Tagged: millennials

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!

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  • 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.

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  • 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 ūüėČ

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  • 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!

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  • 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 Beyonc√© 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 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 2016 Edition v42

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Taking deep breaths! I hope you’re having a great week! I’m ready for Election Day and to head out for a break. Any suggestions on someplace warm I can visit? Remember to give yourself time to decompress and to give yourself self-care. If you don’t take care of yourself, then you can’t take care of others!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Have you been listening to the Mentoring Moments podcast? It’s great and has excellent stories/interviews on how successful women from multiple generations reached their goals. The most recent interview was with the Editor of Chief of Seventeen magazine, Ann Shoket and she’s dropping knowledge on how she got to her current position (after her 3rd attempt!). It’s the journey, people!
  • I’m always looking for ways to help people network (myself included). You can get into a rut that may be comfortable but is it really effective? Here are a few tips for a better introduction. What do you think?
  • I recently had a conversation with a friend who told me that she appreciated my habit of learning new things or at the very least trying new hobbies. I’ve talked before that I’m a Jill of all trades and a master of nothing (basically because I have so many different interests). I think regardless of how long you spend on a hobby and how deeply you delve into it, that hobby¬†is always going to make you more well, interesting. I love people who are passionate about learning something and go all in and become experts (I know who to call when it’s time to hire someone for calligraphy!). I also love the people who take an interest in learning how to play an instrument, only to find that a couple weeks/months later they’ve changed to a different hobby to pursue. It’s all good! As adults who aren’t required to attend school for educational purposes, we’re learning to enrich ourselves and isn’t that what life should be about anyway? If you don’t have time that’s fine too. Life is about spending it however way you want. If that includes changing interests every few days/weeks/months then more joy to you in your pursuit!
  • I was having lunch with a friend who is working a side hustle. There are a lot of things to think about when you start a business and even more work when you’re doing it on the side while maintaining your current work load. Here are some things to think about when you’re working your magic.
  • Since I kinda live in a bubble (majority of my friends are progressive and¬†partisan), I tend to not meet people who are in support of Mr. Trump. With that context, it helps to realize that with any situation where you have disagreement, it helps to ease people onto an exit strategy so that they have room to move in that direction. When you box people into a corner, it’s more common that they will want to dig deeper into their beliefs and fight. This isn’t about providing more evidence or facts/data. It’s about giving people who are in disagreement the space to change course without punishment. It takes a lot of patience on the part of the individual to keep an open mind towards this discipline. The urge to fight back will be overwhelming. This going to be a long road ahead after this election and it’s all a part of the process of unifying this country.

Thanks for reading/sharing! Let me know if you have any tips you care to share!

— Madalene

 

