mentors

The Era of Cold Calling Has Ended

Cold calling: not so effective anymore. (CQ Roll Call File Photo).

There’s something to be said for gumption: the go-get-'em attitude that shrinks the power distance between junior staffers and the far senior authorities. But how does one bridge that divide and advance a career in the process? Hill Navigator discusses.

How to Ace the Business Lunch

Maria Trabocchi, co-owner of Fiola, provides insight on how to ace the business lunch. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Forget the sunrise diner special, or candlelit, white tablecloth dinners. If you’re going to eat one meal properly in Washington, D.C., it should be the power lunch. The power lunch is the ideal midday break, a mini-vacation to the day, a chance to hear the lobby pitches while nibbling on veal tagliatelle or steak frites, perhaps eyeing the room to see nearby diners who would warrant a quick tip to Heard on the Hill.  

Even the hard-work, long-hours culture of Capitol Hill is willing to take a brief midday break for a meal, albeit often to Dirksen or Longworth. But on the the occasion that a lunch invitation arrives, and ethics rules are cleared, it’s an opportunity to network, build a relationship, and likely enjoy some delicious food. But even the best of us can falter over an intimidating wine list, mispronounce a multisyllabic entree or feel an afternoon deadline loom before the coffee has been served. So, if you’re fortunate to be on the receiving (or inviting) end to a power lunch, what can you do to ensure smooth sailing?  

The Hill Navigator Guide to Sending Holiday Cards

Want to send workplace holiday cards? Here's what you need to know. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Welcome to the holiday season! It's full of receptions, cocktail parties and Christmas cards, all things Hill Navigator endorses (in moderation, of course). But how do you go about sending cards to your workplace contacts? Hill Navigator discusses.

For Gay Staffers, a Changing Capitol Hill

Thorning, Armstrong and Levensaler have had 10 years to reflect on GLASS. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In 2004, during the debate for the now-defunct Federal Marriage Amendment, tensions on Capitol Hill for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community had reached unprecedented levels. Gay staffers were being singled out in an aggressive "outing" campaign, with hostile phone calls to their homes and offices, and even personal confrontations. Four staffers decided to take action, forming the Gay, Lesbian and Allies Senate Staff Caucus. "It was imperative for the LGBT community to have a safe space,” said Jeffrey Levensaler, one of the founders of GLASS and currently deputy chief of staff to Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.  

“People both on and off the Hill were just looking for someone to talk to,” said Lynden Armstrong, a GLASS co-founder who now works as director of communication and technology integration for the Senate sergeant-at-arms. "It was our first very public opportunity to support our community," said Armstrong, who worked for Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., at the time. In the 10 years since, the LGBT community on Capitol Hill has seen drastic changes: the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell;" the Supreme Court's United States v. Windsor ruling, which led the Senate Disbursing Office to extend employee benefits to married same-sex spouses and their families; the election of the first openly gay senator (Baldwin) and sweeping changes in public opinion on same-sex marriage.  

Hey, We’ve Met Before, Right?

“You gotta network to get work.” Wise words from Dan Egan, fictional Hill staffer turned vice presidential confidante on HBO’s "Veep," which Hill Navigator finds more palatable than its flashier counterpart, "House of Cards" (but that’s another topic altogether.) The broader point is, once you’ve landed your dream job, how do you stay in touch with all those oh-so-valuable contacts who helped along the way? Hill Navigator answers.

Gay, Republican and Wondering What’s Next

It’s not unusual to disagree with your party platform on some issues. But what happens when the disagreement includes your personal life? Even with recent sweeping policy changes — which Hill Navigator strongly endorses — not all gay staffers may feel at home on Capitol Hill. Hill Navigator discusses.

Arnie Thomas, Veteran Washington News Man, Dies at 66

Arnie Thomas , a former senior vice president at CQ Roll Call, former director of LEGI-SLATE at The Washington Post, president of the A Thomas Group and mentor to scores of co-workers over the years, died of a heart attack on April 12. He was 66 years old.  

Thomas was an advocate for his colleagues and believed that the best way for them to do great things was to encourage them to be authentic. In an interview with CQ Roll Call , he said, “To be authentic, you will never need to take off your masks and reinvent yourself. It takes so much time and energy to put the masks on and so much drama to take them off. Integrity defines you as a person of trust, and trust will continue to open the doors to opportunities.”  

Mentee Seeking Mentor

Wouldn’t it be great if David Axelrod decided to meet you for coffee? Or how about if Sheryl Sandberg or Theo Epstein emailed to see if you were free for lunch in Longworth, to, you know, talk about your future?  

For most of us, that isn’t happening. But there are a lot of superstars to-be on Capitol Hill, many of whom have advice to offer. So how to turn their goodwill into a mentorship? Hill Navigator discusses.