Tagged: diversity

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v37

We’re back to regular programming with a full work week! Hope that you’re finding your rhythm after the summer break. The weather is starting to get cooler and that puts me in a good mood. I’m finding joy in the little things in life because when life keeps coming at you, finding the happiness in the small joys can do a lot to lift your spirits.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • If you’ve been reading the blog, you would know that I’m a big believer in making your own luck. You might feel like you don’t know how to start making change and all it takes are small and consistent steps to get you where you want to go. There are times when I’m a hot mess and when I get to that stage, I re-assess where I’m heading. Do I feel out of sorts because I haven’t written things down? Am I acknowledging that there’s a plan and if not, what am I doing to put together one? This chart can help you get started, however you can choose to ignore some of the fashion related tips (or all of them!) although it may help you if you want to have more focus on your wardrobe along with the rest of your work life.

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  • As a self described ambivert, I know when the introvert and extrovert parts of my personality are out of whack. When I’m at conferences or bigger events, I usually am connecting with people who I already know and get introduced to people who are a part of other people’s networks. During these times, I try to stay engaged and not allow my brain to wander. Finding ways to connect can be challenging and if you treat it in a way that allows you to be authentic, you’ll be able to find people who are working towards similar goals. If you’re looking for ways to prepare yourself for those days when you need to be more “on” then you may find these tips helpful.

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  • Being self aware is critical to being a good manager/leader and it also works towards your brand. You can have internal reflection as well as external awareness to help you take notice of how you view yourself vs how others see you. Taking a temperature from your network can give you a better sense of that internal/external alignment. Doing this can open your eyes to more objectivity and you can do the work, if necessary, to correct any negative behavior.

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  • Studies show that getting enough sleep per night over time can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and you can reap daily benefits of better concentration, enhanced creativity, and good mood vibes (who doesn’t want more of that?!). As I’ve gotten older, I can feel the difference in my performance when I don’t get enough sleep. I feel sluggish and my brain seems to work in the slowest drive possible. Here are do’s and don’ts for a better night’s rest.

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  • I hope you’re taking steps to keep your mental health in tip top shape. I’ve mentioned in the blog that I’m just mentally exhausted which leads me to physical exhaustion because I lost my pick up and go. The energy that I once had no longer exists and I’m slowly digging myself out of the hole so that I can return to a more positive place. If you’re looking for an assist, here are 7 mental health apps that may give you a boost.

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  • The 10 essential ways to plan a successful day was once my life. I have fallen off the wagon HARD and it’s been such a process to get myself into a routine that I actually enjoy. There are obstacles and challenges that continue to mentally block me from getting to a better place and I’ve given myself the space to say that I will return to a routine when I’m up to it. When I was in a good rhythm these things were important for me to get organized and to feel a sense of accomplishment when I ended my day. What works for you?

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  • Everyone knows that I’m all for creating opportunities for diversity and women, especially from communities of color. It doesn’t matter the industry, women are lacking in senior level positions throughout and when you talk about winemakers in the Champagne region of France, you’re talking about a handful of women when there are close to 5,000 winemakers total. Lindsey Tramuta recently wrote an article for Food & Wine on The Women Working to Bring Diversity to Champagne and it’s an interesting read, not only for the history but also for what women winemakers are doing to improve the situation. So the next time you have some French bubbles, think about whose making it!

Thanks for reading/sharing – see you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v33 SPECIAL EDITION: Charlottesville

I hope you’ve had a chance to process what happened over the weekend and have given yourself space to be with people who love you and care about your well being. Life should not be lived in a continual place of fighting for self preservation. Everyday people of color, immigrants from all backgrounds, those who aren’t male/straight/abled bodied are fighting for equity and to be VALUED. You would think that in 2017 this kind of racism, sexism & straight forward hatred wouldn’t exist.

Yet it does and we must continue to stand with one another. Even from within the progressive movement, we remind one another to give space to those who don’t look like us. I’m reminded as an AAPI woman to look to those who aren’t like me to also be in the story and to highlight their work/accomplishments. We are not perfect and we strive to be better. It requires all of us to call out our friends and to be conscious of correcting mistakes. We can’t avoid our history and we must take action to protect one another.