Tuesday Truths 2016 Edition v39

I don’t know about you, but I am stressed out! My life is constantly about sorting out the details. Where is my client; where are they going; what’s the purpose of this call; breaking it down to tangible and easily consumed pieces of information. Even when I feel overwhelmed, I think that my clients have it worse. They have millions of pieces of information flowing towards them and all that they can do is absorb it and hope to filter out extraneous information to make clear decisions. We are closing in on weeks before the Election and all I can do is do the best that I can to make it to the end (in one piece). Hold on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • I work in short term gratification with my donors. This kind of psychology can only lead to disappointment if you’re looking for immediate results or success so learning to be more patient and to roll with something that doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome is something I need to work on. It’s also considered one of the most important qualities of someone who has achieved great success. Learn more about what else are common practices who are deemed “superachievers”.
  • If you’re looking for inspiration to recharge your career, learn how you can reinvent yourself without quitting your job. It sounds hard to do because let’s face it, there are times when the environment is toxic and it’s working against you. That doesn’t mean that you can’t change the rules. If you’ve been in an industry long enough, you know the players and people’s expectations but you can turn it on its head. I’ve been looking for ways how I can reinvent my own career and these ideas have given seed to a few creative outlets.
  • Along that mindset, I know that I have a few readers out there who are in the same boat with thinking about how to thrive as we approach midlife. You crazy youngins’ aren’t the only ones trying to navigate your way through personal and professional crises ūüôā Once you think that you have something mastered, something else becomes an obstacle. For the longest time, I was the youngest person in the room and now, I’m one of the more “seasoned” operatives :/ Along with mastering a skill, comes the potential of boredom and what I’m learning is that there are always new ways to do the same thing. I continue to carve time out for things for me to learn that have nothing to do with my professional life. So if you see me with my headphones on, I’m likely to be listening to a French lesson¬†and I’m fortunate to be associated with WIN, where the young women who comprise this organization keep me in awe of their audaciousness and espirit de corp of their sisterhood. So to all of my millennial sisters, I welcome you to the next¬†generation who will inspire¬†you as much as you have encouraged me. You’ll probably have a similar situation when you reach your “seasoned” years so keep striving for your goals even after you achieve them.
  • When I’m this stressed out, I tend to go inward. I was on the phone earlier today with a colleague of mine who mentioned that we have inadequately kept in touch (we equally share responsibility). It can be challenging when there aren’t enough days/hours in the week to do all that needs to be done. I recognize that when we get into this crazy mode, we’re¬†channeling as much energy to stay focused. Adrenaline kicks in and we’re wafting through the motions just to get through. I honestly have serious brain drain. As in I can barely think straight. I am so overextended that it takes every ounce of strength to manage my day, get enough rest and to do it again the next day and the next day, until finally we reach the end. So it’s a good reminder that there are 20 different things that I can do to improve my current situation. Do I do all of them – hell no but getting to a couple are making me a more sane person ūüôā
  • Looking for inspiration on how entrepreneurs got their start? There’s a great podcast that addresses that particular topic – How I Built This. Learn about their stories and what they went through to get to where they are today.
  • This is an oldie but goodie article from 2007 and it still resonates today.¬†Becoming the boss¬†isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be because the “control” that you think you have is really an illusion. Managing up and down is exhausting and if anything, it makes me sometimes wonder if I can go back to the days when I didn’t have any responsibility and was a junior staffer. What is extremely fulfilling is knowing that I can engage in teamwork and my team acknowledges that the office is a team. I will stand by them when things don’t go as planned and I will applaud them and give them credit for outstanding work. It’s only together that we can provide the kind of attention to detail and work product that exemplifies the brand that we’ve created.

Alright – that’s it for this week – let me know what you think! Thanks for reading/sharing and see you next Tuesday!

— Madalene

 

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v28

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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 v24

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As I look to my schedule, I can see that my summer is well planned with lots of work projects. Fall has always been my favorite season because of the change of temperature and we’re in the heady days of campaigning. I’ve always worked in places where we’re bundling up and finishing the night’s work with whatever baseball game is on for the World Series. My colleagues who work in the warmer states, I have no idea what it feels like to campaign in shorts and it always makes me feel a bit out of place in the same way when I’m celebrating Christmas and there are palm trees around me. This is my 11th campaign season as a political operative and although technology has changed tremendously (I remember when it was 1996 and I was using a thermal fax machine to transfer phone banking information!), I know that what really matters is that you understand how your district wants to be communicated and how to message them so that they want to listen to your message. This will always be about connecting with people and talking with them in the mediums that they want to communicate, whether that’s one on one in a face to face (door to door) or by text message. Understand that people want to be heard and will engage when they see that you want to understand them.

