Monthly Archives: July 2016

Tuesday Truths 2016 Special Edition v30 (Democratic Convention)

We’re in Day #2 of the official Democratic proceedings! I’ve been here since Saturday and if you’re reading this on Tuesday, I’ve just finished conducting a 4 hour training with the AAPI community. I also have a fundraiser in 2.5 hours so I’m going to grab lunch and head over to set up for my fundraiser.

What are your thoughts on the Democratic Convention so far?? Love/hate? Tell me in the comments section!

In the meantime, here’s Tuesday Truths Democratic Convention Special Edition!

philadelpia skyline

Philadelphia is quite the city. In 1996, I was a Regional Field Director for the ’96 Coordinated campaign in Pennsylvania and I would occasionally need to travel to Philly (HQ) for staff meetings. Fast forward to many more interim years where I would come back to Philly to conduct trainings and to just enjoy all the different things to do. When I drove into town, you knew there was a convention happening – check out the barricades!

Along with tons of street signs to delineate travel logistics and just about everything else, this city was ready for 50,000 people.

IMG_1876 IMG_1878

One of the fun things that the city did was have painted donkeys throughout the city and they set up an app to get you to play along. Here are just a few of the donkeys that I found while out wandering the streets.

south carolina donkey

new jersey donkey

illinois donkey california donkey

If you didn’t notice that there was a Convention going on, the hotels were also decked out with patriotic swag as well.

marriott hotel

Philadelphia is where we hear the exciting news of having Donna Brazile become the interim DNC Chair. This town holds a lot of memories for the beginnings of my career in politics. I’ve worked in Pennsylvania in 3 presidential elections so yes, I feel a certain nostalgia for the Keystone state. I read a great article comparing Hillary Clinton to Philadelphia and it served as an analogy to what it may mean to be this city and this kind of candidate.

One of the more intriguing bits of convention this year is the realization that the DNC was hacked by 2 separate Russian intelligence agencies! Talk about a plot twist out of some spy thriller, but with much more consequence.

One of the reasons why I work in Democratic/progressive politics is because I feel welcomed in this very diverse party and although this movement is not perfect and is certainly a work in progress, we strive to make improvements so that we are reflective of this country. There was a panel to discuss how to have inclusive diversity hiring practices, not just to talk about challenges but to discuss solutions.IMG_1886

Let me know your thoughts about convention!

— Madalene


Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v29

Congress is officially out of session, the Republicans are having their Convention, we’re days away from the Democratic Convention, & weeks away from the Olympics! SO. MUCH. TO. DO. What a time to be alive!

In all seriousness, I’m writing this in advance of publishing so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in Cleveland. I remain hopeful that everyone involved will be safe there and the same for when I join my fellow progressives in Philadelphia. Life is about optimism. If you go in with a mentality that you can’t overcome the obstacles, you’re already behind. I completely acknowledge that sometimes life hands you disadvantages and powered by tenacity, hard work, dedication and most importantly, hope, you can find a way that allows you to conquer the day. Life may seem dismal, but if you can envision getting to your goals, taking the small and painful steps everyday will lead you forward. Optimism is the key to life. #trust