A friend shared her story of being spit on & verbally abused while traveling in a full subway car in a large metropolitan city. This is unacceptable. We can’t be afraid to stand with one another and myself being half white, I look to my white allies/partners/accomplices to be brave. I understand that that it takes courage to stand up when the circumstances can be dangerous or putting yourself in bodily harm. You can be a part of the solution by having those difficult and awkward AF conversations with the people in your lives who don’t consider themselves racist but yet demonstrate that they are racists. Senator Boxer recalls a time in her youth when her mother made her confront a friend who she knew did something wrong. Its our fear of confrontation and what it can bring that causes us to let things slide. In our head and in our heart, we know it’s wrong and standing up for what’s right can make a difference. How do you go about having these conversations if you’re white? By meeting people halfway and not attacking them. This level of racism didn’t happen overnight so having one conversation isn’t going to eradicate this mentality. The responsibility can’t be on only communities of color to have these conversations.

I applaud the parents who are teaching their children about the weekend events and how society can rear its ugly head. Those conversations are helping to create adults more aware of the injustices in the world who are ready to face it as well as combat it. Raising resilient children who are self-confident and empathetic to others is already challenging. Add in this kind of environment and it makes me say an additional prayer. Fortunately, there are resources where you can find books/articles that can teach young people and adults how to have conversations about race, gender, class so much thanks to my colleague, Amber Goodwin for organizing it.

As little people get older, especially young girls who are maturing in adulthood, I’m glad to see that Teen Vogue is leading the way in using its platforms to have a discussion on racism. Earlier in the weekend, they devoted their twitter account to discuss Charlottesville and racism instead of live tweeting the Teen Choice awards. They used this time to also share where people could donate or show their support of the counter protestors and Black students returning to UVA. They also have an article on their website on how to help. Being a teenager is already hard so having media outlets talking about these tough issues to this demographic deserves all the props.

Please be kind to yourself. This year has been brutal and it continues to wear us down mentally, physically, & emotionally. Be with your tribe, talk with a professional about your feelings, process your emotions and gather your strength. There will be times when it will seem too much and that’s when you need the support of friends and loved ones to tell you that we will prevail. I recognize that there are challenges from within my community and any rage that I feel needs to be channeled into productive outlets. To alleviate the stress, use these relaxation techniques from the Mayo Clinic.

Thank you for reading/sharing and feel free to drop me a note in the comments section!

— Madalene

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v32

I’m looking forward to Thursday as I’ll be at Netroots Nation – whose going? Much thanks to all of you Arum Group readers who voted for my panel, “Diversifying the Progressive Movement”. If you’re attending, drop by the 1pm session at Regency VI. If you aren’t attending, you can still stream the session at 1pm eastern on Thursday, 8/10 or you can go directly to Netroots Nation’s Facebook page. How’s your summer coming along?

In the meantime, Tuesday Truths!

  • Having cordial work relationships are important to creating a sense of partnership & collaboration when circumstances necessitate it. When I think about working in politics, I think about the people who I’ve had the privilege to work with throughout the years. Sometimes we worked closely and intensely while at other times, we may have been in different departments and would say, “hello” to one another during staff meetings. Your reputation is important as it will always precede you and when you have the opportunity to introduce someone, sharing how their work product is an asset to the team goes a long way in highlighting that person’s value. Saying nice things about your colleagues not only brings positive benefits to them, but to the person saying them as well.

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  • My work area is a pit of paper. It’s managed chaos at its very best because although it may look like I have no idea what’s going on, I really do know where everything is located. Some say that it’s genius while others would leave screaming from the sight of it all. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine did a snap of his desk where it was immaculate. Everything in its place without a single piece of paper in sight. I snapped him saying that my desk would look like that on my 1st and my last day of work. My productivity doesn’t necessarily decrease from my chaos so I’m not about to change what already works but if you need to re-organize your office area, here are tips to becoming more streamlined.

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  • In politics, people tend to confuse strategy with tactics. Along the same lines, people sometimes are too busy executing that they don’t have the bandwidth to really think about the long term trajectory of an organization. This requires strategic thinking and an allotment of time to actually think. The concept of thinking, where ideas can ruminate and grow to become 3 dimensional thoughts requires people to expand their capacity beyond tactics.