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Did you get a chance to catch my FB hangout with Tammy Gordon when we talked about the Joys and Challenges of Being Your Own Boss? If not, you can hop over to the Arum Group FB and take a look see! If you thought it was helpful, please feel free to share it! Much thanks to Tammy and her team member, Christina Giordana for taking the time to hang with me and to Arum Group Team members, Hyunju Bin and Samantha Ng for designing the graphic and for setting up all the tech pieces! #BOSS
  • One of the topics that Tammy and I didn’t cover was the juggle of having a life partner in the equation. Occasionally I will get asked this question about balancing my work and the life that I’m creating with my spouse. One variable I don’t have is children, which in itself is a totally different dynamic. I, along with my spouse made a very conscious decision early in our lives that we would not have children and I strongly believe that this decision is unique to everyone. Only you know what is best for your life and I’ve had conversations with people who have vehemently disagreed with my choice. My response to them is “You don’t live my life, I do and your choices are yours so I will also choose to not judge your decisions because I will never really know the challenges and happiness that you enjoy but I will be supportive of whatever you choose.” End of conversation. There are going to be times when you won’t have the attention span to give to your partner and as in the case of the author of this article, she didn’t have an infrastructure for her business when she fell in love. Each relationship can be intoxicating – you’re in love with your work life and in love with your partner. What kind of infrastructure/support system can you create to make it work?
  • We live in a world of busy (which I personally hate) because everyone likes to think that it’s perfectly normal to be out of control with their schedules. Don’t get sucked into the world of busy! I completely understand that the to do list can be crazy! The ability to focus on a large project can be daunting when your to do list is 10 feet long. Here are ways to be more productive. Don’t multi-task and find when you’re likely to do your best work. I know the type of conditions I need to get big thinking, which leads to big doing done. I can’t have music playing, unless it’s classical; if the tv is on then it can be the news and sometimes I can put on a cooking show on mute; no emails and no other social media apps to distract me. Most importantly, I set a timer. I estimate how long it’s going to take me to get that project done and I take that time to focus. I reward myself by checking my social media apps to see what’s going on in the world while I was working. One of the things that I need to work on is meditation. Every article that I read talks about its effects and I need to get on that train! What tips are helpful to you in being more productive?
  • I work with non-profits to help them with their fundraising and we often talk about how donors are “investors” to these organizations. What’s frustrating is that even when we speak in “for-profit” terms, we’re still working with unrealistic expectations for non-profits. If you work directly in non-profits, I HIGHLY¬†RECOMMEND reading Nonprofit with Balls.¬†Every time I read this blog, I find myself nodding my head and laughing while simultaneously wanting a glass of wine because I think it will make it all better. In all seriousness, it provides a serious lens to the environment that many non-profits face. Changing how we view ourselves and what we want others to know about the work that we do will hopefully educate those who think that non-profits are less serious than for-profit entities.
  • I live in the bubble of the Beltway. It’s a very privileged life and I realize that if I want to know what’s going on in the world, I need to listen to those who are not in this enclave. When I started campaigning, I would work elsewhere to see what topics were important to people who don’t live and breathe politics everyday (you know, normal people). Everyone’s¬†financial situation is unique and learning how others live makes me reflect on what money can buy. Here are the stories of 4 women with 4 different incomes and how they afford to live their lives.
  • How much does self doubt rear its nasty head in your life? There are days when it’s screaming in mine, but I take a deep breath and listen to MY voice, the only sound that matters. I think of myself as pragmatic. There are times when I’ve tried a few things that didn’t work out and I chalk that up to finding the right rhythm to get into a groove. Did that work? No, well then let’s try something different. I grew up getting straight A’s – all the time. It’s a horrible feeling! Yes, the joy of having excelled at subjects transitions to Oh shiz, I gotta do it again next quarter, next semester, next year. The 1st time I got a B, I freaked out that my parents would be disappointed in me (they were fine). The kinds of expectations that I put on myself were making me tough and giving me habits to apply to other things outside of school, but it also made me question whether I should do something if I thought it wouldn’t be PERFECT. GAWD – I love perfect – when nothing goes wrong and everything comes out just like you envisioned. Fear of not getting something done perfectly or even done as well as your peers can lead to paralysis. Throw in self doubt and you have created a lethal dose of destruction. Self doubt got nothing on you.
  • Every day that I work in politics, I come to the realization that my job is to be part of the story telling mechanism that promotes my clients. It’s the best productive thing you can do to create a brand and solidify a reputation. When I meet a candidate, one of the 1st things I ask is, “What’s your story?”. Why? It gives me a sense of how they’re pitching themselves to prospects, donors, influencers, the media, you name it! We talk about the elevator pitch and this is essentially it. What makes you unique and what makes you memorable and above else, what makes you relatable to people who you’re convincing to vote for you, give you money, and what other asks you have of them. This also applies to your own individual narrative. You need to learn these skills to be an effective leader. Leading a team involves so much more than commanding¬†directives and project management. It means sharing your vulnerabilities and being authentic. You value people (and brands) when they’re honest and when they’re welcoming. That can lead to admiration and respect – qualities that any brand would want.

That’s it folks – let me know your comments and like/share the post! Thanks for reading!

— Madalene

 