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • I’ve realized that I’ve become a little salty lately. I’m normally salty (if you’re anti-swearing then you would not like being in my office where certain swear words are obligatory adjectives) and I always find myself becoming a little more insulated when stress hits a high. Admittedly, I haven’t been doing my usual exercise routine so that might attribute to my sassier than normal nature, however I will course correct my behavior when I start to notice that my self care is not sufficient to reaching my peak performance (personally & professionally). You have to recognize where you need to improve and strive to work on them. That sometimes means saying, “no” to things that you may feel you need to do without feeling any guilt. Taking care of yourself while taking care of others means prioritizing yourself along with all of the other people you value. You value yourself, right?
  • I’m a BIG fan of The Campaign Workshop (FOLLOW THEM!) and they recently did a post on campaign job descriptions. Perfectly timed with a recent Facebook LIVE event I did with America’s Opportunity Fund (AOF) to discuss the AAPI Pipeline Project, where we discussed the different types of opportunities you could pursue when working on a campaign. We did a word association while throwing out job titles and we were a little light in the job descriptions so this handy dandy cheat sheet is a great primer!
  • Another fantastic interview by Tanya Tarr on creating vision in negotiation with Ms. Foundation President Teresa Younger. IMO, what’s so important in this article is seeing that negotiating isn’t about “winning” and more about creating a contract that serves a mutually invested interest. As a result, EVERYONE wins and that’s what’s driving your purpose through the negotiation. Thinking of only yourself creates tension and the feeling that if I’m winning then you’re losing. No one wants to lose so let’s have a win/win.
  • If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re in a room full of people in a meeting and you have been asked a question that you don’t know the answer, there are alternatives to responding, “I don’t know”. In addition to the suggestions provided in the article, I would suggest that depending on the situation (especially if people have been going around the room giving their opinions), you take a quick assessment of who’s in the room and crib their answer. Fake it! You can always give your own opinion to add into the answer such as, “I haven’t yet done the research but knowing that I’m in a room full of intelligent people then I can make a similar conclusion that…” You never know when an opportunity has been given to you and even if you aren’t prepared, you can still sound like you’ve given the topic some consideration. No one is going to know! Don’t give them the chance to think otherwise.
  • I have lots of females (in a variety of ages) who I mentor and I also have 6 wonderful nieces, so there’s a lot of girl power to cultivate! I think back to the days when I was a young girl and although my parents were a little heavy on the “cute” factor (I was a child beauty pageant participant), they also valued my “smarts”. My mom used to have me do math problems in the summer in her own self designed summer school. I’m not gonna lie, it was a pain, but guess what? I skipped a grade! I also went to a magnet school that specialized in math and science so being secure in my intelligence was drilled into me from an early age. With nieces coming into their tween years, I can see so much of their potential and how much it’s being nurtured through their support systems. They have the freedom to try different things and to pursue their interests without fear that they’re making the “wrong” choice. They’re healthy, vibrant, strong girls maturing into young women and with all change, there are questions of self doubt and where/how they fit in with their peers. So seeing this article from Angie Goff reminded me of how my parents raised me and I hope that other young girls are given the same kind of self confidence.
  • I work in an industry that is run on cycles. We’re extremely busy as we gear into an election so the pressure is huge and it’s all based on client work. With this kind of work, it’s quite seasonal so a lot of time in the front end is used to get new clients and to set up teams to execute the plans that we’ve created to raise millions of dollars. There is so much involved with being your own boss that has nothing to do with the actual “work” of what is considered your professional services. If you want to grow your business that means spending more time pitching and meetings related to business development. As a result, you need to train your staff to be your mini-me’s – to do the work as if you’re doing it yourself. What does all of this success equal? It can mean that work takes over your life. All of it. Personal life slowly becomes smaller and smaller when you’re hustling. One last email before going to dinner turns into a barrage of back and forth to get one thing done. One small fire turns into an inferno. It’s a balance to get to a place where you’re not overworking and with that comes a mental shift of what is really important to you in regards to your ambition. Re-assessing how and what you spend your time on means redefining your goals personally and professionally. It’s the flexibility to know that you can do what you want because you designed it that way!
  • I stumbled upon this blog post by Jane Zen because I was looking for a strong female author taking risks and I think I want to be her friend! We both surf and we both believe in the same philosophy regarding taking risks – great things could happen! Guess who shared that with her?? A 10 year Japanese surfer. Get it, kid! I think I want to be his friend too 🙂

Thanks for reading/sharing! I’ll still have Tuesday Truths next week (although slightly abbreviated) as I’m off to Philadelphia for the Democratic convention next week. Follow along on my adventures on my snapchat: madalene.mielke – have a great week!

— Madalene



Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v28

Photo credit via

Happy Tuesday, Folks! We’re diving into the final week of session before Congress breaks for the Republican and Democratic conventions (are you going to either?). I’ll be in Philadelphia for the Democratic convention (basically the whole time and then some!) so there may be an abbreviated Tuesday Truths during that time (wanted to give you that heads up now!). If you’ll be in Philly, give me a shout and we can get together! Catch me on snap chat to see the latest: madalene.mielke!