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  • Showing up is half the battle. People succeed in whatever kind of environment (whether it be professional or personal) because they consistently show up. If you seriously want to reach a goal, you have to write it down and you have to create a pattern so that it starts a habit. Want to lose weight? Then you need to create a plan that details what you’re doing (exercise & meal plans) so that you can execute towards a goal. To achieve those goals, you have to show up – exercise class, to the gym, walks/runs/bikes/fill in the blank exercise activity with exerted effort, healthy choices while grocery shopping, & portion control. If you don’t show up prepared for any of these things, it will take you longer to accomplish your goal(s), if you attain them at all. This is not to say that you can’t make mistakes or fall off the wagon. It does require that when those things happen, you get back to creating a habit. This also applies to your professional career because when you’re reliable with your deadlines and do what you say you’re going to do, this creates trust. People can see that you’re walking the walk and not just talk. So when you think about commitment, you’re also thinking about trust and how that affects your brand.

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  • It’s August so it should be a time when people are relaxing on summer vacation and enjoying some down time. Back to school and back to work will be here soon enough. When that happens, you may need to pull this gif out of your back pocket because when stress comes straight for you, deeply breathing is an ally that can get you through it. The act of inhaling and exhaling can create calmness and when everything is going a bajillion miles an hour, you can take a moment to step back and recalibrate.

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  • I get so many requests for coffee (which I don’t even drink!) meetings because people have heard that I care about AAPI candidates, helping women succeed as entrepreneurs or within the political industry, and because it actually does relate to my day job as a political consultant. I try my best to always help my junior staff in asking people in my network to meet with them for informational interviews etc..and sometimes the time I spend on career counseling can be excessive which leads me to when you should or shouldn’t work for free. I see it as power without accountability. People ask for my opinion because they think I have it together, although that is debatable on certain days so my brand makes you think that I have it together. Everyone has different definitions about what is successful and my friends think I’m well disciplined when it comes to how I spend my time. It’s a constant struggle and when people start taking time from me where I should be charging for that expertise, I need to push back and reclaim it (I know, Auntie Maxine said it first!). If you’re in a position where you can’t navigate between charging or doing something pro bono, you need to recognize what do you actually get out of it. Is it a monetary compensation or is it something that can deepen a relationship and/or bring more exposure to your work? Who you target for your audience will determine your price point and every activity has a price range for your cost of services.

Thanks for reading/sharing! See you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

 

It’s Not Everyday When You Make NBC News

Yesterday was a big day! I was honored to be a part of a speaker line up for the launch of the National Association of Diverse Consultants. This mission of the organization is to increase awareness to progressive campaigns, organizations and allies of consultants who can bring cultural competency and experience.

If you care to read more about the organization, check out the website, Facebook (where you can search for the launch in videos) and twitter. If you’d like to be a part of the organization, you can also sign up to become a member.

It was terrific to see that we were trending on twitter and got some incredible news coverage. Much thanks to Chuck Rocha (if you don’t follow him on twitter, get on it!) and his team, Solidarity Strategies for being the driving force in making this organization a reality.

Since I’m a fundraiser and we do our darnedest to not be in the press, it’s not everyday that I get quoted in NBC News 🙂

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v29

I’m getting ready to get back on the road again! Leaving for the Bay area to do another training and hopefully experience cooler temperatures than the DC humidity. On a non work related topic, whose been watching GoT??? I’m loving the women characters from the premiere. Lady Mormont maybe small and she doesn’t need anyone’s permission! #FeminisimRules

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

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  • Work is work and sometimes we get caught in the notion that you have to love your work to be happy in life. Life isn’t meant to be perfect because you need the ebb and flow to understand gratitude. Recognizing when the benefits of your work outweigh the challenges is really the key to understanding if you’re doing what you love. It’s probably the reason why I continue to review the past 15 years as an entrepreneur with rose colored glasses. I can barely remember the times when I wanted to throw in the towel because all of the benefits outweigh the challenges. It’s good to know what drives your purpose because when your work becomes a career, it can also be an adventurous journey. Here are a few extraordinary women who share how they made their careers into an adventure.

