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WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [name] => pull-up-your-chair-growing-your-career-in-public-affairs [post_type] => resources [resource-type] => blog ) [query_vars] => Array ( [name] => pull-up-your-chair-growing-your-career-in-public-affairs [post_type] => resources [resource-type] => blog [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [category_name] => [tag] => [cat] => [tag_id] => [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [s] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( ) [category__not_in] => Array ( ) [category__and] => Array ( ) [post__in] => Array ( ) [post__not_in] => Array ( ) [post_name__in] => Array ( ) [tag__in] => Array ( ) [tag__not_in] => Array ( ) [tag__and] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__in] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__and] => Array ( ) [post_parent__in] => Array ( ) [post_parent__not_in] => Array ( ) [author__in] => Array ( ) [author__not_in] => Array ( ) [ignore_sticky_posts] => [suppress_filters] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [posts_per_page] => 10 [nopaging] => [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => [order] => DESC ) [tax_query] => [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( ) [relation] => [meta_table] => [meta_id_column] => [primary_table] => [primary_id_column] => [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( ) [clauses:protected] => Array ( ) [has_or_relation:protected] => ) [date_query] => [queried_object] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7657 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2022-10-11 21:29:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-10-11 21:29:02 [post_content] => [embed]https://youtu.be/5oAvW4GTHUY[/embed] Kseniya Tarasenko (00:08): Hi everyone and welcome to the last session of the day for the first day of one week. As we give folks a few minutes to log onto the session and join us, I would love to start this discussion with an icebreaker. And the icebreaker for today is, what was your f first job ever? Feel free to drop this in a live chat. Happy to read it. What was your first job ever? Cicely Simpson (00:41): I was gonna say, can I participate cuz I'm having FOMO right now? Can I jump in <laugh>? Kseniya Tarasenko (00:46): Of course. Cicely Simpson (00:47): My first job, believe it or not, I talk about it often in my videos, was on an assembly line. I worked putting together in a factory, putting together 18-wheeler trucks. And it was the hardest job I've ever had and one of the best jobs I've ever had. But that was my father's way of teaching me the value of an education was go work in a factory for a summer and see how hard it is. And I was like, Ooh. So a great experience, but it's been very formative for me as well as you can tell. Kseniya Tarasenko (01:14): I bet. What do you think made it the best one? Cicely Simpson (01:18): You know what listen, I can work an air gun and a truck. Like I got some mad skills on an airgun that summer cuz you had 10 seconds to do the entire cab of a truck. So I got some mad airgun skills, but you know what? It taught me all the fundamentals that I didn't know. So it was pretty cool in that regard, right? Because I had to drive it, it was an hour and a half from my house, so I had to be up every morning at 4:00 AM to get to work by five 30 for my shift to start at 6:00 AM So talk about discipline <laugh>. It was very formative in that regard. Kseniya Tarasenko (01:51): I was gonna say, I imagine that builds character at an early age. Cicely Simpson (01:55): It, I cried every day for an entire summer. I was freaking miserable getting up that early with my friends were all out partying and my dad's like, No, you're, you're gonna do this. But it yeah, taught me a lot of lessons and the grit and discipline and kind of resilience out of that was huge. A hundred percent. Yeah. Kseniya Tarasenko (02:11): That's awesome. And look at you now, <laugh>. Cicely Simpson (02:14): Yeah. Oh yeah. Lots, lots of good stories to tell. Kseniya Tarasenko (02:19): Great. Well now that we've got most folks in and we are ready to get started, I'm thrilled to have Cicely here. I think she's the only speaker who has been to everyone Wonk Week Quorum has had, so this is pretty incredible. I'm happy to be moderating this session with you. Cicely Simpson (02:36): Thank you. Kseniya Tarasenko (02:38): Just to give a bit of a background on Cicely, she is a seasoned public operative. She has served as a legislative director for two congressmen. She's a veteran of the C-Suite, as she was formerly a vice president of Government Affairs at Dunkin' Brands, as well as formerly executive vice president of Public Affairs for the restaurant industry. And now she's the founder and CEO of Summit Public Affairs. Her experience at all levels of garment and expertise in the boardroom allows her to speak with the authority on the public and private sectors as well as their countless intersections. And as you can tell, Cicely is a very diverse person. She had many job experiences starting from trucks all the way to having her own firm now. So I'm super happy to listen to this chat, and I'm going to hand it over to Cicely now. Cicely Simpson (03:29): Awesome. Thank you so much. And yeah, that bio is a very short way of saying I'm old and I've been around DC for almost 20 years, 20 years this year. So yeah, thanks for that introduction. I really, really appreciate it. And wonk week is my jam clearly cuz I've been to every one of them and I look so forward to Wonk Week. So it's a pleasure to be here with you guys again. And I am super stoked about talking today about a career in public affairs cuz a lot of you who watch my live videos on LinkedIn, reach out to me and have a lot of questions about navigating the world of public affairs and government relations working on the Hill and you know, just kind of the stuff that we do every day, but how you progress in that career. Cicely Simpson (04:15): So when Quorum reached out and said, Hey, you wanna have this conversation, I, you know, said absolutely. And since we started this chat with trivia, I'm gonna keep the trivia going. I told Avery at Quorum, right, I'm gonna fall right in line here with the trivia of Wonk Week. And I have a question for folks now, Kseniya, I can't see the chat, so I'm gonna, if you can tell me if somebody answers this correctly, but here's the question for the day guys. To get you started this afternoon, there's a famous politician who has a quote and the quote says, If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair who said that quote, who's the author of that quote? And you have your Google machine right in front of you. The interwebs can help you if you want to type this in, but put it in the chat. Who who said that famous quote, If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair. Kseniya Tarasenko (05:13): I'm anybody Cicely Simpson (05:14): In the chat? Kseniya Tarasenko (05:16): Someone Googles it right now. Cicely Simpson (05:19): Come on Shirley. Kseniya Tarasenko (05:20): Shirley Chisholm. Cicely Simpson (05:22): I just saw somebody got it right? Yes. So is it Tamara? Tamara Lewis. Okay, Tamara, if you will do me a favor the Innerwebs are working. So yes, you got that right. If you will stick your address in the chat, I will send you a copy of my new bestselling book. Hopefully, you guys can see that. Pull up your chair. Five strategies to change the trajectory of your career. The pull up your chair book is based on that quote from Shirley Chisholm. So Tamara, if you'll throw your address in the chat, then I am, oh, we got a couple of Shirley Chisholm. Okay, tell you what, you know what man? I can't choose. I can't choose. Okay, so tell you what, I'm counting one, I'm counting Onika, I'm counting Shirley. Nope, I got Ariel, Suzanne, Onika, Celeste, Tamara. Okay, if all five of you are six of you, depending on how you count, cuz you know it's one of those days if you throw all of your addresses in the chat, I will mail each of you a copy of the book because I think you all got it right, Kind of like simultaneous in timing. Cicely Simpson (06:25): So everybody sends your physical address, your mailing address and I will, our team will send you a copy of the book. Okay? So let's use that as a jumping-off point for this conversation because Shirley Chisholm, if you don't know her, please Google her freaking iconic in DC in terms of she was the first African American congresswoman, but also the first female to run for president back in the seventies, way before it was cool. And anybody knew that she was doing that, she was a trailblazer. She set the stage that if she doesn't get invited to a conversation, she's gonna pull up her chair and chart her on course. And what I find the parallels of her story and that quote to be so powerful for those of us in public affairs, it is that we have a very unique opportunity for what we do every day to really chart our own course in DC. Look, you heard Kseniya kind of read through my bio very non-traditional in terms of how I navigated DC but there's been one common theme that led to the book that led me to use that quote. Cicely Simpson (07:30): And that is, if you're not invited to the table, pull up your chair and make your own way. And today I'm gonna give you five strategies on how to do exactly that. For those of you who want a copy of the book, it's full, it's full Stories from the Hill and lobbying and Obamacare and all kinds of fun stuff that I've been involved with over the year. So you'll enjoy all the political stories. But we're gonna real quick run through the five strategies that make up the chair methodology. I'm gonna give you guys some examples about how to apply those because I learned these lessons doing the same thing you do every day. Lobbying, working on the hill communications, representing members or clients or working, you know, in a company. What you do every day is what I've done for the past 20 years, what I continue to do in my firm. Cicely Simpson (08:18): So these strategies are gonna apply to you if you in fact choose to apply them. But I wanna make one point before I jump in on the five strategies. People are fascinated by what you do every day. I get the question all the time, How did you get a book deal with Forbes? They looked at my LinkedIn profile, not kidding. And they reached out to me and said, If you have a very unique background, have you ever thought about writing a book? And I said, Well my background's not unique for DC There are tons of us in this town who do this. And they said we're not familiar with that. Like they, they were very, very, very interested in learning about how business and politics kind of coexist together. So when I tell you that you have a unique opportunity to leverage your career in public affairs to either stay in public affairs or do other things, then please know I'm kind of living proof of that. Cicely Simpson (09:15): The book is kind of living proof of that, is that people see what we do and our skills are so marketable and they wanna know more. And I tell people I stay in DC and still do what I do in DC even though I'm doing career coaching cuz you can't do it anywhere else. So as you apply these five strategies, you know, one thing I hear from people all the time is, you know, you don't know what's next. Not sure what's the next step to take. Maybe you want to advance in your career, but you're not sure how, if you're new to public affairs, meaning your career, I certainly have a lot of you who reach out to me and say, what do I do? I'm in a toxic work environment. I don't love my coworkers, but I love what I do. There are all kinds of manifestations of the career questions that you guys reach out to me with mostly on LinkedIn but also other social platforma. Cicely Simpson (10:02): So today we're gonna answer some of those questions and I encourage you to put questions in the chat. Sonia's gonna let me know if we're gonna do questions as we go along. She's gonna jump in and stop me or we can take 'em at the end. So you guys hit us with questions. I am not gonna talk for the entire 45 minutes cuz good lord knows y'all don't wanna hear me for 45 minutes. I'd rather be in dialogue and conversation. That's kind of my jam. And so we'll, we'll keep this short and then open it up for robust questions. But I took Shirley Chisholm's quote, If they don't give you a C at the table, bring a folding chair and took the word chair and developed five strategies that I've used to advance in my public affairs career that I now teach and coach others. Cicely Simpson (10:43): And I'm gonna give you a unique opportunity to help us frame out something at the very end. So keep watching until we're done. But let's go. Number one, strategy number one is the C. Now people see this and they say is the C for confidence? Nope. The C stands for championing yourself. And don't google this cuz the book's online. So please don't google this. Let, let me kinda walk you through the methodologies and then you guys can go back and see it on my website or you can Google it later. But the C is for championing yourself because the one thing I learned that you probably learned is you represent companies every day. You represent members. If you're in a trade association, maybe you represent groups or other companies depending on kind of what organization you're in. You're taught to advocate and represent others. Cicely Simpson (11:32): In our world, one thing I've learned, no one ever taught me how to advocate for myself. So you show up every day if it's on a hill, you're working for constituents. If you're in a trade, if you're in a company, if you're in a think tank, you're, you constantly have all these demands, all these interests you're representing, but no one tells you how to advocate for yourself. So the idea behind the C strategy of championing yourself is self-advocacy. Because if you don't put your best foot forward and champion yourself, no