Monthly Archives: March 2016

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v13

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As you read this little ditty, I’ll be flying to the west coast for a few days on work travel. People are out and about on Spring Break so although I’m a bit joyous that I get a time-out from fundraising events, the work still continues. When Congress returns, I’ll be going full steam ahead with a barrage of fundraisers, #tistheseason #politicscanbefun

So whether you’re mushing it up in Iceland or drinking a beverage that has an umbrella in it, here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • We know that diversity is a key issue for all aspects of life. Having a seat at the table is important to bringing a different perspective and to highlight challenges and triumphs. What’s also critical is that women and minorities tend to be penalized when they try to help in that process through their hiring practices. The Harvard Business Review explores the implications of having those kinds of attitudes.
  • One of the many reasons I enjoy being a part of the Women’s Information Network (WIN) is that it gives like-minded women a safe space to be women and to share their knowledge and expertise with other women. We’re one another’s cheerleaders. It’s long been known that the “old school” method of networking in the boys’ club was via poker, golf, and men’s dinner clubs. As more women join the ranks of senior leadership, they’re creating spaces that allow us to embrace all of the attributes of female empowerment. Yes, we’ll mix with the boys, but let’s remember that it’s OK to spend your work life also socializing with other women. With that in mind, Shelley Zalis conceived the idea of a Girls’ Lounge, the equivalent of the Boys’ Club so that women could “pair and share”. Read more of her efforts here.
  • One of the things that I’ve learned through the years is that courage manifests itself in a variety of ways. I know my fears and although not fully conquered, I know what I have to do to overcome them: to face them and not allow them to own me. Believe me, I still weigh the risks (such as when others tell me that I’m going to get eaten by a shark every time I go surfing), but I know that I do myself a disservice by not doing the things that scare me. It makes the rest of my life that much less fearful.
  • Normally on an election year, I tend to focus solely on work. It’s work, work, work, work, work (thanks Rihanna!) and everything else goes to the wayside. I realized that every other year is a fiercely intensive time in my life and even more so when accentuated if it’s a Presidential year. I create my own stress because I’ve left everything else to wither. My health doesn’t necessarily wane because I recognized that I needed to exercise and get enough sleep so that I could continue to function in an optimal condition. So I decided that I needed to give myself goals that would test my commitment to myself and to my future self. I added private French lessons and although there were moments when I really questioned my sanity in taking on this additional task, it forces me to take action in another area of my life. It’s a lot easier to focus solely on work when you decide that nothing else should matter and that’s not how life works. If you really want to be a whole leader, you need to recognize the other aspects of your life because those aspects also matter to your team.

Thanks for reading/sharing and leave your comments below!