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  • As a woman, I know all too well the pressures that society places on my gender in both a professional and personal context. For the longest time, my own mother (who has been an independent woman for all of her life) really didn’t understand why I didn’t want to get married and because she raised a stubborn daughter, I pointedly didn’t get married when she wanted me to just so that I could say that I did it out of my own choice and not by being harangued into it. Living in DC, where everything is not normal, I see women who chose to have children later in life and women who decided to get married in their 30s+ or not at all. I have also shared how the “outside/normal” world thinks about women candidates/elected officials who are single or who don’t have children. Society continues to place pressure on gender roles and finding a workplace that takes that into consideration is extremely forward thinking. This has led to new opportunities for businesses to fill in the gaps. There are now maternity concierge services that will help women with the issues that they normally deal with so that they can focus on returning to work. It’s helpful in getting the tasks done so that women aren’t trying to do it all however it doesn’t address the same societal pressure that it’s women who have to be the ones responsible in executing these tasks.

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  • I’m trying to be more present these days which means, I don’t look at my phone. I have an app that tells me each week how much time I spend on a particular app where I’m trying to curtail my engagement. I try to spend one day of the weekend where I don’t read my email and I don’t respond to work. I don’t want my life to be a series of hours that were meant to catch up. So if you’re learning how to unplug, here are a few suggestions so that you can properly decompress and come back refreshed.

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  • We live such crazy hectic lives that it seems a little out of place to slow down. I have to be honest and tell you that I have a lot of guilt if I’m not doing a million different things (which is a horrible habit). My brain is constantly firing away at different thoughts and projects that it physically hurts when I have to focus **all** of my attention to accomplish one action. You should have seen me last week responding to my French tutor in French in an email. It’s been more than 6 months since I used my brain to speak, let alone think, in another language. You could virtually see the steam coming out of my ears because my brain was working so hard. So it’s a nice reminder to everyone, including myself that it’s OK to slow down. I used to drive a lot more than I do now and I used to listen to NPR or the BBC on the radio and I can’t do that anymore because listening to the news is too depressing. So the alternative to listening to the news is silence, which is an act of kindness to myself. Silence is so rare and I do my best thinking when there is no noise but my thoughts. Hence, my best thinking comes from when I take a shower, but maybe TMI. Nonetheless, I like driving in silence and I can say that I’m meditating (sorta).

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Thanks for reading/sharing and please don’t forget to subscribe! If you can give Arum Group a LIKE on Facebook and me a follow on twitter that would be awesome! Appreciate it! Feel free to comment below or on my other social media platforms.

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v26

OMG – it’s the end of the month and end of the QTR and we’re headed into the July 4th recess. Then it’s full steam ahead before the August recess. I’m ready for a break!

Here’s Tuesday Truths to get you through the week!

  • I believe a great deal in what Eric Liu espouses and I hope that people who have recently become active in the political process will take it to heart about being a part of a community and those who have been in the battle, allow space for those who are interested in joining. Civic life doesn’t start/stop at becoming an elected official and it grows every time someone wants to be a part of the collective mission.

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  • If you’re thinking about working in politics, doing it at a younger age has it advantages and if you’re extra fortunate to have the resources to participate, it’s even more advantageous. We’re talking long hours with very little compensation. I often say that working on campaigns can lead to many more opportunities should the campaign win and since campaigns are always understaffed, if you can excel at your job then you’re going to be successful. Campaign work is basically the equivalent of aging in dog years. You get to gain so much responsibility if people can see that you’re producing quality work. Life is good when you’re the last person standing or among the few left who survive the grind. With that mindset, it means that young people are given responsibility a lot faster than in a more structured setting and you may doubt your ability although management may seem to think otherwise. Confidence is a key factor to making sure that you don’t exude imposter syndrome as well as a healthy dose of reality from people who have more experience and are invested in your success. So if you’re in your early 20s you may benefit from hearing about Adam Litt, a former presidential speechwriter who worked in the White House at 24 years of age.

