Tagged: negotiation

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 ūüôā 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!


  • 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.




  • 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.



  • 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



Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v16

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

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

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

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

Thanks for checking it out – see you next Tuesday!

— Madalene


Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Tuesday Truths!

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

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

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

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

— Madalene

Tuesday Truths 2017 Edition v9

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It’s a new era at the Democratic National Committee with the recently elected Chair (the 1st Latino to helm the organization) as well as a diverse group of leaders providing support to the communities that will organize across the country. We have no time to waste so let’s get to work!

Here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Over the weekend, I spoke at American University’s Women in Politics Institute and I was part of a panel that spoke about fundraising. One of the things we discussed was call time. Two very familiar words that candidates and elected officials must learn to endure when they want to run for office. Oftentimes during call time, you’ll be calling people who don’t know you asking them for money. One of the things that must happen is the candidate/elected official needs to establish a rapport with the other person. That can be challenging if you’re an introvert or borderline introvert. Connecting with people draws them in to your ideas and your candidacy. Here are 5 tips to establish that rapport.
  • Wonderful graphs and diagrams to better understand how to get smart. I try to work on each aspect a bit although the book reading is more challenging. I like reading smaller amounts of a lot of different topics and reading a book can sometimes be too much of a commitment. It’s obviously more than just reading because life demands you to be present on different levels. Noticing others while understanding people’s “whys” leads to better understanding how to layer that information.
  • I’m always up for friendly competition. There are a great deal of women who are in my field and most of us have worked with one another or have referred business to one another. ¬†That kind of competition is healthy because it makes us each work at our highest level. Regardless of the kind of¬†industry you work, business trends are hardly¬†stagnant and being on top of the most innovative concepts brings new ideas to the table. Be sure to use¬†healthy competition as a way to turn it to your advantage.
  • Would you mind sharing your opinions with me? Please take this annual survey (4 questions) so that I can bring you the types of topics that you find most important. Thank you for taking the time!

Thanks for reading/sharing! Look forward to hanging out with you here next Tuesday!

— Madalene



Tuesday Truths 2016 Edition v44

One more week! I’m looking forward to closing this chapter of the 2016 election and optimistic for what’s to come. In the meantime, here’s Tuesday Truths!

  • Most of you know that I volunteer with the Women’s Information Network (WIN)¬†— check out their newly designed webpage! —¬†and one of the objectives is to create an environment where women can find mentors organically and maintain a deep relationship so that it’s beneficial to all those involved. What’s important to remember is that regardless of where you are in life, you can always help those who are in the beginning stages of their career. If you’re a staff assistant, you would know the trials and tribulations of working as a junior member of a team. You can help those who are looking for their first jobs after school and it would be meaningful to them to know how you navigated to your 1st professional gig. We all have the ability to pay it forward. It’s a matter of us taking the time and if you’re not sure how to go about it, you can take a look at these mentoring tips.
  • In my 20s, I spent a short amount of time out of my current field to entertain the idea of trying something new. I switched career paths and found that although my new position was interesting, it wasn’t particularly fulfilling. I decided to go back into politics and I think there’s going to be more career changes in my future! If you decide to make a change, here are stories from 8 women who learned what it meant to make a career change.
  • Life is never perfect. Your professional life isn’t always going to be perfect, no matter how many times you think that you’ve achieved your goal of obtaining the “perfect” job. Learning to cope with the obstacles will allow you to maneuver the bumps as you move forward in life. There will be times when you need to exercise your brain to re-focus when you’re facing a challenging time.¬†All it takes is 3 seconds to find your joy!
  • Making friends can be a daunting task, especially when you get older. Social media these days has allowed us to get better with making connections that are real, although not necessarily IRL. I’ve had some delightful conversations with people who I frequently talk with on twitter or instagram and even though we haven’t met IRL, I know that I would find them to be as interesting. When you’re in the flesh, making friends is really a ritualistic form of courting someone. How do you know? By making an impression through interaction. My closest friends aren’t in the area anymore so I’ve had to adjust to finding new relationships that would make life a bit happier.
  • I’m all for more women running for office. If you’re progressive and also from a community of color then I’m all even more for it! One of the things that we’ve learned about engaging women to run as a candidate is that it takes multiple overtures for us to get women to run. We face self doubt and a huge case of imposter syndrome. So how can you help in closing the confidence gap? Encourage a woman to run!
  • Is this another Year of the Woman, where Congress gets an influx of women elected officials? Will it help to fix Congress in having more women legislators? According to this study, Democrats will not have a problem in encouraging women to run, however the GOP will face a massive crisis if they continue to lose women in their recruitment.
  • So I gotta close out this week’s edition with an article written by Tanya Tarr on defining trust in negotiation. I was recently a part of a speed mentoring event and we touched on negotiation as part of what you’ll have to face as you progress into your careers. Ask these 4 questions each time to test the waters of trust.