In the meantime, here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Being a manager/supervisor can be challenging. Are you giving your team enough feedback; are you course correcting when needed?; are you micromanaging?; are you encouraging your team when they’re doing a great job and keeping their motivation upbeat? Sooo many questions and so many ways to address issues that deal with the team perspective/dynamic as well as individual team performance. Here’s a great article on how often you should be asking for feedback. I like to check in on my team individually and see if they’re having problems as a whole and if they’re learning something new on a project. It  takes more time to get a bit deeper on an individual basis, but I think it’s worth the investment to get a sense of how individuals are connecting with the work. I think it’s so important to understand the “Why” of projects so that it doesn’t turn into a memorized procedure, but more a way of thinking. When I ask my team how to map out the steps and timeline of project, I usually ask them why are they doing it this way. Not to be a douche about it but to see how their thinking process works, as well as to get them to think the same way that I do.
  • After years of working in a variety of teams and continuing to do so today, it’s important to recognize that not everyone gets along with their colleagues. You have to be flexible and tolerant as well as realize that you’re there to do a job. Identifying the annoying co-worker and what exactly bothers the hell out of you means looking internally to see if there’s room for improvement on your end. Not exactly what you expect on how to deal with the situation (grin and bear it!) but it’s at the very least a teaching moment for you. Above all else, please don’t talk about it with your other colleagues. Office gossip doesn’t need any more fuel to the fire.
  • I didn’t go to Catholic school but I do did Sunday school as a child so I have a limited experience of spending time with nuns (other than countless hours watching The Sound of Music where nuns make very clever decisions). I get the sense that they’re matter of fact and get to the task at hand without a lot of hoopla. So if you spent a lot of time with Catholic nuns then you may have fond memories reading this article and if you haven’t had that kind of experience, it educates you on just how bad*ss these sisters are on a daily basis. They’ve got excellent tips for those who are looking for guidance on how to start your career with a level head and get things done attitude!
  • I am sometimes astonished with the fact that I’ve been working for more than half of my life already (I started working when I was legally able at 16) and in that time, I’ve discovered I’m constantly trying to challenge myself in how I get my passion and purpose to align. When I had my “quarter life crisis” and changed careers for a hot minute, I realized that although I found a fun job, it didn’t fulfill my purpose. As a result, I returned to my original career with a different mentality and that has fueled 2 very demanding sides of my life. More recently, I’ve come to a crossroads in re-assessing my life’s work. I still have a lot left in the tank so spending my time doing things that are meaningful is becoming more momentous by the day. I’m getting to the point where my life partner is thinking of retirement and how the sunset of our lives will unfold. It’s difficult for me to think about not working. I joke that my mom, who is creeping into her mid 70s and supposedly retired for years now is opening a restaurant (!!). I have worked in that industry and it ain’t easy. My daughterly concern for my mom’s choice of hobbies in her post retirement life has made me become the parent (“are you sure you want to do this?”). She tells me that she’s bored. I have a feeling that I’m very much my mother’s daughter. If you’re fortunate to have your passion and purpose align, relish in its harmony because you’ll come to realize that they’re not always the same.
  • Have you experienced Mean Girl attitudes with other women? I’ve been fortunate to have been in a work atmosphere where women have helped one another and fostered each other’s successes. I remember back to the days of high school where I had strong female friends, who encouraged each other to do our best both academically and when we competed as athletes. We had our fair share of boy troubles and such but we overcame those obstacles. This article discusses the reasons why some women don’t help other women. I’m fortunate to be involved with the Women’s Information Network (WIN) where the environment is extraordinarily empowering for women and I get to witness how young professional women develop their leadership skills with other women. They are completely welcoming and want women to have the freedom to exercise those skills. Of course, I also have my own tribe (I highly recommend creating your own community) and there is nothing more comforting than to have a group of people who are dedicated to the principles of sisterhood. I technically went to an all women’s college while I was at Tulane and I was in a sorority so a common theme of my life involved having strong women be my peers as well as role models and hopefully I can share in the knowledge that has been passed down to me.

How are you winning these days? Thanks for reading/sharing and feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments section!