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  • I’ve spent a great deal of June speaking on panels, whether to interns or full fledge attorneys and giving lots of career advice to those who are seriously thinking about running for public office. I get asked a lot of similar questions and it basically boils down to “What would you tell your younger self about your career trajectory?”. I did tell a group that they should consider a purchase in real estate in DC because everyone says that they’re staying for 5 years and then 25 years later, they realize that they should have bought property instead of renting #beingpractical. I have also started saying that life is unfair, get used to it and don’t think you need to take giant leaps to make a difference. I try to be inspiring and in the end, I find that I would rather give practical advice because work life is never consistently rosy. As a result, I’m happy to find that Jennifer Romolini is offering career advice that most people don’t know how to share.

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Thanks for reading/sharing and let me know how you’re doing!

–Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v25

We’ve got an election today in Georgia 6 so we’ll see what happens after the polls close and we left everything on the field. #Flipthe6th

In the meantime, let’s dish about Tuesday Truths!

  • We’re in full swing with interns in DC and that means a lot of young people running around getting coffee and making copies (seriously, does that happen anymore? c’mon people, aren’t we more environmentally friendly?). Nonetheless, there are going to be people who will think that there are jobs that are not worthy of them. I may complain about it because after 20+ years working in politics, I know that when there’s work to be done, I’m going to get it done, regardless of the task. At the end of the day, I greatly respect the people who have taken years to master the simplest of tasks because before they move on to the next accomplishment, they have achieved perfection. If you’re on the 1st rung of the ladder and want to reach the top rung, you’ll have to work for it and there maybe a time when you can take several steps ahead of others. To do that, you need to have a positive image of yourself as well as your abilities and where you want to go with your goals. Take this time to mold your scope of responsibilities to something that you can be proud of on your road to leadership.

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  • Can you believe that the U.S. ranks 101st when it comes to gender equity in our national legislature?? China, Iraq & Afghanistan outrank us (frigging unbelievable). In years past, American women declined to jump into politics, but the political climate has ignited a flame within women to run for office. It’s partly our jobs to build the bench. I always like to remind people that being in politics really means being a public servant. Women warriors, we’re going to call you and I hope that you’ll take the leap!

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  • The joke from my friends is that I must have a endless wardrobe collection and I’ve had fun documenting my fashion choices via Instagram and FB. One of the 1st questions I got was when I was going to repeat wearing the same outfit. I do admit to having an extensive closet so although I have repeated, it would be many months and sometimes years in between. Who knew that it was a fashion faux pas?

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

— Madalene

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v22

Hope everyone had a good 3 day weekend! My father served in the armed forces and although he had already retired his military service by the time I was born, he reminded me of his dedication to the U.S. with his actions and through his relationships with those who served with him. I constantly grew up with stories and mementos of his military career. For example, there is a piece of jagged shrapnel that sits on the fireplace mantel of my childhood home that is a keepsake of what my father endured. He was wounded by that piece of shrapnel and kept it as a reminder. When my father passed away, my mother and I had his burial at Arlington National Cemetery and when I visit him now, I’m made more aware of how many more burials there have been in the nearly 30 years since his funeral. The markers are not of those who served in long ago battles/wars but within recent times. I see parents visiting their children, especially mothers/fathers and widows who sit on lawn chairs, sometimes with small children playing beside them while the adults keep their deceased loved ones company. Even after three decades, if I allow myself the moment, I can tear up thinking about my father so I can only imagine the grief that those left behind must feel. Military service is one of the highest honors to this country and I salute all of those who have served and continue to do so as well as give the utmost respect to the family members who support and continue on in service.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

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  • Managers, soon-to-be managers, supervisors & the like – we need you to create space for emerging talent and guess what, you’ll be rewarded with those people who step forward with them taking things off your plate! Ways that you can expand the leadership circle starts with you so let’s get cracking by changing the environment – it’s a WIN/WIN!