One more week! Thanks for reading/sharing!

— Madalene




Tuesday Truths 2015 edition v40

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Whew! We made it through the 3rd QTR which means that we’re really gearing up for what’s to come next year. Full speed ahead! To prepare myself for #Election2016 all the time, I know that I will need a break from all that discussion to think about something else. As a result, I decided that I would brush up on my French language skills so I’m working with a private instructor to use a different part of my brain. I have a love for Harry Potter for the sheer fact that it saved me during the 2004 Election because no matter how late my day ran, I ended my evening reading a book to step away from the crazy. What do you do to take a breather? Share with me your ideas!

Here’s to Tuesday Truths!

  • When I get laser focused, you can bet that I don’t have a lot of time for extraneous activities in life. I weigh my commitments heavily and commit to them so that I can meet expectations. Here’s an entire list of things that I no longer do because experience and age have told me that it’s not worth it.
  • DC can be rather intimidating in its culture and it’s so important to have people who are in your corner. YOUR TRIBE! I truly enjoy seeing my friends succeed. They push me to do better and they know that I will help them to reach their goals. I’m not perfect and I try to check myself when I start moving along a path that isn’t healthy. Here are a few ways to remind yourself how you can be a better cheerleader and a true friend.
  • My professional life as a fundraiser has had some really extraordinary moments: presidential fundraising dinners, working with some incredibly wealthy people who really do have a lot of informed opinions on how this town and the rest of the country should work, getting irate calls from donors when something doesn’t go their way, and of course hiring a mariachi band and placing an order for 50lbs of pork butt. The fun never ends! Most of my work pertains to donor management. Matchmaking in a sense. Listening to donors when they need an ear with no action behind it. Compared to some of my other colleagues who work in development, campaigns can be a fast moving ship because at times, we can re-direct conversations about policy. Bigger organizations that do development have a much bigger bureaucracy to navigate and as a result have less power to wield in meeting a donor’s “recommendations”. It’s a fine line in pitching to a donor and accepting¬†their money while taking their advice.
  • I have a degree in Political Science and although I work in politics, I don’t really use the theory of what I learned in college in my everyday life. I always say that there is an art and science to doing fundraising. Research (science) allows us to see people’s giving habits and how they are swayed by particular issues. It’s the art of articulating that information that allows us to get a message across that shows that we’ve done our homework. Life is also a mix of art and science. I’m equating art with instinct¬†and there are times when you have to listen to your inner antennae.¬†Sometimes all you can do is trust that your instincts are taking you beyond what you’ve researched. I can write different scenarios of how a call or meeting might go but it’s the moment that teaches us so much more.
  • Are you working towards building your confidence? Here’s a terrific infographic on how you can put the pieces together to get your mojo flowing.
  • Relationships thrive under active listening. People in those relationships are making a concerted effort to understand how each person is dealing with specific issues. The more you understand how a person operates, the more you can make them feel significant. My MO is that I cook for the people I care about and I enjoy having them over at my home or dropping off whatever meal/cake I made over the weekend for us to share. In my professional life, I make an effort to remember people’s narratives so that the next time I see them, I can ask about a particular moment that they find memorable. It’s those small things that make people feel that you care.
  • Working with finance committees aren’t that different from nonprofit boards when managing personalities and getting people to meet their commitments. Here are a few tips that you can use to help you if you’re dealing with board management.

Thanks for sharing/reading & if you haven’t already – subscribe!

— Madalene