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v12

I had a terrific time at the NLC training over the weekend. The participants had extremely good questions asking about how fundraising in underserved communities affects your finance plan. Campaigns are constantly trying to break through all the white noise by finding appropriate messengers to serve the message in mediums that are comfortable to the intended audience. Building connections and establishing relationships are the heart of campaigns. I wish the participants much success in their endeavors and the progressive movement is fortunate to have so much diverse talent ready to serve.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Growing your network while being authentic in your actions can be a daunting task. It helps when you have an interest outside of your field of expertise and proactively tell people about it! I always say that I’m a “Jill” of all trades and the master of nothing because I keep such varied interests in rotation. The ones that stand out for me are eating (who doesn’t like to do that!) so I often get asked where to go for dining options, and my choices in wardrobe attire. When I worked as a manager of a James Beard winning chef’s restaurant, the wait staff would tell me that they could envision me as a cooking instructor (maybe this goes back to my love of teaching!) and people who ask me to help them as a stylist. Obviously all of these interests are outside of my professional expertise, but people identify these as activities where I can excel. This all leads to how you can better network as you progress in your careers. It makes life more multi dimensional and brings another flavor to your character.
  • People often call me to ask me what they need to do in preparation for a run for elected office. I always tell them that they need to massage their network. It’s also important to be  a part of different organizations and to be active as a community leader. It doesn’t necessarily mean be a social butterfly and collect a ton of business cards that never really mean anything to anyone, most importantly you if you’re trying to make meaningful connections. If you need to reset your networking goals, here are 3 tips to make your networking more successful.
  • I’m a little late to this game because I’m already a workaholic but there may still be hope for me yet. I’ve always said that people shouldn’t stay in the office for the sake of looking like they’re putting in more hours. If your work is done, then Buh Bye! This doesn’t apply if you’re an assistant and your boss is still burning the midnight oil but however way you can help in making your boss’ life easier will score brownie points. In every industry it’s a little different how people manage their work life but here’s how you can still advance in your career without being a workaholic.
  • I’m not even in this age range anymore (!!!) but I can tell you that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also give less F*CKs about what people think (maybe a wee bit and mainly that goes to my long time friends who have always supported me in my goals). I recently visited with a few of my high school classmates (some of them who have become closer friends as we’ve gotten older and some who have been life long friends who have been with me during some turbulent years) and we were reminiscing about how much we’ve changed or stayed the same. What people thought of me then is the same as what people think of me now. I’m quiet until you get to know me and then you realize that I’m a very animated person. The saying about me is that I’m cool but not **cool** as in not very warm. My closest friends have commented that upon meeting me, I don’t necessarily come off as standoffish but I have a guard up that is seemingly hard to crack. Maturity plays a factor of how much you can change as you age, but core personality traits will always be at the heart of who you are as a person. It’s with experience, you learn to become more warm and more extroverted as deemed by circumstances (in my case).
  • Ever wonder what your salary would be if you worked as part of the senior leadership team of a presidential campaign? Look no further – here you go! Does it surprise you that the Kasich campaign is the only campaign that has a female as the campaign manager? How about in the Sanders campaign that no one in the top 10 highest paid employees are women? In the Trump campaign, no one breaks 6 figures and in the Cruz campaign, the Political Director makes $192,000 – the highest paid person of any of the presidential campaigns. #politicscanbefun
  • I know several people who work from home and for some it was their 1st time in that type of situation. They wondered if they could survive the lack of structure that goes with working from home. The physical location of my office is my home but I have staff who come to my office as if it’s an actual office building to work. So I don’t necessarily follow the norms of “Working from Home” and when I don’t have staff, I still maintain some pretty crazy hours. Campaign life doesn’t have a work from home aspect. The camaraderie that’s built working on a campaign builds a stronger rapport of trust and dependence on your team members. Here are some hard truths about that work lifestyle – what do you do if you work from home to maintain structure?
  • When you think you need to re-assess your goals to get to the next level, use these lessons to get you motivated. I’m always re-tooling productivity and trying to find ways to be more efficient. Whenever I get overwhelmed and think I can’t do anymore, I take a step back to find the small triumphs and that gets me excited to take the next step. I work in teams with my clients and we normally discuss strategy as a team but I have to execute it mainly solo so going back to the team to think of ideas helps to create a collaborative space. Knowing that I have colleagues who are supportive in the goal is important in creating a safe place to explore new ideas.

Alright folks – tell me your stories! Thanks for sharing/reading and if you thought this was helpful, tell a friend to subscribe!

— Madalene




Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v11

I’m looking forward to teaching my fundraising session at the NLC’s training this weekend in DC. Believe it or not, fundraising can be a FUN experience! Talking from years of practice, I really do enjoy the research portion the best and when you’ve done the work, it pays off in the call sheets and on your tally board. I bet you that most candidates think that fundraising is the least fun component of all of the campaign activities. What do you think??