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  • The feedback that I’ve received from my team throughout the years is that people in my office feel valued and I take the time to invest in their progress (even after they leave Arum Group). When brands/companies/restaurants/retail establishments create a healthy work environment, teams form with the company philosophy in mind. Individuals are not just getting a paycheck, they believe in the work. When you have customer service where the employee cares about the customer because the employee knows that that’s part of the brand of the company as well as why, you have a brand that will weather more challenging times. Companies that care about their employees take the time to understand their employees’ well being. If I’m on deadline, I maybe a more irritable person and less cheery but my team knows my quirks and knows that I’m on their side to making them successful. Personality is an ever changing situation but the core of my team’s values remains the same. We fight for one another and when we make mistakes, it’s on me. I’m thankful for their work and I care about them individually. It’s important to understand that I value them and not see them as just another person who clocks in. This creates trust between us and that they can count on me as much as I can count on them.

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  • For those folks who are experiencing their 1st professional job interviews post college, you may want to review these tips to make sure you’re prepped. Some of them are very basic but better to be overly prepared then running late going to the wrong address. I had a young woman who was walking frantically in my neighborhood looking for the address for her interview (mind you, I live in a fairly residential area so not a lot of office buildings) so she knew that something was off. I asked her if she needed help and she showed me the address. Of course, living in DC is also about understanding the quadrant system and she was in NE and not NW (where she was scheduled to interview). I let her know and she was quite distraught that she was going to be late (not a good feeling when you’re trying to remain calm as you interview). It happens and you can prevent being frazzled if you advance your interview location or at the very least, check out where it is located on google maps. Happy Interviewing!

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  • Congratulations, you have the job offer! In this market, you may want to accept the 1st position offered to you but let’s take a moment to think about whether it’s the best fit. You spend so much time at work that aside from the paycheck, you might as well get something out of it for a future position.

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  • For those of us who work constantly, there is a major risk of burnout. My friends and colleagues who have moved out of DC have discovered that work life balance does exist and it’s a crazy atmosphere that drives DC professionals to becoming workaholics. Whether it’s the peer pressure of those around us who are consistently working themselves to the brink of exhaustion or the demands of our jobs, where there aren’t enough people to execute the tasks at hand, DC is a hotbed of crazy work schedules and no time to decompress. It makes us wonder if we’re really cut out for a sustained period of time of non-stop work. Does this lifestyle make us resilient because we are battling time and its effects? If anything, it makes me put boundaries on my time. I used to answer my emails every day of the week, including holidays. Instead, I have a no email Saturday. I don’t look at my emails which means I don’t answer anything and continue the cycle of work. It’s a small step in reclaiming my time and the space that is thoroughly occupied with work. I enjoy what I do so it’s not really a complaint of that type of work, but more of an assessment that I need to be more well rounded. Less work time and less guilt and more time set aside to do things outside of work. It’s nice to have coffee with someone and not discuss work! How you take the time to become resilient is less about enduring the tasks at hand and more about how you give yourself the time and space to recharge.

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  • If you haven’t seen these photos about race and power among women, then you need to check it out immediately. Representation is so important as well as breaking racial stereotypes. The images are a starting point for a deeper and more complex conversation. What do you think about them flipping the script?

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Thanks for reading/sharing! Do you have a topic that you want me to cover? If so, leave me a comment below or on Facebook or drop me a note!

