Alex.’s take on:
Spreading facts like gospel
Public advocacy usually comes down to educating the public — laying out the facts. Whether you’re advancing a “side” of an issue or simply drawing attention to a problem, honesty and transparency always serve you well, Alex. says. If you claim your decision is based on data, show the data. If you’ve changed your mind about an issue, tell people why.
Talk with your audiences where they like to listen, whether that’s in a town-hall forum or on Instagram. And as for the sometimes “negotiable” nature of facts: The solution goes back to grade school.
Make sure your facts are facts. Track them back to the original sources — and share those sources with your audiences, too.
Building trust in negotiation
Alex. honed her negotiation skills in the Obama administration, including roles at the White House and the Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services. A good negotiation starts with a good relationship, she says. Great negotiators work to truly understand their partners: their goals, their flexibility, and their non-negotiables. A negotiation isn’t a quid pro quo transaction, and it’s not sneaky, Alex. says. It’s about building trust and being inventive — finding a path that leads to success for everyone.
That all starts before your first meeting, as you think through your partners’ goals and perspective as well as your own. It continues when you communicate honestly, letting your partner know you truly value what you want.
Communication and strong teams
The stakes at work were high in the Obama administration, whether Alex. was organizing a presidential ice cream social or talking with the president of Afghanistan. She learned quickly that teamwork — the sense that she’s under pressure in good company — helps keep her grounded.
Good team members communicate often and honestly. At their best, Alex. says, members of a great team understand how their decisions will affect one another — and they inspire one another along the way.
Bachelor’s degree, journalism, Colorado State University
Leadership & Volunteering
Board officer, elementary school parent-teacher group
Key Spouse, Fairchild Air Force Base