Welcome to our election special of Skimm’d from The Couch, where we’re talking to women from both sides of the aisle about their careers in politics.
Elise Jordan is a veteran of the George W. Bush White House, where she worked as speechwriter and an advisor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and as communications director for the National Security Council. So we knew she’d have some tips on how to be a strong communicator at work. Even in high stakes situations.
Carly: How did you actually get your foot in the door?
Elise: ….The moral of the story is you just never know how life can be strange and who can help you out and who you're going to meet. I never thought coming from my background that I would end up working at the White House right after college. And I guess my career advice would be just to be open minded and to seize opportunities as they come because you're not taking advantage of the system. You need to make the system work for you.
Carly: How do you literally force yourself in the moment to come out of yourself so that you do get in front of the right people, so that you do communicate effectively and ultimately are able to rise in the workplace? What are the tools you used to overcome that shyness?
Elise: You know, at the time, I had a hang-up over my accent. I love my southern accent. It's not going away. It's just who I am. And, you know, when I left and went to college at Yale it was definitely heavier. But it would be a source of commentary sometimes, not in probably such a nice way.
I had a hang-up over that…. But I think at the same time, I just kept charging forward and not letting it bother me because this is who I am at the end of the day. And I'm not going to be able to ever fake it and pretend to be someone else. And I think it's just so important to embrace who you are, to appreciate who you are, to know your background when you're getting started out just because you're always going to feel so inadequate and like you're cheating and like you don't belong and like you're a fraud. [You need] the courage to keep going forward every day and to put yourself forward and know that you might be putting yourself out to ridicule.
Skimm'd by Alex Carr and Peter Bonaventure.
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"I was projecting a style that wasn't me, because I was so young and immature that I wanted people to view me with respect. And I wanted to claim the respect, and I was the boss in the room and I started to realize that style, it doesn't work."
"You have to set goals for yourself every year for how you're going to improve. Take your performance reviews very seriously."
"Perfection isn't the goal. Being liked by everyone isn't the goal. The goal is progress. The goal is impact. The goal is to learn from your mistakes."