people to bounce ideas but know that you’re standing alone because you make the decisions. Self reflection can make you check yourself as long as you stay honest.
  • Want to be a good employer/leader of your team? Here are the top complaints from direct reports about their bosses. Effective communication is key. Recognize a trait that you need to strengthen? Assessment is half the battle!

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

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v37

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All sort of fun this week with fundraisers and call time as we race towards the September 30th filing. I’m also excited to be speaking on a panel about Women in Politics later in the week. Any tidbits you care to share that I can pass along?

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

On any day of the week there are a bajillion networking events happening in DC. We have networking tips from experts for days but this is an absolute must read. When people ask me about my favorite networking tip, I always advocate for being helpful. I always remember those people I meet who want to help me with my projects and when I’m meeting someone, I see where we have synergy to work on programs int he future.

When reading this article, it really resonated with me because one of the things that people say about my work personality is that I’m nice. Donors mention it to me; clients talk about my style in working in teams; past staff have used it as a model to motivate their donors to action; it’s the same attitude I carried with me when I was a manager of a James Beard winning restaurant. I have such great role models such as the formidable Lindy Boggs, a leader raised in the South who also understood the aura of being a strong woman. My being nice doesn’t mean that I’m a pushover. Actively listening helps me to better understand what motivates the people I’m working with in any situation. Using that information allows me to use all the tools available. This builds a better relationship because trust is established and everyone wants everyone to win.

Having tough conversations is all part of becoming a manager or a member of leadership. Remember when we talked about being nice? Learning to have these conversations can make for a better working environment even in the toughest of situations.

One of the most challenging things about branding is that it’s a lot of internal reflection. I’ve done workshops on it and every time I feel the participants are looking at me thinking that I would have the answers for their brand. If you hire me, then yes I will have answers to your brand, but if I’m talking about the process in which YOU create your brand, then you’re going to have do some serious reflection. I’ve shared step-by-step articles, infographics to better visualize the process and I’m adding this article because ultimately, it’s always about your narrative that creates your brand. I do this all the time with candidates and when they talk with me, I always ask – “what’s your story?” and it’s not a list of the who, what, where, when variety. Know your story and be proud of it!

So now that you have your narrative, you can write an About Me page on your webpage or your LinkedIn. Here are tips that you can use to create a page that reads like it’s about you and not some random person that has your picture on it.

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions because I’m always thinking about improvement throughout the course of the year. I’ve always like to say that my New Year’s resolution is to have more fun! I like to think that we always have room for a fresh start regardless of the time of year. Are you need of one? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself as you prepare to make changes.

As we’re getting into campaign season and for those who are moving into GOTV (YAY to almost E-Day!), we can always use tips for self care and to better manage the chaos that happens on campaigns. Here’s a great checklist for those campaign managers who are starting the cycle and have November 8, 2016 as their target date.

Thanks for reading/sharing & subscribe if you’re inclined!

— Madalene



Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v36

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Welcome back from the 3 day weekend! I’ve gone from a leisurely pace at work to warp speed as we count down to the September 30th fundraising filing. As a Board Member for Democratic GAIN, we’re dedicated to increasing diversity within the progressive movement in our operatives and candidates. Join me on September 10th as we honor Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid and Rep. John Lewis for their commitment to workforce diversity. Tickets can be purchased here. If you attend, I’d enjoy saying “hi”!

As we start a new season, what goals do YOU want to accomplish before the end of the year?  I’ve been mulling a video project so I’m determined to get that going.  Let me know what you’re working on and how I can help! You can share in the comments or just email me.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

Thinking about pursuing a new professional opportunity? That means reviewing your resume and getting it into tip top shape. Here’s a few tips to get that resume polished and ready to go. What if you decide that your current career isn’t for you and want to make a mid-career change or maybe you were like me and had a quarter life crisis (remember when I talked a little about my going into the hospitality industry after working in politics??). How about reaching out to your network to let them know that you’re looking for a change? It helps to be specific so that they can help you get from point A to point B. I would also recommend doing individual follow-ups so that you can talk more with those who may have more insight. What else have you done to let your network know about your search for new professional opportunities?

