Monthly Archives: April 2017

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v17

I spent part of my weekend attending a training, partly to observe and partly to participate as a trainer. It was delightful to see the enthusiasm and the energy from across the progressive spectrum in electing a Democratic ticket in the Commonwealth of Virginia. People who were new to the area as well as long time residents were brought together with the intent to make voters aware of how they can become more involved in the electoral process as well as to train people on how campaigns work. Spectacular job for those who organized this summit and kudos to all those who participated on a Sunday. Active citizenry in action!


Let’s get to Tuesday Truths!

  • This story was shared with me as part of a group that supports Executive Directors of organizations. The purpose of the group is to give one another space to vent, ask questions for best practices, and share triumphs without judgement. An article about the NoVo Foundation was shared and it brought so much joy. Can you see a future where we reach organizational capacity so that organizations that support girls and women of color can make their own decisions on how to utilize funds? That day will come. Listen up everyone else and take note!



  • In campaigns, we recognize that there is a shelf life. We tell people that politics is a young person’s business because you work for low pay and you’re constantly on the road. Who wants to spend hours and hours on a campaign when you can have more stability and sleep in your own bed? Especially when you hit your late 20s and early/mid 30s. It’s much harder in politics to find stability in the institutional organizations. People tend to cap out by their 20s/early 30s and then you have to decide if you want to stay in this industry or make it on your own or join someone else’s shop. It’s much more challenging to think of what senior leadership looks like when you start to reach the upper echelons of campaign life. Now think about throwing in your gender. In a corporate environment, women are found to be “uninterested” in senior leadership due to the office culture. It’s how the office operates that causes women to feel disenfranchised from the opportunity to grow higher in management. That’s soul crushing and leads to women leaving those types of environments.


  • No one believes me when I tell them that I’m a procrastinator. Honestly, I really admit to it. How do I defeat it? By making my intention public and by exceeding it. People have such expectations of me which then causes me to have expectations on myself. I’m a variant of a people pleaser (hard to believe when most of the time, I more of a “Who gives a F*CK”). As a result, I end up beating my procrastination because I value my reputation. Needless to say, I just learned that procrastination is part of your genetic makeup! Thanks parentals. So it’s not really me that’s procrastinating, it’s all of that historic DNA 😉


  • You are not a show-off when you talk about your accomplishments. Rinse. Repeat. Sharing how you bring value to an organization highlights how you can help them achieve their goals. Learn to self promote because if you ever want to be an entrepreneur or shape ideas to how you want to implement things then you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable the first 5 or 50 times it takes for you to talk about you. Want to run for office? Yes, it means talking about how your skills and experience can help others. What are you waiting for? Seriously, if you need help in this area, you can sign up for a 30 minute free consultation with me during my virtual “office hours”. Drop me a note!



  • I learned recently that the Millennial generation is considered up to 37 years of age. I didn’t realize that it was that high up the age group. So if you fall into this category and are looking for a job, you may find this article of interest. I grew up in an era where my life wasn’t fully documented at all times. We weren’t ‘gramming, texting, Facebooking, snapping etc…I pretty much didn’t have to worry about documentation of my life. I was so against cameras for a while that when The Mister and I eloped, we brought a camera to the courthouse and didn’t use it. BTW cameras are not allowed in the DC district courthouse unless you’re getting married. So I don’t even have documentation of when I really got married! Now, you can pretty much see what I’m wearing on a near daily basis. If you have long term goals of being in public office or what your future bosses may think of your youth, lock it down. Privacy settings or not documenting a less than spectacular moment would be a wise decision. You are a brand and what you share determines that brand regardless of what you say about your brand. Actions speak louder and a picture are worth a thousand words. Be like BeyoncĂ© and have an aura of mystery. She doles out information on her life with a strategic hand. Who wouldn’t want to follow Queen Bey’s lead?

It’s been a hoot! I’ll see you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v16

Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to vote for the “Diversifying the Progressive Movement” panel for Netroots Nation. Appreciate your support!

Is anyone else feeling the affects of Spring in DC? I’m feel like a bit of a zombie with a foggy brain and my head is either going to explode from congestion or I can’t stop sneezing or rubbing my eyes -__- BLECH! It’s so hard to function when I can’t breathe which always makes for fun call time for me because it sounds like I’m crying while asking for money @_@ –> neither a good look or sound!

It’s another Election Day so I’m crossing my fingers and toes for GA-06! Let’s get going with Tuesday Truths!