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • When I read this article, it really struck me as the same kind of structure one uses to connect on a political level. Shared interests creates rapport and that leads to how people can solve problems together. I get a lot of calls from candidates and elected officials asking me how to connect with voters and my response is it has to be genuine and you have to have a common interest that you’re passionate about and willing to fight for everyday. That’s how voters connect with your active participation to help on an issue. How do you raise those concerns so that they’re addressed and discussed in a productive way. These tips can help your sales numbers but they will also help in creating a robust network.
  • Here’s a funny gif on the glamorous life of being a campaign press secretary. Although I have never held the title myself, I have done my fair share of pitching stories and all I can remember is screaming to myself, “If it doesn’t get covered then it didn’t happen!”. I think I’ll stick to my call sheets.
  • We’ve had posts about self doubt, imposter syndrome, self esteem and what it all boils down to is one’s mental capacity to believe in yourself. That ability manifests itself into what some people call charisma. One of the most important aspects of charisma is the ability to empathize with people. One of the reasons why I’m successful in fundraising is that I can see pressure points. My mom used to lament that I was never a master of the guitar and I’m fine with that because my ability to converse in a myriad of topics allows me to dig deeper with people in their interests when I really could care less. It’s not that I don’t care about the person, but even I can only dig deep into others’ interests when it’s not of interest to me. Remembering people’s storytelling and mental momentos really allows people to see that you were really listening.
  • I was once an assistant so I know what it means to “manage up” and lawdy, was it interesting to see my associates do that to me, especially when they weren’t doing it very well. The last thing I want to do as a manager is to do your job for you so the more you know my pressure points, the better jobs we’ll all be doing. I’m a stickler for being on time and my definition of being on time is most other people’s definition of being 15 minutes early. It doesn’t stress me out and it gives me a positive feeling that as a team we’re going to fix an last minute problems that may arise. So when staffers come “late”, I get stressed out and as a result, I get cranky. My mood has shifted and if you catch me on a day that I might not have hit the gym then you better just go hide somewhere and come back when I’ve calmed down. Knowing how to create an environment where you can get the most positive results is a win win. Getting to know managers likes/dislikes can make a tremendous difference in gaining credibility and ultimately more responsibility given to you.
  • Competing with your peers can be daunting. Am I were I’m supposed to be? She’s got a better title than me. How am I supposed to compare with someone who has their sh*z together?? Believe me, it can all be a Debbie Downer if you allow yourself to get caught into the current of self doubt. I also know what it feels like to be swept away and get emotionally tied to people because envy has reared its ugly head. It’s not pretty. It’s so much more fulfilling to feel the glory of the light when you appreciate someone else’s “shine”. My tribe of SHEros have taught me what it means to celebrate their accomplishments. They push me to DO better and to BE better. It’s awesome that they’ve been profiled in the NYT, that they exceeded their business development goals, and are rising to the occasion. When I talk about them, my male friends tell me that they sound amazing…because they are and hopefully some of that shine allows me to also push towards my own goals.
  • Most people laugh at me when I tell them that I’m an introvert. They really don’t believe me! So I concede that maybe I fall in the middle of the spectrum between the two. Needless to say, I like to be alone but I also don’t mind speaking in public. Setting up an introvert for success in a public setting means allowing us/them to prepare. Giving enough notice so that introverts can properly prepare makes the situation less challenging. So when I’m preparing for a lecture or presentation, I visualize my material and it comes naturally to me. I can talk your ear off about fundraising, leadership, branding and it’s because I’m comfortable with the subject, I can do what I’m supposed to do…talk! I like to connect with the audience and figure out what exactly they’re trying to get out of the presentation. I can always improve my energy level but I recognize that I’m not a “yeller” when it comes to showing enthusiasm. I sound fake – my ability to convey my message in a conversational way is my best form of communication and being authentic is much more important than trying to be someone you’re not. Looking for other ways you can become a better public speaker? Hop to it!

Thanks for reading/sharing and let me know what you think in the comments!


Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v10

It’s #InternationalWomensDay! Let’s celebrate those women who have made it possible for us to live better lives and continue to encourage girls to know their value.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • I’m a bit of wack-a-doodle for getting up at the crack of dawn to work out, even on weekends, but I know that getting my exercise in the morning is the best time for me, otherwise it won’t happen. Sometimes it’s really hard for me to slow down because I know that there’s so much I want to do. Starting my day early allows me to extend the hours that I have to get the most out of life and as I get older, taking naps or taking a break seem like a distant memory. Here are a few ways how you can have seemingly endless energy.
  • When I once served as a mentor to the Running Start Fellows program, their main advisor Arnie Thomas told me that he thought I was meant to be a teacher and he was probably right. Although I have the technical skills and experience as a fundraiser, I truly enjoy my training portfolio that much more. One of the things that I’ve recognized in myself is that I’m a “sharer” which comes to a surprise to most people because I’m an only child (do only children always have such a bad rap?). Nonetheless, I like sharing whatever knowledge I possess to those who are interested in learning. If it’s not knowledge that I share then having time to volunteer on projects that mean a great deal to me is part of that teacher mentality. I may not know a whole lot but I know that it makes one’s life that much more fulfilling.
  • Every once in a while, I get into a mood where I contemplate the old adage, “What am I doing with my life?”. After 40+ years of living on this Earth, I still wonder if I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing or if I’m meant to do something else. To be perfectly honest, I usually get this way when I’m a little overwhelmed. For a time when I had my quarter life crisis, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled and wasn’t sure if I was doing what was right for me. Having the privilege of choice can create fear and paralysis. In the end, it always came down to what I was passionate about and having the belief in myself that I could do it if I created my own path. I know that I will continue to examine my life’s purpose for the foreseeable future as a way to check if I’ve gotten lazy and now I have the perfect set of questions to ask myself.
  • I get really excited when I see AAPIs succeed, especially in the political world because hey, I want to see more of my people engaging in the electoral process. It’s nice to see that it’s becoming more common to see AAPIs running for elected office and winning!
  • I first met Amy Dacey when she worked at the DCCC and I worked at the DNC so I’ve seen this woman in action for a long, long time. Well deserved article touting her abilities to get the job done as the CEO of the Democratic National Committee.
  • Most of you know of my involvement of the Women’s Information Network (WIN) and through that organization, I’ve had such a wonderful experience meeting young women who are doing extraordinary things. I want to give a personal shout out on this #InternationalWomensDay to the women (Katie Breslin, Christy Carter, & Claire Gould) behind a soon-to-be launched podcast called Beyond the Ceiling. They’re telling the stories of women who are making the world a better place. Catch their inaugural podcast on March 10th!

Alright folks, what you have up your sleeves for the upcoming week?? Share them in the comments or drop me a line!

Thanks for reading/sharing!

— Madalene





Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v9

It’s SUPER TUESDAY – 13 states and one territory have their primaries and caucuses today – only in DC would there be a happy hour to watch the returns. If you’re a sports fan, you will see that today is the playoffs for the Superbowl, World Series, Olympics, Stanley Cup etc..all rolled into one. In my world that means I have about 8 more months before my vacation 🙂

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Washington, DC is a destination city. It’s a place where there’s a constant stream of people dreaming to work here. Sometimes people fall into positions, but it’s a high probability that people mapped out a strategy to find employment. In an earlier post I shared a great list to where you could find campaign related jobs (here) and now, my friends over at the Campaign Workshop are sharing advice on the strategy in finding a job. Combined it can make the process a little more manageable and can help in a more efficient search. Good luck!
  • As a manager or someone who is in a supervisory role, motivating your team is an essential part of the job. It keeps up morale and helps to quickly identify problems that may not yet have surfaced. I believe that every person has a different reason for doing things and although the team may be on the same page, everyone gets something uniquely personal out of the experience. So although the headline for the article is slightly misleading, it’s really determining how each of us should build relationships so that we can create an experience that motivates us to succeed.
  • It seems that DC attracts young, well-educated single women – check out these numbers! Which leads me to a piece written in New York magazine about how single women hold the most important political clout of any other demographic. Society has placed restraints on women and doesn’t equally count your voice unless you’re married. (I love my momma but she didn’t think I became a woman until I got married and just for that, I held out from getting married even though I was living with my husband for 7 years before we got married and even then, I eloped.) The policies that can affect change are dependent on this demographic using its voice. Not all single women are high income earners and in fact, many of them are single parents who are juggling paying for child care and earning a wage without the ability to schedule their work hours around when the voting polls are open.

Thanks for reading/sharing! Don’t forget to share you comments!

— Madalene