one will do it for you. And I've had so many people on my teams over the years who would say to me, Well I thought you knew I wanted that promotion or I thought you knew I wanted it that job, or I thought you knew I wanted to be on that project. And I would say to them, If you don't tell me, how am I supposed to know? Cicely Simpson (12:23): So this idea of championing yourself, and I chose that word very purposely because it's a very kind of active word, right? Champions are at the top of their game, right? They bring their A game, they advocate for themselves, they've gotten to where they are with hard work and determination, and perseverance. And that is that mental picture I wanna leave with you is the idea of you can be a confident person and never open your mouth to advocate for your own advancement. So that's why I didn't choose confidence cuz it's not enough. Confidence is great, but it's not enough. You actually need to champion yourself. And I tell people all the time, you can be your own best champion or your worst critic, you get to decide that. But so often we're not taught how to advocate for our own advancement in the workplace. And there's something I developed, you'll read it in the book if you buy it, if not, reach out to me, and I'll explain it more to you. Cicely Simpson (13:13): It's called the you list. Four things that you need to, to advance in your career that you need to champion yourself on, your value, your contributions, your accomplishments, and your lessons learned. Every job I've had in DC for the last 20 years, and even in the legal world before that, those four things, because your personal value is what gets you to the table. It's what differentiates you from everybody else. When you're championing yourself, you're championing your own personal worth. And here's the kicker, it has nothing to do with your job title. So many of you, when you reach out to me and you want resume help or you wanna talk about your career advancement, you always say to me, Well, but I, I did this last year and you gimme your sales numbers or you'll give me your, you know, you did this or you did that. Cicely Simpson (14:00): And you always frame your accomplishments in terms of your job. And when I ask people what is the personal value that you have to offer that no one else does dead silence, I get dead silence because we're not conditioned to answer that question of who you are and what you bring to the table that no one else does. We're not conditioned to answer that question about ourselves because we're so busy worried about defining ourselves in terms of our job. So this idea of advancement in your career has to start with you. And those four things you can get any job you want in any industry you want. If you know how to articulate those four things and articulate them well, strategy number two is the H in chair. H is for honesty. So here's the bookend, here's the, here's the not-so-fun moment on a Tuesday afternoon. Cicely Simpson (14:52): H is for honesty because I have been very blessed in my career. Many of you have as well to have some bosses who probably gave you some pretty tough feedback. And you may say, Well how's that a blessing? Because I was in my own way sometimes and I didn't know it. If value, think about it this way. You can champion yourself and your value and what you bring to the table and why you want that next role, that job, that promotion, you can do all those things, right? But if you're standing in your own way, that's a problem. You can actually undermine your own success and credibility and not know it because we all have blind spots. Somebody reached out to me on LinkedIn a couple of months ago and she said, You know, I read your book cuz I spoke to her, I did a book event in DC a couple of months ago. Cicely Simpson (15:37): And she reached out and said, You know, your book got it all wrong, <laugh>. I literally laughed that I saw the message on LinkedIn, I was like, no one's told me yet that the book sucks and I got it all wrong. And she said to me, You got it all wrong. And I said, All right, well let's jump on the phone and you can tell me basically why I got it all wrong. And as we started talking on the phone, the reframe here was she had some blind spots and some weaknesses she needed to work through. She had some preconceived notions of her colleagues and you know how she interacted with them. And the biggest part of your weaknesses and blind spots and why you've gotta get be gut honest with yourself is you've gotta know how you land on people and how you're perceived. Cicely Simpson (16:20): And she wasn't perceived very well. She was harsh, she was, I mean she just, she just did not realize how she came across. So by the end of that phone call, she told me I didn't get it wrong, <laugh> and she apologized, but she said that, you know, that we all have blind spots and we all have some areas we've gotta work on that may be inhibiting our growth, but we don't know it. That's the definition of a blind spot. So Nia, before I go to number three, do you have any questions for me or do you want me to keep going my friend? Kseniya Tarasenko (16:48): I have two questions. So the first question that was asked is, as a manager of public affairs professionals, how would you champion their career development? Cicely Simpson (16:57): Yeah, so how would I champion for their career development? So the first thing I would do is you have to give your team members space and encouragement to let them know they can come have that conversation with you. The last team that I led was a very large team and they had not ever been told or allowed or kind of coached on how to come have a career advancement, how to have a conversation about what their interests were. So you've gotta give them space and encourage them to come have that conversation. That's why I always coach my team. Don't assume, I know if you knock something outta the park and you did a great job or you got compliment from a member of the association, let me know those things. Don't assume that, you know, I know. So my biggest piece would be you've gotta give them permission and coach them and help them understand it's okay. It's okay to advocate for their own personal advancements. As a matter of fact, they should do that. Not only is it okay, they should do that and you should give them the space and help them understand how to do that. And if you wanna reach out to me, I'm happy to go through those four things and explain to you kind of how that may apply to your team. Kseniya Tarasenko (18:06): Great. I have more questions coming in. Okay, so the next question is, as a Latina, we are taught to be humble and avoid being a bother. I used to start all conversations with, I'm sorry to bother you. Now I spend time to educate, educate others on this cultural trap, how to overcome it. Cicely Simpson (18:27): Oh my gosh, Okay, you gotta reach out to, we gotta, we gotta have this conversation. So yes, we are all so guilty of over-apologizing. I literally just