  • I’ve talked before about my dislike of being asked “to have my brain picked” – the term just annoys me to no end. I don’t see myself on the zombie menu. Needless to say, the term needs to die a quick death. Along with it, the notion that all of my advice is free. As a fundraiser, I know the significance in the “time is money” mantra. As a consultant, my work is based off of getting clients and utilizing my time to bring in more clients or getting work done. It’s hard to say, “no” and protecting your time is essential so take a cue from my colleagues, Tanya Tarr & Tammy Gordon and learn this tactic so that you switch from free advice to getting paid.
  • There are times when people get promoted in an industry and you wonder how is it possible that they have reached this level of seniority and yet, have no idea how to work with people? Motivating and keeping staff on the same page towards a common goal is tricky business. To compound the situation is if you work in an industry where there isn’t room in the budget for leadership development or people don’t make the time to learn skills that will help them manage. Some say that there is a difference between being a leader and being a manager. Regardless if you’re managing or leading, everyone’s concerned with results and results are dependent on how you work with others.
  • I get asked a lot about career advice and how to succeed in a tough market such as politics. The fact of the matter is politics is seasonal work and staying in business as long as I have (15 years and counting) is considered an eternity. Evolving my skills as well as the types of projects I want to work on are essential to staying relevant. It’s also important that the people I work with in this industry can rely on my ability to deliver. Regardless of what industry you’re involved with there are common themes that thread throughout in determining how you can guide your own career destiny.
  • Are you pitching yourself for client work or just trying to pitch yourself into new responsibilities at work? The key to success is to show how you can solve a problem to that potential client or supervisor. I’m a big believer in “Why” – Why a business exists, why an entrepreneur is motivated and they why is equally important to the potential client in why they have a problem because you’re going to find the solution for them. Pitching yourself is never really about pitching yourself — it is more about how you bring unique ideas to solving their problems.
  • I am a Type A true and true. Although I lean on the procrastinating side which is a little wacky since Type As are always on the go with their time. Maybe I’m mellowing 😉 Are you and if not, what does it mean to work with a Type A?

Thanks for checking it out – see you next Tuesday!

— Madalene


Vote for Our Netroots Nation 2017 Panel

The Netroots Nation Conference is happening in August this year and we’d like to ask for your vote so that we can have a discussion on “Diversifying the Progressive Movement”.

We’ve got a dynamic group of people for the panel:

Moderated by Jalisa Washington, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s new Director of Diversity, my fellow panelists include Jessica Byrd from Three Point Strategies, Amber Goodwin from the Community Justice Reform Coalition, and from Solidarity Strategies, Chuck Rocha and me! This panel has the experience and creative solutions to have a spirited conversation on how the progressive movement can become more inclusive.

I hope that you will consider voting for the “Diversifying the Progressive Movement” panel. You can sign up (it doesn’t take very long!) to vote or login if you are already a member HERE. **You can vote for as many sessions as you like in a day, but you only get one vote per session per day.*** The last day to vote is THIS Friday, April 14th!

Appreciate your support in moving this dialogue forward! Thank you!

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v15

In the midst of this month, I’m on the road traveling every week so there’s a lot to do on my schedule. I was in Boston over the weekend to do a training and was energized by the work of the participants who want to get more politically engaged in their areas. It was also incredibly rewarding to see young AAPI women in high school and college who are already leading the way and who have a desire to do more. BIG LOVE to all those who participated in the training and who are making strides to increase their political engagement. #AAPIResist

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

Being able to grow with a company can be important to your career & Sheryl Sandberg has a quick tip career advice. My 2 cents is that you should spend time with your manager/supervisor to get their feedback on how you can strengthen your weaker areas. I usually spend time with my staff so that they can get an assessment so that I can also learn from them what we can do better as a team in communicating ideas and what they want to learn. Having this kind of conversation in professional development prepares you for when you need to do a formal performance review.

Need to learn sound leadership advice? These definitely fit the bill. I’m always working to be more well rounded so that I can be more self aware and better in bringing forth an environment that allows for creativity and innovation.

Over the weekend, I was conducting a campaign management training and we started talking about the Myers Briggs test (I’m an INTJ BTW). The ability to analyze a situation through intuition or data is really the basis for how we made decisions. That’s why when we train political operatives, we talk about the head and the heart. It’s a combination of data and street smarts that creates political strategy. Intuition plays a valuable role in making these decisions.

Assertiveness is an important asset. Knowing when to use it is just as important as being a leader itself. Men are lauded for it and women are considered…loud @_@ Whatever! I’m all for saying what needs to be said when it needs to be said. My demeanor in meetings is basically a sit and listen. I want to hear what’s happening and when questions come to mind, I write them down so that I can voice them when it’s appropriate. My role as a fundraiser is all about being assertive. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to raise money. Making asks as well as following up on commitments demands that you enter into uncomfortable situations, whether for you or with others. Time to get jiggy wit it and get comfortable with getting out there.

When it’s time to depart from your job, you’ll need to give notice. That means telling your boss and handing in a resignation letter. Honestly, you’ll feel like you’re riding a roller coaster and your stomach is probably doing backflips. It’s normal. I had a boss who was considered a bit of a curmudgeon but he was also a teddy bear. Understanding how they will react can also help tailor the approach in which you deliver the news. He was fine afterwards and I probably was a little overly concerned to how he would react. I’ve had to inform clients that I wouldn’t renew contracts. Just as awkward and I still have to see them at events for other clients. No need to burn bridges because you never know when you’ll have to cross the bridge again for a future opportunity.