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v21

I survived last week’s crush of events to celebrate AAPI heritage month. It’s always a lovely time re-connecting and forging new relationships with those who are interested in uplifting the AAPI community. There are 21 million AAPIs and we represent 6% of the population so we’re encouraging talented individuals to look at public service as a career. Oftentimes, you’ll find people who aren’t interested in running for office because the sacrifice to run and be in the public eye can be daunting.  Compared to pop culture, the majority of elected officials are not “Frank Underwood” or “Fitzgerald Grant”. As a political consultant, I can attest to not ever stealing an election or playing dirty to win. To make policy and politics “sexy”, writers have schemed scenarios that are simply way past anything that any boring campaign/election could ever contrive, with the possible exception of the 2016 presidential election. When faced with squeaky clean candidates, policy discussions and the minutiae of facts and figures can be boring. That doesn’t really draw people’s attentions. If during opposition research, you find information that can be used against your opponent, do you?  Whose the messenger? How is that executed? As a political consultant, I’m still a human being. I may compartmentalize my own emotions to work with a candidate/public official but that doesn’t affect how I treat them as a client. I’m helping them to sell their views and ideas, not mine. I’m certainly not going to do anything to jeopardize my reputation and relationships and most definitely I’m not going to jail for them by doing an illegal activity just so we win. Understanding the limits of power is also essential to really understanding what it means to be an elected official. I go to bed at night with a clear conscience that I’m using my skills to help those who are interested in serving people. Working in politics is an honorable profession, regardless of what my counterparts on tv may do.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • I get asked about what makes a good candidate and I always say that it’s important to be an active citizen. Regardless of your constituency, you have the ability to be a part of your community. I’m a DC resident and I travel across the country training and speaking about getting involved in your community so that you can think about being a public servant and get into elected office. That being said, I’m not particularly an active citizen in my own neighborhood. I trust the people who are my neighbors to help me make informed decisions about how I should vote about particular initiatives affecting where we live. I quietly volunteer for a local nonprofit and have gotten to know the people who serve our community in the everyday work that they do. If I were to run for ANC Commissioner, I would need to show up to the meetings and listen to the concerns of my fellow neighbors. I would need to understand what challenges we face and the history of the relationships that have gotten us to this point. Listening is a key factor to understanding what needs aren’t being addressed and learn how I might join the already existing infrastructure to help get those concerns remedied. If you didn’t already know, I read music and have performed for many years playing guitar and have taken many years of voice lessons, particularly in opera. My voice instructor suggested that I switch it up and take jazz instruction. Well, that was a novel idea because as a performer or instrumentalist, I’m supposed to play the music as it’s written and most people have an idea that jazz is an impromptu performance. Let me inform you that it is and it isn’t. In my jazz class, it was required that we learn the pieces as written and then and only then were we allowed to “blow it up”. In other words, learn it as it was intended and then bring your own spin. I can say the same thing about politics and activism. Being an elected official doesn’t mean you are a know-it-all. Most people like the humble aspect of public servants and when you see a problem, learn from the people who have spent years/decades/more time than you on trying to solve the situation before you decide to blow it all up. Although I don’t know the particulars of this election, it’s my understanding that a younger person challenged an older more established person who was the sitting mayor and won. People voted for the younger person in the primary because it appeared from the article that the young person had spent a lot of his youth tending to the needs to the community by revitalizing an amphitheater and voters paid attention to this individual’s enthusiasm for their shared hometown. That is the kind of candidate you want to be, regardless of age, ethnic background etc..

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  • For all those who are in leadership positions in non-profits please take heed of these myth busters. So important that we don’t perpetuate the ugly cycle that causes all of us to have burnout creep. For those who work in non-profits, share it with your leadership so that they can understand that it’s not meant to be normal. Campaigns with its limited life span has similar attitudes but we campaign hacks know that it will last for only so long because election day is looming. There is a way to have work life balance and work shouldn’t consume your life, unless you’re an entrepreneur and it’s just a way of life (totally different topic with a broad array of answers & attitudes).

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  • Going back to the basics when you need to de-stress. Make time for family/loved ones and your tribe who will help you re-charge and release negative energy. I try to not complain because life is bound to have peaks and valleys and so goes work. I enjoy politics and the energy that comes from it (#politicscanbefun) so when there comes a point to when I wonder why I’m doing something, I remind myself of why I got into this industry in the 1st place.

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  • I haven’t yet watch The Handmaid’s Tale (am I the only one?) but I read the book many years ago when I was a college freshman and it was required reading (considering that I went to an all women’s college, Newcomb College of Tulane University, it makes complete sense). Just like in feminism, solidarity to the sisterhood is defined by power and where you are in proximity to it. This article really reflects on how the women villains are so terrifying. This fictionalized novel will hopefully never become reality, however we have had very real situations in history where the women villains have played a significant role. Think back to the Holocaust, slavery, the civil rights movement and there are women who are complicit in the evils that were enacted.

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  • Going from women villains to SHEROS because these Latinas are investing in other women. This gives me so much energy and I love sharing the accomplishments of women, especially those from diverse backgrounds. These stories are about inclusiveness and bringing new stories to the table.