did a video the other day about stopping apologizing. There's no, I'm sorry. So let's, let's just say that. But listen, it's something that a lot of us have been taught culturally. Our families are where we're from. It is that humility. And here's the piece that we get wrong about sometimes about the humility piece. Your personal advancement, your personal value, your personal growth has nothing to do with anybody else but you. So it's not a competition, it's not comparing yourself to someone else. Hold your head high, be proud of who you are. If you're a confident person, own and wear that confidence because it has nothing to do with your anybody else. So your humility, your humility is still about how you show up every day. Cicely Simpson (19:21): And you can do that in a very authentic way that absolutely still honors your worth and your value and showing up is your best self. So my point is they're not mutually exclusive. And I get this question all the time. Well, I don't wanna see competitive or you know, so I don't want people to think I'm, you know, don't worry about what people think, worry about you and how that humility translates for you. But how you can also stay true to yourself. Don't hide yourself because you're worried about, you know, that humility coming across to others. It's important that you not see those two things as mutually exclusive. How about one more and then I'll jump back to over to the the third strategy. Kseniya Tarasenko (20:00): Okay. the next one is, which mentors in your career had the most influence on you and why? Cicely Simpson (20:05): Oh, that's a good one. Oh man, that's a good one. So I don't know if you've been around DC for a while, you probably know a guy named Jim Cooper. Jim is retiring this year. He was my second boss in congress. Jim was a great mentor, great friend. He's in the book. Jim shared a quote with me very early on in my career in Congress and he said, Cause I kept calling him congressman and he would say, Call me Jim. And I call him congressman and he was like, Call me Jim. And I was like, Dude, I'm not calling you Jim, you're a congress. We're not calling you about your first name. And he was like, But you've known me for years. I was like, I don't care. And he said to me, he said, this was literally 15, 20 years ago, he said to me, You, when you see yourself as an equal, you will be viewed as an equal. Cicely Simpson (20:46): Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time. So when you walk in rooms around here, view yourself as an equal and you'll be treated as an equal. And that stuck with me, as you can tell. Very formative. So Jim's one, another guy who was very instrumental in my career, his name is Chuck Maren. He was a lot lobbyist in DC for years. And I would literally sit with Chuck and just say, Tell me how to think strategically. I just saw you do X. Tell me how you did that. How did you think about that? How do you think about public policy? Chuck was great at connecting dots and forecasting out 2, 3, 4 years about how policy was gonna manifest itself. And so I would just sit with him and say, Just talk, I just wanna absorb everything that you say. And he literally taught me how to be a better strategic thinker, a better visionary. Cicely Simpson (21:31): But he also was very formative in my time in dc. I still talk to Chuck all the time even though he's retired. But I learned so much from him by simply saying, Will you teach me what you know? And he said, Yes. And that was a very, he's an important friend and mentor to this day. So those are the two I would point out. So I'll come back to the rest of those. Let me finish the last three strategies and then we'll jump back into questions. Okay, so strategy number three is a, the a is for adaptability. You guys ready? Adaptability is the core competency you are judged on every day. But nobody told you if you are on the hill or if you're in a public affairs organization. Look, you know, crap happens in the mornings, right? The news cycle kind of takes over your day sometimes. Cicely Simpson (22:15): And I've seen people who really, you know, they have 10 things on their list that day, and they, they gotta do those 10 things. And if they don't get through those 10 things, like they are not a happy camper at the end of the day. Like, they're not adaptable physically to their surroundings. As events change, things happen, you're not gonna get through your list. The physical adaptability is something that people notice, and perhaps the more important pieces, the mental adaptability. Are you a mentally adaptable person to not only what's happening around you, but are you mentally adaptable in your interactions? Because the adaptability skills are interpersonal skills, They're teamwork, it's communication. So many ways that adaptability manifests itself every single day in your career, in your office, in your workplace, being mentally adaptable is as important as being physically adaptable to actually what's happening around you. Cicely Simpson (23:11): And it's one of those, nobody's ever gonna point it out to you until you get it wrong. If you do well, being mentally and physically adaptable to what's going on. And mentally, there are a lot of language cues I give people about how to be mentally adaptable to different situations. And I actually kind of talk you through those. But the key piece here is that adaptability is so important, but no one ever teaches you how to be an adaptable person and adaptable leader. We hear all those buzzwords, no one ever walks you through it. So as for adaptability and knowing that adaptability mentally and physically is key. The eye, the eye is okay. The eye is one of my favorites. The eye is for impact. People see that and they say, Oh, you mean influence, No, write this down. Influence is temporary. Impact is lasting. Cicely Simpson (23:59): You wanna be a person of impact, not a person of influence. Influence is very episodic to where you are, who you're dealing with in that moment. You can be influential today and you know, tomorrow nobody wants to talk to you. Your influence can weigh over time depending on situations. Your impact is lasting. And there are some great stories in the book about how I realized my impact, my very well in my career when I started at Duncan Brands, Dunking Donuts in Baskin Robbins. And I'll tell a quick story and then we will I'll move on to the last strategy. When I started working for Duncan, it was April of oh eight, right? Pivotal presidential election Obama, McCain and <laugh>. I was literally probably three, four weeks into my job and I got an email and you know, it's one of those where somebody CC'd me. Cicely Simpson (24:48): I probably should have been CC'd on it, but okay, I was, so I read it and there was a new marketing strategy that Duncan wanted to do. I'm sorry, Baskin wanted to do to honor the election. Okay, cool. And so as I'm reading, I was like, Uhoh, this is not, oh my god, this is not good. So they wanted to introduce two new ice cream