Now that you’ve got the resume out the door and your first interview scheduled, here are great questions that you can ask the interviewer. With all things, doing your research certainly helps to make you look like you cared enough to look into the company and its mission.

I hear a lot about the Myers Briggs test and its ability to help determine what type of job is suited with your personality. Have you tried the Enneagram personality test? I discovered that I’m an “3”, the Achiever. There is an abbreviated test that takes about 10 minutes and when I was going through it, I realized that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more nuanced. I started questioning the scenarios because I could imagine the questions as situations which made me recall actual memories of specific situations related to the questions. With more experience, I was a combination of the extremes so trying to remember my initial reaction was something where I needed to focus. Let me know if you were surprised with your results!

We only have a few more months before we start 2016 so we can still achieve a better work life balance for 2015 by incorporating a few of these exercises. Doing a little bit at a time can help get you onto a more balanced path. I was so excited that I put a rather concise out of office email while I took a few days off which let people know that if it’s not on fire, it’s really not an emergency so it can wait. Sometimes we all get a little self absorbed about how important our work lives can be and there are definitely times when that’s the case, but life will go on without answering that email.

We haven’t touched on branding for a while so I’m sharing a great infographic that has the ABC’s to help you get on your way to creating your own version of Beyoncé/Sasha Fierce.

Everyone has room for growth and I try to not let too much time pass doing nothing. I like my alone time but I also know that it’s important to cultivate my relationships with friends who have stood by me and those who are new to my world. Being open to new situations can open up so many new opportunities/experiences and that kind of openness can attract success.

As I asked earlier in the post, what goal(s) do YOU want to accomplish before the end of the year and how can I help you ACHIEVE that success? Drop me a line in the comments or send me an email!

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

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v35

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It’s the last week of congressional recess and we’re gearing up for the start of the return of the Members from the August break. There’s going to be a rush of fundraising events for the next couple of weeks to get to the end of the September 30th filing deadline. I got a chance to get away and really not respond to emails (!!) which was really an amazing feeling. So now, I’m ready to focus and get going with my to do list. It’s not the end of summer – it’s the beginning of fall!

Today I’m saying a “See you later” to a dear friend who I have known since we were young adults in college. We’ve gone through a myriad of personal and professional ups & downs and she’s following her dream by joining the Peace Corps. As a result, she’s traveling across the world and I won’t get to see her for 28 months!! We’ll Skype and go old school and have written correspondence but without the physical aspect of giving one another a hug when we might need one. Her tenacity to accomplish this goal inspires me to reach for mine (who needs New Year’s resolutions when there are people everyday who are on their own personal journey!). I hope you have someone in your life who can inspire you as much as she does. Which leads me to 13 fantastic women who are coming to my house for dinner tonight. I’m hosting the Women’s Information Network (WIN) Executive Committee and anyone of these ladies is an inspiration. If you haven’t joined WIN yet, don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of a great organization of up and coming leaders. Find your tribe and no matter where they are and what they do, they’ll keep you engaged and reaching for your own goals.

So let’s serve up Tuesday Truths!

  • I’ve always talked about fundraising and the crazy that can go with it. It’s a constant conversation about how fundraising has changed in the 20+ years that I’ve been working in politics and the results of its evolution. With the plethora of presidential candidates, here’s an infographic of how the different types of organizations are supporting the work of their preferred candidate.
  • “Tough times never last but tough people do” – my favorite mantra when I’m feeling the struggle. Here are some other motivational inspirations to get you over the bump in the road.
  • It’s been a while since I did a post on negotiation so get a refresher or learn some new tips. Making a precise offer down to the dollar is one trick. Do you have any techniques that you care to share?
  • Not sure why you’re being passed up for a promotion? Need some ideas of how to improve your chances? Here are the 3 reasons why you’re not getting that new and improved job title. On the opposite side of “how come everyone is being promoted” is how to tune out negativity and be the best version of yourself. We talk about not comparing yourself to others and digging deep and staying committed to what makes you well, you. Looking for glory may not be the best motivation so finding your north star can help you stay true to your goals. Then there’s the happy balance! Don’t be afraid to live your dreams because along with hard work, you can find your definition of success.

Thanks for reading/sharing/subscribing!