— Madalene


Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v27

Hope everyone had an enjoyable 4th of July holiday! I took the weekend off and ate my way through Boston while visiting with family. We’re into a new quarter and yes, I have fundraisers scheduled for this week! We only have 2 more weeks before Congress recesses until after Labor Day so there’s a lot to be done before the elections come at us full force! I’m doing a Facebook LIVE for one of my clients (America’s Opportunity Fund) on Thursday, 7/7 at 2pm Eastern to talk about how to get into government affairs and lobbying with Irene Bueno so check it!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Really great read from former Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend on “What Should a Powerful Woman Look Like?” and in my mind’s eye, I think of someone who is a person of color (thank you President Obama) and also a woman. As I mentioned earlier, I was visiting in Boston when I heard someone say that in 2060, Chelsea Clinton’s son, Aiden would be eligible to be President (not verified just a repeated statement) and I couldn’t help to add that her daughter, Charlotte would be eligible before then as she’s the older sibling. Why do people always think that boys can be President when girls are thisclose to seeing a female get elected? Just like I hope to see more African Americans become President, I hope to see an Asian American as well and MORE WOMEN!
  • In the same vein about image vs reality, former NY Congresswoman Liz Holtzman has talked about her experience being a young woman in the 70s elected to the US House of Representatives (which I’ve shared with you in a previous post) as well as her journey of life as the US Senate candidate in NY and later, District Attorney and Comptroller. She’s a pioneer for all of us and I hope to never hear it’s “not a job for a woman” as a reason why a woman isn’t qualified for any position.
  • I get asked out to coffee a lot (I don’t even really drink coffee, ask me out to tea and we’re getting somewhere!) because people want “to pick my brain”. Where did we get this gross (let’s be honest, the visual isn’t that great) expression? It’s a term that we fall back on because we hear/use it so often for ourselves and with others. If you’re looking for advice, why not just ask for it? There are times when you just don’t know anything enough to ask specific questions because you haven’t been exposed to it. Better yet, when you ask for the advice, also offer to do something so that the person who you’re seeking advice from can see that you’re resourceful as well as understanding of that person’s time. Whenever you can have a win/win then you’re helping to achieve everyone’s goals.
  • We’re in the final stretch of an administration and what does that mean for all those people who are political appointees or staff whose bosses lost their re-elections? It means polishing up those resumes and getting ready to see who wants to hire you after working in public service. Here are tips you can use if you’re interviewing or hiring after the elections.
  • When in meetings, it can be challenging to get a point across when there are people or even a single individual, who likes the sound of their voice. I personally hate meetings because the consequence is that I usually get shackled with more work and they can go on and on if there’s no set agenda. I like my meetings in and out. Let’s get to doing! Alas, often times that’s not the case so you’re in a meeting where everyone feels compelled to talk and talk and talk some more. Yet, your boss has brought up a subject that you think you can provide valuable input – what do you do? Here are the 3 questions you can ask yourself to see if this opportunity is one where you should speak up or remain silent.
  • I have had many an intern work in my office so I’ve seen a lot and I remember one of the craziest things I’ve ever had to do when I was an intern was wear hosiery. Lucky for my interns, they don’t have an antiquated dress code to follow. What they do understand is that part of the reason that I never had casual Fridays when I interned on the Hill because I worked for a MD congressional member who could easily come into the office on Friday and since we lived in a more conservative time, the dress code reflected that kind of atmosphere. We understood that even though we were interns, we had to dress that way because it was part of the office culture and that summer, I spent a lot of money on white hosiery (don’t ask me why they had to be white). I bring this up because I read an article where a group of interns signed a petition and sent it along with a proposal to their manager on having more leeway with the dress code. Kudos for taking initiative, however not a good idea since the entire group was fired. In my office, when Congress is in session, it means we’re in business attire. You may not have appointments, but I might send you out to pick up a check or we might have a last minute meeting and that reflects on my brand aka my firm. My office has seen me start the morning with a more relaxed outfit and as we move into the day, I’ve changed to more appropriate attire to fit the meeting or event. Having a better sense of what the office conveys in its image also means understanding things as simple as its dress code.

Thanks for reading/sharing – let me know your thoughts by commenting!

— Madalene