flavors, one for President Obama, one for John McCain. Now if you know where this story is going, then you will know that the chocolate vanilla swirl is a great ice cream flavor for Baskin. Probably not so great to use when you're talking about President Obama being the first interracial president. Peanut brittle love, peanut, brittle flavored ice cream. Probably not the flavor you wanna use. When you were talking about Mr. Mccain running for president cuz he was 72 at the time. Cicely Simpson (25:40): So I see this email, this great marketing strategy, and I'm like, oh geez. And I'm like, well I'm the new kid. Do I say something? Do I not say something crap? Do I let this go and just know this is gonna be a PR nightmare? Or do I say, Hey guys, let me help you get to yes. So let's celebrate president o Mr. Obama, let's, let's celebrate Mr. McCain, but let's do so in a different way. That's probably not gonna be a backlash. So I literally agonized over this email and I finally responded and said, Hey, I have a great idea that's still gonna accomplish your goals of honoring these two gentlemen, but it's gonna help you get there in a very different way than these two ice cream flavors. And I put it in email and I hit send and I thought, crap, these people are gonna fricking fire me over this cuz I probably wasn't supposed to be Stacy on that email, but I was. Cicely Simpson (26:29): And they, you know, I kind of hit send and I thought, oh this sucks. I'm gonna, I'm gonna get hammered for this. And they all came back to me, Thank you so much. Oh my gosh, never thought about those points. So glad you mentioned something. And I learned this concept of how to get people to, yes, if you're in public affairs, your main driver should be getting people to yes, help people reach their objectives, the same objective but maybe in a very different way than they thought. It's what I did on the hill, it's what I did at Duncan National Restaurant Association that I do for my clients. Now when my clients come to me and they have a bus an objective they wanna accomplish, I can tell you how to accomplish it. But the road to get to, yes, I can get to yes, which is your objective, but I'm probably gonna give you a very different strategy like I just did in that Duncan and basket example to get to yes, in a very different way. Cicely Simpson (27:20): Help people think outside the box. You guys may have heard of the rule of three, The rule of three for creative and problem-solving. One solution is a trap. Two solutions are dilemma. Three or more are actually where you want to be because then you're opening up your mind at different solutions. That's what you're doing when you're a person of impact. You're not going along to get along. You're not the, hey this is the way we've always done it so we've gotta continue to do this way. You're actually challenging status quo thinking and people love to be around people who do that because you're creating impact on your audience for your members, for who you serve. People love to be around people who have impact. So understand that being a person of impact is far beyond influence. And by the way, the eye is not for imposter syndrome. Cicely Simpson (28:08): I teach a whole course on imposter syndrome cuz there are seven root causes of imposter syndrome in five types. And imposter syndrome can seep in at all times. But for people of impact, you're not an imposter because you know you're bringing impact every single day. There's a whole lot more I can go into. But just think about it, champion yourself gets you to the table. Impact ensures you stay there. Last strategy and then we'll go back to questions are this one, this one gets everybody, people say why did you ch r what, what does the R stand for? The R stands for regrets. Now I'm glad we're on camera cuz you can't throw anything at me when I'm getting ready to say what I'm getting ready to say your five-year plan, your 10-year plan, throw it, ditch it, erase it, I don't know, delete it if it's on your computer. Cicely Simpson (28:58): And yes, this is where people get very controversial with me. I posted this on LinkedIn last year and people lost their freaking minds because I said, ditch your five or 10-year plan. Here's why. And here's why I chose regrets because every opportunity I've gotten in DC was not part of my plan, did not come the timeframe I thought it was gonna come in. Heck, most of it was like, hey you should, you should go talk to this person. And I was like, well why? Because it kind of looked like work not as an opportunity. You're not thinking big enough and you're not dreaming big enough and your plan will never be big enough for the opportunities that are gonna come your way. I was a prosecutor in my career, never thought about going to dc but this opportunity came and I thought, eh, I've never been to Washington. Cicely Simpson (29:41): I'm from small rural Tennessee. Why the heck would I go to Washington DC ?But I thought I'll try it for six months and see what happens. Not part of my plan. I had no legislative experience, never worked in a political environment. And I was like the heck am I gonna do in Washington? Going from there to Duncan, I had no restaurant industry experience, but somebody came to me one day and said, Have you ever thought about working in a corporate setting? And I said, No. Why would I do that? Same thing with the restaurant association I was recruited and to be the executive vice president of public affairs this book deal. Somebody reached out on LinkedIn. I thought, this has gotta be a joke. The opportunities that come your way are never where you think they've never packaged the way you think and they, your plan is not big enough because some of the opportunities that are gonna come your way in this world in DC and public affairs around the country, Look, you guys are stationed all around the country. Cicely Simpson (30:30): You're not just in DC I say that from my point of reference cuz that's where I've always been based. But you're based all around the country. You're gonna have opportunities in your companies maybe to get outside of public affairs and do other things. You may have opportunities that come your way you never dreamed of. Don't miss them because sometimes they don't come the way you think. They're not packaged the way you think and they're not part of your plan. You're gonna miss some amazing opportunities and you're gonna have a lot of regrets if you stick to a plan that you can't dream big enough or far enough. Okay? So there's a lot more to the regret side. There are a lot of stories behind that. I'm not gonna go into those for the sake of time. What I will simply say is, you're not dreaming big enough and you're not thinking big enough. Cicely Simpson (31:11): Go bigger, dream bigger, think bigger at the opportunities that are come your way. And if you wanna have a conversation, reach out to me. I'll tell you every single one that's come my way. That was never part, never part of my plan. I was gonna be the first