Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v17

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Can you believe it’s the last week of April?? In a month’s time, we’ll be in the unofficial throes of Summer and campaign season will be crazy busy. We’ve got lots going on and we’re optimistic for what the rest of the year brings. I’ve also been having fun with Snap Chat so if you’re inclined to snap – add me: madalene.mielke!

Here’s Tuesday Truths:

  • Are you considered the note taker during your meetings? On big meetings, there are sometimes multiple note takers to make sure that everything gets covered because topics can go fast and furious. Junior staff in my office are usually given that task when I take them to meetings and the more meticulous those notes, chances are that you would have captured the essence of the meeting (discussion, action items & deadlines etc.). Some may think that this is a mundane task when in fact, it’s a critical piece of having a successful meeting. It’s a great example of how well you’re listening, and how quickly you can process information. Here’s an outline that you can follow to help you gain structure in your note taking. If you’re taking notes for yourself during meetings, knowing how you best recall notes can help you reach goals quicker when you recognize how all the parties involved are reaching their goals.
  • There are days when I like that I’m a boutique consulting firm and days when I wonder if I would like to have a flurry of people in my office working for me like in days past. As I celebrate 20+ years of working in politics, I recognize the things that I will subject myself to for clients. I still have a bit of idealism that keeps me passionate about working in this space and here’s the thing, I also know what I don’t want to do in my line of work and that comes from having done it for so long. I enjoy working with my colleagues and helping those who are new to the consulting business in their search for clients. Do I foresee my career continuing in this field? Yes, however in a different composition of my own choosing. When you’ve reached a career that spans decades, you’ve earned the right to make those kind of choices and reinvention has never looked so good.
  • I thank my momma everyday for giving me genes to maintain a youthful appearance. Fortunately, I work in DC where the saying goes, “We’re Hollywood for ugly people” so my looks don’t necessarily take center stage when it comes to my work. That’s not to say that my youthful appearance hasn’t been a source of contention. DC has a lot of young people – A LOT – so when you’re mistaken for a staff assistant or someone with a lesser title because you look young, it can be a blessing or a curse. Campaigns are made for young people with distinguished titles (“titles are free” but are your responsibilities and compensation = senior leadership). You can have a campaign manager overseeing a multi million dollar budget and still be in your 30s. I remember when I was in my early 30s and at that point, already a veteran of several campaigns and I had already started my consulting business that a slightly older, but not that much older male statewide elected official commented that they couldn’t envision me having managed staff (!!). OOOHHHH – KKKAAAAYYYY Was that a commentary on his lack of knowledge of my skills or his astonishment that I was older than what I appeared? My friends and I are relatively in the same age range and in fact, I don’t even know their specific ages unless they decide that they want to celebrate their birthdays with a number. I don’t base my opinions of people on that really inconsequential number because it’s about the level of experience that gets my motor running. It’s exciting to me to see a young person who has accomplished their goals and doing things that people double their age have never done and it’s equally important when I talk with an older woman who has done so much and is still creating their own set of rules. Comparisons come into play and life experiences only mean something when you’ve actually had a chance to experience life. Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you’re wise. No matter the age, it means that you’ve done or you’re doing something with your life and I’ll respect anyone who can share their stories. In a professional setting, older women are pushed aside because they’re no longer seen as assets when their life experiences certainly amount to wisdom. It’s not the age that matters but what you’ve done with your life that does.
  • When I talked about titles being free, I really meant it. Of course, that’s a totally different post on negotiation but what it also means is that your title doesn’t earn you respect either.  Leaders are made through their actions and how well you treat your peers and the people on your team have direct and indirect consequences. My former staff will readily admit that I’m a tough boss. I demand excellence but also understand when mistakes are made (we’re not perfect) and they know that I will have their backs. If we screw up something for a client, it ultimately falls on me because the buck really does stop at my desk. My office culture is that I want you to succeed, whether it’s in my office or after you leave. I may or may not be able to help you do your next job but I can certainly impart the sentiment that we’re always there to help one another. There’s an unofficial mantra that once you’ve worked for me (and performed well) that you will always be a part of my network and that each former staffer is responsible for the next generation or the many, many generations after.
  • Last week I went to a reception where I saw my old boss, Chef Bob Kinkead receive the Duke Zeibert award from the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. This award is given to a person who has contributed to the success of DC’s restaurant industry. He has countless former staff all over the area enhancing the dining experience of those visiting or living in our nation’s capital. I have so much respect for those who work in the hospitality industry because no matter how well your day may be going, someone walking into the restaurant may be having a craptastic day and your job is to make them happy. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out but when you have great service, a welcoming atmosphere and delicious food, you’ll have a winning combination to turn that person’s day around. Did you know that I used to be a restaurant manager at a James Beard winning chef’s restaurant where the owner was also a winner of Restauranteur of the Year? Yeah, there’s a lot of expectation with that kind of reputation! Which leads me to sharing the profile of Maria Trabocchi. She’s the co-owner of Fiola, Fiola Mare, Casa Luca and many many more soon to open restaurants. Fiona recently celebrated their 5th anniversary and it’s one of my favorite restaurants in town. I’ve talked about her restaurants on my personal blog because the food is delicious and the way they treat their customers is equally fantastic. I rang in 2016 at Fiola Mare, spent many anniversaries and other celebratory events at Fiola and have had fundraising dinners at Casa Luca. Treat your customers well and they will reward you in so many different ways. It’s a lesson that Maria teaches everyday.

Thanks for reading/sharing and tell me your thoughts by emailing me or in the comments!

— Madalene




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