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  • My alma mater graduated over this past weekend – Go Tulane 2017 graduates from this 1994 graduate! Which means that there will soon be an influx of interns and new graduates commandeering the halls of Congress, the streets of DC and the metro tunnels. Every year I want to take a group of these young professional women and give them my 2 cents on what is deemed professional attire. Each industry has their standard and it’s totally up to you if you want to blend in or stand out. What’s important is that you have a work attitude that goes with your attire, one that screams, “I’m a go-getter and I have the brains to match this awesome outfit too”. People will take you seriously if you look the part with your own personality thrown in for good measure. Here are other professional women’s suggestions on what to wear if you’re an intern or if you’re starting your first career job. For the record, most people say that I always look “dressed up” (trust me, I’m not wearing a ball gown) but their definition of “dressed up” is just my regular way of putting on my armor (white hat not included, Scandal reference BTW). Occasionally I’ll get mistaken for a Member of Congress and that’s probably more a combination of someone confusing me for a real Member of Congress, the way I dress & my demeanor. That tells me that I’m wearing clothes that allows people to make that assumption because if I dressed like a “stereotypical intern” then people would mistake me for one.

Thanks for sharing/reading! If you enjoy the posts, please LIKE Arum Group on Facebook! Appreciate the support 🙂

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v20

May is Asian American Heritage Month and there are a lot of cultural and political festivities to celebrate the AAPI story. Tuesday night will be Asian Prom, where a lot of my colleagues and luminaries will be all gussied up. There’s a lot of going out and networking – just perfect for the introvert in me 🙂 Needless to say, I know how to harness my energy to make it most useful to me. There’s a whole political fundraising schedule for these kinds of events. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation has their legislative conference in September while the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute does a series of events during Hispanic Heritage month (September 15-October 15) as well. I was asked by a male colleague if I bought a new dress every time I had to attend these galas and my answer is that I have a closest dedicated to formal attire and my dresses go into rotation. It’s a good thing that Facebook has the memories feature because I can see what years I wore what dress. The dress that I’m wearing for the Tuesday night gala is a dress that I pulled from the archives. I think the last time I wore it, I attended a CHCI gala and there aren’t any photos of me in it so it’s new to you! It also helps that I have generally stayed the same size throughout the years so I can continue what’s in my closet without having to do too much damage on my wallet.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

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  • I have always said during the many trainings I’ve done that working on campaigns is like working in a start up many many times over during each election cycle. Generally, there’s not a lot of institutional knowledge and the “adult(s)” in the room are in the late 30s-60ish age group. There’s a lot of young people who are looking to move ahead. The big difference is that election cycles are short and when you work in an organization such as a start up, the payoff can be much later. The similarities, however are tremendous. So when you’re looking for a raise, take heed of some of these points and you’ll see that you have a lot ahead of you.

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  • I’m all for women empowerment and showing solidarity for my sister friends who are battling against misogyny. So when people decide that women who are not supportive of other women who are advocating policies that adversely affect women and discriminate against groups due to their bigotry, are anti-woman or not a feminist, I get extremely annoyed. Remove the gender factor and you are left with a person whose values I whole heartedly disagree with on a very base level. It’s almost the equivalent to when I work with AAPI candidates. First and foremost, my values don’t change when it comes to the ethnicity of a candidate. If you share the same values as me and you’re “fill in the blank“, then we’re going to get a long just fine. I may want more AAPIs and communities of color represented in elected office but I will not actively work with someone who advocating for anything remotely related to discriminatory views – selective sexism.

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  • From time to time, I do #ootd posts on my instagram. In all honesty, I am decidedly less creative in the winter months with my wardrobe selection than when the temperatures get warmer. Getting the chance to layer up and to wear more summer attire is more appealing than throwing on a sweater and pants on the regular. However the warmer months also means dealing with humid DC afternoons and office buildings that over compensate with cranking up the air conditioning. I’m fortunate that I don’t necessarily follow the skirt suit uniform so if you’re looking for creative inspiration for what professional attire you can wear in the summer then look no further. Elle magazine is sharing 11 women and their go-to outfits for the summer. #8 and #10 are my favorites!

Got any questions for me? Drop me a note in the comment section or send me an email!

Thanks for reading/sharing! See you next Tuesday!

— Madalene