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v19

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I’m still reflecting on last week because it was fun filled and also so jam packed with the start of AAPI Heritage Month! By the time I got to Saturday afternoon, I was exhausted but it was the kind of exhaustion that comes with knowing that I got a ton of shiz done! I hope that you’re finding life to be fulfilling! The House is BACK so what does that mean? We’re diving into the deep end for the next 3 weeks before they go back to district work period. Let’s go!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Last Saturday I had so much fun doing a fundraising training for the Women’s Information Network (WIN). A great crew came out on a Saturday morning (just when the sun started to make an appearance!) and spent the next 90+ minutes with me getting knowledge bombed ūüôā PLUS! I captured it on Facebook LIVE so if you want to get a very basic understanding on political fundraising then stop by my personal¬†Facebook page and catch the video in the news feed. If you have questions, leave me a comment in the comments section of the video and I can respond!
  • One of the things that I talked about in the fundraising 101 is that you have to get very comfortable talking with people who are complete strangers. You do it on the phone and you do it in person. A good way to practice is at networking events! Here are 6 ways that you can talk with absolutely anybody and not have them think that you’re a complete wack-a-doodle ūüôā
  • The number one question that I get when I do candidate trainings on fundraising is “How do I start when I don’t know when I’m going to run” and my answer is massage, nurture and grow your list. That list is uniquely yours and the more you stay connected with people by bringing them value, the more you’ll be able to turn key a fundraising operation when you decide to run for elected office. It works in politics in the same way that it works in corporate networking. You don’t want a massive amount of business cards laying around with no value – it doesn’t help you and it certainly doesn’t help the person who is on the card! I keep a database of people who are my rolling network. I meet people ALL. THE. TIME. What’s important is how we connect, keeping that connection, AND most importantly – HOW I CAN HELP THEM! Here’s a great article on networking that makes it so simple!
  • One of the best parts of political fundraising is that the skills you learn doing it are actually transferable to other industries! I have a good number of colleagues who are former politicos who have moved into non-profit fundraising, donor management, development at educational and arts institutions. When you think about the skills necessary for any kind of political organizing, you can see where it can be quite useful in a corporate setting.
  • It’s graduation season so there’s a new crop of recent college graduates on the look out for new jobs and in a few months time,¬†people will be leaving their jobs to start graduate studies and return to the full time student life.¬†It’s the ebb and flow of the hiring process. Here’s wonderful advice on the steps you need to take to find a job, no matter what!
  • Here’s a fascinating article discussing the differences between Men and Women on their charitable giving. The studies shows that single women are more likely to give to charity than single men. Now if that could translate into politics…
  • I need to give a shout out to my very first finance associate, Jian Zapata Kim. She was recently featured by the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association in honor of AAPI Heritage Month and from the time she started at my office as an intern, she continues to make the world a better place. She has always carried herself with grace and with such a demanding job, continues to find ways to be an ever ready team player, friend and colleague. I look forward to witnessing her many other accomplishments in the years ahead!

That’s a wrap! Thanks for reading/sharing and let me know your comments! Don’t forget, you can view my video on political fundraising 101 on the Arum Group Facebook page and you can leave me questions!

— Madalene

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v18

WOW – We’re in the month of May!!! Can you believe it?? It also means that we’re celebrating¬†Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (#APAHM2016). This week is particularly busy because although the House is out of session, we’ve got Asian Prom and so so so many events throughout the week and the month. I love my people!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • This week is also Week of WIN! What does that mean? It means YOU have a whole week to get to know¬†more about WIN and to get involved in all of the great activities! Learn more here. On May 7th at 11am Eastern, I’ll be conducting a fundraising training as part of Week of WIN so RSVP here. There may also be some Facebook live action on my Facebook work page. TUNE IN!
  • As a professional woman, I like to think that I get treated in the same manner as my male colleagues. When you’re in a senior leadership role, it can be daunting to be one of the boys and the question always remains of whether or not you’re ever really accepted as part of the cool crowd. When it’s in doubt, don’t be afraid to assert yourself. I don’t watch morning television, however I couldn’t help but notice the brouhaha over the announcement of Michael Strahan’s departure from Live With Kelly and Michael.¬†Office politics playing out on national news is never good and of course, I’m not privy to the internal workings of network programming, however it was a clear¬†example of how women are treated in senior leadership and the repercussions of asserting your authority. It’s a high cost of being¬†a woman in charge.
  • I think I have a theme here about women being in charge! Another issue that women in charge face is a higher scrutiny of their mistakes. We’re not perfect people – no gender is – and yet, women are more criticized when mistakes happen. When men dominate across a majority of industries, it’s a challenge for women to go beyond the negative descriptions when we’re in leadership positions. Gender stereotypes only deepen criticism.
  • Since we’re in #APAHM2016 mode, learn more about the AAPI community and bust the model minority myth! Although I’m an active member of this community, I learned a great deal about how to combat the stereotypes and not fall into generalizations about my community. The more you know!
  • I first met Frank Wu when he was in DC and he would support the campaigns of my clients. He continues to give sage advice to AAPI young professionals in one of his recent Huffington Post articles. I think it should be required reading for any AAPI who is starting their professional career regardless of their choice of industry. Read up!
  • I have a lot of colleagues in the political fundraising space that are women and often times, we maybe the sole female in senior leadership on a campaign. It could be perceived that women are better at it (I like to think that women are great at everything!) and¬†KQED even did a story on Why do Women Dominate Political Fundraising. I have a lot of ideas about it that I can share at a later time.