African American Supreme Court justice, but Joe Biden didn't know that. Nobody told he was supposed to pick me, right? So, but that's what I wanted to be when I was eight years old. Literally that I'm that kid. And, and, but I will tell you, the opportunities in DC had been far greater, far bigger, far better than I could ever imagined being in this world that we all live in every day. So be careful that you don't miss opportunities cuz they're just not part of the plan. Cuz your plan may not be big enough and that's an important lesson for you to learn. Cicely Simpson (31:53): Okay, I'm done. I promise actually I'm not done. One more thing let me finish up with this. I've given you five strategies and five career tips, okay? I'm giving them to you pretty quickly. Reach out to me, I'm on all the socials if you wanna talk through it, happy to talk through it. Let me ask for your help though on something and then we're gonna get to questions. I want you guys to help us shape what we're getting ready to launch in 2023. Now this is risky cuz everybody who knows about this is under an NDA. Can't put all of you under NDAs. But what I can say to you is, you know, I'm a big fan of Quorum because when Quorum, I literally found these guys in April, 2015 when they were, you know, first being started. I was like, Quorum is changing the game. Cicely Simpson (32:35): I wanna be part of something that changes the game. And I've been a huge fan. As I said, my LinkedIn post, I've been fangirling over quorum ever since. They, they, their inception and their founding, think of what we're getting ready. We're building the quorum of your career, let's put it that way. We're building something that's gonna be the most comprehensive career resource center ever created that will literally walk with you every step of the way in your career. There will be content tailored toward public affairs professionals. Here's my ask. If you wanna help us shape this, then reach out to me because I, we're literally doing focus groups around the country right now. What do people want? What resources do they want access to? How can we provide it? We're bringing in experts, leaders from all around the country to help do this. So you get to help shape it cuz you guys are my people. Cicely Simpson (33:23): So let me know, reach out to me if you wanna help shape it. I'd love to have a phone call with you if you say, eh, I don't wanna shape it, I just wanna know when, when it's ready. Then text the word careers, c a r e e r s to 6, 6 8, 6 6. That group who's in my community will get exclusive access to this project we're launching before it goes public. So we're gonna give exclusive access to anybody who's on that list. So that's careers text careers to 6 68 66. Okay, I'm done. I promise. I just wanna make sure that I give you guys the opportunity because we have such similar backgrounds that you guys have a chance to shape what we're getting ready to launch and it's gonna be freaking amazing. So if you wanna be part of it, let me know. Okay, I'm done. I promise. What, what, what's next? What other questions do we have? Kseniya Tarasenko (34:11): So the other question is, do you have any suggestions for those of us who are not your typical to understand how others may perceive us if they're not direct or honest? Cicely Simpson (34:23): How do people perceive you if they're not direct or honest? Kseniya Tarasenko (34:27): Yes Cicely Simpson (34:28): Great question. I don't have time to go into all the details here, so feel free to reach out to me. There is, there are, I think I teach five or six strategies on how to do that. The basic premise though about know how you land on people you have been told at some point how you land on people. People have, they may not be honest, let's be honest. They're probably passive-aggressive, but they've said it. So if you do some kind of honest reflection on feedback you've gotten, you probably have gotten feedback about the perception, how you land on people, but there are some different strategies you can use to kind of get that information, reach out to me. I'm happy to give you those strategies and walk you through each one of those and how it may, I'd love to know more about your situation and how I can actually apply those to you. So, and it's basic form, it's been said to you at some point, but if you wanna go deeper than that, let me walk through your situation. I'm happy to do it with you. Just reach out to me on LinkedIn or, or my email address is cicely@cicelysimpson.com. So it's cicely@cicelysimpson.com. So you can also reach out to me there. Kseniya Tarasenko (35:36): Great. Next question is, can you speak to keys to success for folks transitioning into public affairs as a career change? Cicely Simpson (35:45): Where are you transitioning from? So career change, where, where are you coming into public affairs from? I'd love to know that piece of information. You guys are gonna learn from me. Everything matters in context. So a piece of information without context is just an information piece. So the context kind of gives me like, oh, you're coming from here into there. So if you have context around it, right? Everything matters in context. So if you would, if you would chime in and tell me where you're coming from that would be helpful for me to kind of be more direct in my answer. My general answer is, if you're coming into public affairs you have to go through those four steps. You have to go through those four steps of the you list as I called it, knowing your value comp, your contributions, your accomplishments, and your lessons learned. Cicely Simpson (36:30): You need to know what those things are because you're coming into a very different career change. It sounds like a very different world. You need to work through those four pieces and figure out what your personal value statement is. That's what I call it, a personal value statement, not personal branding. This is beyond branding your personal value statement. When you make a career change as I've done, I don't know, four or five, six times, depending on how you key on as other people who reach out to me have done, when you make a career change, it is not about the title of the role you had. Remember it's about you, it's singularly focused on you. And so what do you bring to this new career that's your differentiator that sets you apart from everybody else. That's the question you're gonna wanna go through and analyze and reach out to me. I can help you do it, but that in essence is what you're gonna wanna do to come into this any career change, but especially into a public affairs world. Kseniya Tarasenko (37:25): The next question I have is, do you support the  star approach when it comes to describing work experience or professional skills in an interview cover letter? Cicely Simpson (37:38): I don't use the Stars approach. I <laugh> I don't know you, this may be controversial, but I don't use the Stars approach. I use the four things I just gave you because I've looked at enough