Politics can be seen as a popularity contest. In a lot of cases, people are attracted to the virtues that include high energy and charisma. Humble may prove to be more rewarding but it doesn’t necessary highlight the “superhero” in the way that a narcissistic leader does. Read more to why we make this kind of choice in our leaders.

I think I made $26,000 a year when I had my 1st job at the DNC which was over 20 years ago! Here’s what women are making now after they graduated from college and the industry standard. #Adulting is challenging!

Thanks for reading/sharing! If you haven’t already, please subscribe – see you next Tuesday!

— Madalene



Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v14

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to speak at the GW Women In Business Spring Conference about Entrepreneurship.

Here are some of my thoughts about the questions that they asked:

Introduce yourself:
I am a political campaign strategist and I help people get elected to office. (Going back to the templates of ways that you can introduce yourself in under 20 words).

What is a risk you have taken in your career path?:
I got into politics and then I left politics to pursue a job in another industry which I thought was interesting (I started a catering business & worked in a James Beard winning restaurant) and then I left the hospitality industry because I wanted to get back into politics. My career hasn’t been linear. I’ve left my 1st career choice because I felt burnout and I thought I needed to try something different that I thought was my passion. It taught me to maintain relationships and to listen to my instincts. It’s OK to not have all the answers and even when you think you know what you want to do, you may find that it’s not cracked up to be in reality. Everything in life is a learning experience and you can do whatever you set your mind to do, but you also need to recognize what makes you passionate about your work. Since my return to politics, I haven’t had the sense of burnout like when I was in my 20s because I better understand myself and my limits. That’s not to say that my goals won’t evolve into something totally different from where I once started. That’s life – people change and how they want to approach life. “If you get tired, learn to rest not quit.” – Banksy

What advice do you have for students who have a passion for starting their own business but fear that it won’t achieve long term success?:
Have a clear vision and definition of your success. Success is a personal goal. Do not become consumed in comparison to someone else’s instagrammable life. Long term success can be 6 months, it can be 2 years, 4 years, 15 years – a lifetime – it’s all up to you. If you know that you have a quality product or service that resolves a challenge or is innovative then you can go to the market place ready to compete. Try to be socially responsible. Always be a student and learn from others. I still take other people’s classes on subject matters where I’m considered the subject matter expert. I don’t have the answers to everything and neither should you.

How did your experiences in college and your early career impact your drive to create the Arum Group?:
When I was a child, I skipped a grade and later tested into a math and science high school program. I was an athlete and was student body president. So, I was basically every single Type A person with the grades and extracurricular activities to go with it. My father passed away when I was 15 and from that moment, I became an adult. Fast forward to turning 17 then starting college 4 months later so I have always been quite independent. I was a bit naive which only helped me to dive into the deep end without much fear. I was fortunate that I was raised with enough praise and expectation that whatever vision I had for myself was always positive and that my own ambition wasn’t questioned. My parents instilled in me that I have value and that whatever project/job/career I chose, I would make an impact. So that’s a lot of self worth. Temper that with a bit of curiosity, willingness to learn things that I knew were my weaknesses and a lot of go get it attitude. All of these ingredients mixed together with a dash of I don’t want to have one boss created Arum Group. I couldn’t find a job that allowed me to be the things that I knew that I could be so I created my own luck (with everything that I try to do) so that it could lead me to the opportunities that started my own consulting firm. There are times when I think I want to close up shop but I know that I wouldn’t be happy so I have to continue to create opportunities that I find fulfilling so that Arum Group can be a company that fulfills my definition of success.

If you’re beginning your professional journey and in your 20s, you have a lot of life ahead of you to experience a lot of different things and even as you get older, you need to keep learning. Like I mentioned earlier, you need to be willing to be a student at every opportunity. A former colleague of mine was featured in the NYT about her journey as a seasoned professional at 52 and how she used her network to find the right opportunity for her.

Do you have any questions you want answered about being an entrepreneur or working in politics? Drop me a line and I’ll give them a go!

More Tuesday Truths!

It’s #EqualPayDay and we “celebrate” it so that people can be made aware of the causes and impact that are created by the gender wage gap between women and men. I’ll be training about Salary Negotiation in DC and if you can’t make that training, my colleague and friend, Tanya Tarr will be doing a free webinar on Negotiating as well. There are ample opportunities to get trained in these skills so take advantage of learning how to value your worth. If you can’t join either activity, you can read how science teaches us when to make the first offer.

Since I was talking about Entrepreneurship to a Women’s Conference, I wanted to highlight the challenges that women face in this space and guess what, the challenges are somewhat similar to what women face when running for elected office: ability to raise capital for their venture (campaign fundraising), starting earlier in life, as well as how women spend more time as a caretaker.

There are days when I can’t get my sh*z together and need to reflect on how I can better optimize my day. If I ever get to this point, can someone send me a life preserver filled with a trunk load of vodka or gin? I’d rather drown drinking a cocktail, thank you very much!

Thanks for reading/sharing & let me know what’s going on in in your world!

— Madalene