Thanks for sharing/reading – tell what you’re up to this week!

— Madalene

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v17

Photo credit via

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

 

 

 

Tuesday Truths 2016 edition v15

With Congress returning today, we’re moving full steam ahead with a plethora of fundraising events. Time to raise that money! I’m also looking forward to being on a Mentoring panel this week for the Young Leadership Network (YLN) for the Association of Government Relations Professionals (AGRP). I’ve done this in previous years and it’s a fun way to meet people in the government affairs industry. What projects/events are you most excited about this week?

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Having Congress gone meant that I had time to do work and to assess how my year is going so far. I’m not a fan of “being busy” and I’ve made a more conscious effort to pursue other opportunities that are more aligned to my professional goals. If you don’t take the time to reflect on whether you’re living a life of value,¬†then you’re missing out on times when you can be leading a fuller life. Coasting is not my nature so whenever I feel a little complacent, I know that it’s time to mix it up. I’ve always been a believer in creating my own luck!
  • Which leads me to there are less than 9 months before the end of the year!!! That crazy feeling that time is slipping away is REAL! Here’s how you can get a handle of reaching your goals. I’m a big fan of calendaring EVERYTHING – gym, personal appointments, health appointments and scheduling my life around those things so that I know if I’m really giving myself a chance to achieving work/life balance.
  • We’ve all got Decision Elves lurking in our everyday lives. It’s a risk to do anything in politics – you never know if the candidate you’re working for is going to win or if the incumbent you have is going to lose. Life has a way of figuring it out for you and it’s that mental game that you must play to see if you can handle the older version of yourself reflecting on the challenges you’re facing now. Everyone has a level of risk that they’re willing to take – do you fly off the deep end or play it safe? You can’t make everyone happy with your decision but for one person: YOU. Knowing of others who have risked it all and made it through is good for acknowledging the possible. Take a moment to figure out what you’re really willing to risk.
  • Decision Elves are related to the Choice Fairies. We all make choices in life in how we want to spend our time. It’s called prioritizing. You always make time for the things that are most important and that is ultimately a choice. My ability to improve my French is solely based on how often I commit to practice and I mean in a whole hearted way; not “the I’m busy reading the same sentence from my French novel a million times because I’m distracted and not really reading”. As I start to work on a project that means I’m helping an organization shed its excess to reach a tighter argument on why prospects should financially support them, it also highlights for me what excess I want to shed so that I’m running a more efficient life that puts into place¬†the foundation in achieving my goals. Hmmmm…pretty powerful stuff when you start recognizing that shedding the excess really does bring you to the core of yourself.
  • I hear that a lot of you want to start your own consulting business one day and that’s fantastic! You’re probably one step ahead of me because you’ve started thinking about your business plan. If you haven’t then here’s a template on the how to’s. I’m going to use it to see if I can actualize my Korean spa.¬†Find a mentor and network like crazy!
  • Whenever I do trainings, I’m always fascinated with learning all the new technology and the psychology of a voter. Polling certainly outlines the potential of a race and how certain pressure points are affecting voters’ choices in candidates. With states doing all kinds of different things in this election, it was interesting to read the forecast of election 2016 from this perspective.
  • In an effort to highlight more people who have created their own luck, I¬†want to share profiles of people who inspire me to be as fierce as them – in business, in community, in life. I hope that their work ethic, drive and passion spur you to make your dreams into reality. Today, I’m highlighting Annie Choi of Found Coffee in Los Angeles. I’ve only met Annie once and it was through a mutual friend. I later learned that a work colleague of mine is also a patron of Annie’s coffee shop and that Annie’s sense of community is felt everyday (whether she’s there or not!). Annie and I became friends over Facebook and I’ve had a lot of fun observing her life with her team and her customers. You can read more of Annie’s story here. If you’re a fan of coffee and baked goods, you’ll want to visit the next time you’re in the LA area! Is there¬†an inspiring figure you want to share with us? Let me know!

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

— Madalene