resumes. Everybody's looking at enough resumes or even interviews. People wanna know who you are. And I tend to think some of the approaches that are out there fall short of getting to the actual point that an interviewer wants to know in your, in your you know, in your interview, whether that's through your resume or cover letter. So I'm happy to walk through why I don't do the, the stars approach and I actually advocate for these, the four things instead. Cuz this is really the four things that have worked for me. But generally, no, I, I don't use that approach. I'm not saying it's wrong or right, I'm just saying I don't use that approach and I don't coach others to use that approach. Kseniya Tarasenko (38:27): Do you have any advice for having conversation with folks on your team to address their and your own blind spots? Cicely Simpson (38:35): <Laugh>, yes, <laugh>, but be careful. Look, the three, and I only teach this to people who come to me, but I'll I'll say it today. The three most impactful words you can use in any conversation of that nature is helped me understand. So if someone has some anger issues towards you, like for example, let's, let's just walk through this. This is a good, this is a good, a good kind of example to give. Let's say, you know, listen, we've all been in conversations, we've all been in meetings. Somebody tends to, you know, interrupt all the time or maybe you have the colleague who kind of has the condescending tone. I've been known to call people out in public before, but more importantly behind the scenes, you know, hey can we, can we talk for a second and you just pull 'em aside. Cicely Simpson (39:26): So help me understand. We understand, I don't think you realize how you came across, but help me understand why you were kind of come across, you know, very demeaning or why, why I sense some anger from you. The three words have helped me understand can bridge the gap of a very adversarial conversation and now you're seeking to understand someone's mindset and rationale versus being accusatory about how they just showed up in, you know, that moment. Listen, I've had somebody throw something at me before and I went on one meeting, thankfully it wasn't heavy, it was a pin, but I literally had somebody on my team throw something at me and I'm like, did that just happen? And I literally said to her, I said, Help me understand why you thought that was a really good idea just now. Cause pretty sure you don't ever throw something at your boss. So what I would say to you is bridge the gap of how that person may not know how they're showing up. And look, I, I kind of give three examples of this how you can kind of really acknowledge somebody in that moment. But I'll just say use those words to help you bridge that gap of a tough conversation. But you need to have the conversation if somebody's showing up in that way. Absolutely. Kseniya Tarasenko (40:42): Got it. Thank Cicely Simpson (40:44): Someone says, the ice cream story reminds me of an episode of Veep where Julia Louis try is visit an ice cream shop in DC. Well I might get in trouble for telling that story. So, you know Sorry, go ahead. Sing y I just saw that in the corner of my eye and I'm like the ice cream story, it's in the book, so I might get in trouble. But go ahead, I'll answer more questions. I know we've got a few minutes left. Kseniya Tarasenko (41:03): That's okay. Actually, those were all the questions that got asked. Thank you so much for answering all of them. Cicely Simpson (41:10): Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so let me wrap this up. Fabulous moderators. So, you know, thank you so much. Hey listen, quorum team, you guys know I love you. Thanks for the opportunity to come share these strategies. I know it was kind of quick and we're just scratching the surface, but appreciate the opportunity and I invite you guys reach out to me. I'm on LinkedIn, I'm on Instagram, Facebook, I just started take talk. God help me. Reach out to me if you have questions. I'm happy to talk through more questions for you. Also happy to kind of tailor advice to your specific situation. But if you wanna be part of what we're launching next year, I encourage you guys to reach out. You help us shape it, help us be part of it. I'd love to get your thoughts and love to hear from you. So quorum team, thank you so much for the opportunity. I will turn it back over to you. Kseniya Tarasenko (41:57): Thank you. Actually just got a question as you were wrapping it up. Okay. Where can people purchase your book? Cicely Simpson (42:03): It's on Amazon. Cicely Simpson (42:06): It's on, it's in you know, amazon.com. So you can go to Amazon and purchase it. And you know, I think they're running, I think we're getting ready to run another best. It's an Amazon bestseller, but I think we're running another bests seller campaign. So if you get it right now, you'll probably get it to that discount cuz we're running some different campaigns or Wall Street Journal campaigns and some other best-seller campaigns. So you could probably get it right now for a discounted price if you grab it. But thank you for asking. I hope you enjoy it. And of course, if you want an autographed copy, you gotta reach out to me cuz I've gotta send that to you directly, or my team has to send that to you directly. So if you want an autographed copy with, you know, with a personal note, then reach out to me directly and we can facilitate that.   [post_title] => Pull Up Your C.H.A.I.R: Growing Your Career in Public Affairs [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => pull-up-your-chair-growing-your-career-in-public-affairs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-10-11 21:29:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-10-11 21:29:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=7657 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [queried_object_id] => 7657 [request] => SELECT wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts WHERE 1=1 AND wp_posts.post_name = 'pull-up-your-chair-growing-your-career-in-public-affairs' AND wp_posts.post_type = 'resources' ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7657 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2022-10-11 21:29:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-10-11 21:29:02 [post_content] => [embed]https://youtu.be/5oAvW4GTHUY[/embed] Kseniya Tarasenko (00:08): Hi everyone and welcome to the last session of the day for the first day of one week. As we give folks a few minutes to log onto the session and join us, I would love to start this discussion with an icebreaker. And the icebreaker for today is, what was your f first job ever? Feel free to drop this in a live chat. Happy to read it. What was your first job ever? Cicely Simpson (00:41): I was gonna say, can I participate cuz I'm having FOMO right now? Can I jump in <laugh>? Kseniya Tarasenko (00:46): Of course. Cicely Simpson (00:47): My first job, believe it or not, I talk about it often in my videos, was on an assembly line. I worked putting together in a factory, putting together 18-wheeler trucks. And it was the hardest job I've ever had and one of the best jobs I've ever had. But that was my father's way of teaching me the value of an education was go work in a factory for a summer and see how hard it is. And I was like, Ooh. So a great experience, but it's been very formative for me as well as you can tell. Kseniya Tarasenko (01:14): I bet. What do you think made it the best one? Cicely Simpson (01:18): You know what listen, I can work an air gun and a truck. Like I got some mad skills on an airgun that summer cuz you had 10 seconds to do the entire cab of a truck. So I got some mad airgun skills, but you know what? It taught me all the fundamentals that I didn't know. So it was pretty cool in that regard, right? Because I had to drive it, it was an hour and a half from my house, so I had to be up every morning at 4:00 AM to get to work by five 30 for my shift to start at 6:00 AM So talk about discipline <laugh>. It was very formative in that regard. Kseniya Tarasenko (01:51): I was gonna say, I imagine that builds character at an early age. Cicely Simpson (01:55): It, I cried every day for an entire summer. I was freaking miserable getting up that early with my friends were all out partying and my dad's like, No, you're, you're gonna do this. But it yeah, taught me a lot of lessons and the grit and discipline and kind of resilience out of that was huge. A hundred percent. Yeah. Kseniya Tarasenko (02:11): That's awesome. And look at you now, <laugh>. Cicely Simpson (02:14): Yeah. Oh yeah. Lots, lots of good stories to tell. Kseniya Tarasenko (02:19): Great. Well now that we've got most folks in and we are ready to get started, I'm thrilled to have Cicely here. I think she's the only speaker who has been to everyone Wonk Week Quorum has had, so this is pretty incredible. I'm happy to be moderating this session with you. Cicely Simpson (02:36): Thank you. Kseniya Tarasenko (02:38): Just to give a bit of a background on Cicely, she is a seasoned public operative. She has served as a legislative director for two congressmen. She's a veteran of the C-Suite, as she was formerly a vice president of Government Affairs at Dunkin' Brands, as well as formerly executive vice president of Public Affairs for the restaurant industry. And now she's the founder and CEO of Summit Public Affairs. Her experience at all levels of garment and expertise in the boardroom allows her to speak with the authority on the public and private sectors as well as their countless intersections. And as you can tell, Cicely is a very diverse person. She had many job experiences starting from trucks all the way to having her own firm now. So I'm super happy to listen to this chat, and I'm going to hand it over to Cicely now. Cicely Simpson (03:29): Awesome. Thank you so much. And yeah, that bio is a very short way of saying I'm old and I've been around DC for almost 20 years, 20 years this year. So yeah, thanks for that introduction. I really, really appreciate it. And wonk week is my jam clearly cuz I've been to every one of them and I look so forward to Wonk Week. So it's a pleasure to be here with you guys again. And I am super stoked about talking today about a career in public affairs cuz a lot of you who watch my live videos on LinkedIn, reach out to me and have a lot of questions about navigating the world of public affairs and government relations working on the Hill and you know, just kind of the stuff that we do every day, but how you progress in that career. Cicely Simpson (04:15): So when Quorum reached out and said, Hey, you wanna have this conversation, I, you know, said absolutely. And since we started this chat with trivia, I'm gonna keep the trivia going. I told Avery at Quorum, right, I'm gonna fall right in line here with the trivia of Wonk Week. And I have a question for folks now, Kseniya, I can't see the chat, so I'm gonna, if you can tell me if somebody answers this correctly, but here's the question for the day guys. To get you started this afternoon, there's a famous politician who has a quote and the quote says, If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair who said that quote, who's the author of that quote? And you have your Google machine right in front of you. The interwebs can help you if you want to type this in, but put it in the chat. Who who said that famous quote, If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair. Kseniya Tarasenko (05:13): I'm anybody Cicely Simpson (05:14): In the chat? Kseniya Tarasenko (05:16): Someone Googles it right now. Cicely Simpson (05:19): Come on Shirley. Kseniya Tarasenko (05:20): Shirley Chisholm. Cicely Simpson (05:22): I just saw somebody got it right? Yes. So is it Tamara? Tamara Lewis. Okay, Tamara, if you will do me a favor the Innerwebs are working. So yes, you got that right. If you will stick your address in the chat, I will send you a copy of my new bestselling book. Hopefully, you guys can see that. Pull up your chair. Five strategies to change the trajectory of your career. The pull up your chair book is based on that quote from Shirley Chisholm. So Tamara, if you'll throw your address in the chat, then I am, oh, we got a couple of Shirley Chisholm. Okay, tell you what, you know what man? I can't choose. I can't choose. Okay, so tell you what, I'm counting one, I'm counting Onika, I'm counting Shirley. Nope, I got Ariel, Suzanne, Onika, Celeste, Tamara. Okay, if all five of you are six of you, depending on how you count, cuz you know it's one of those days if you throw all of your addresses in the chat, I will mail each of you a copy of the book because I think you all got it right, Kind of like simultaneous in timing. Cicely Simpson (06:25): So everybody sends your physical address, your mailing address and I will, our team will send you a copy of the book. Okay? So let's use that as a jumping-off point for this conversation because Shirley Chisholm, if you don't know her, please Google her freaking iconic in DC in terms of she was the first African American congresswoman, but also the first female to run for president back in the seventies, way before it was cool. And anybody knew that she was doing that, she was a trailblazer. She set the stage that if she doesn't get invited to a conversation, she's gonna pull up her chair and chart her on course. And what I find the parallels of her story and that quote to be so powerful for those of us in public affairs, it is that we have a very unique opportunity for what we do every day to really chart our own course in DC. Look, you heard Kseniya kind of read through my bio very non-traditional in terms of how I navigated DC but there's been one common theme that led to the book that led me to use that quote. Cicely Simpson (07:30): And that is, if you're not invited to the table, pull up your chair and make your own way. And today I'm gonna give you five strategies on how to do exactly that. For those of you who want a copy of the book, it's full, it's full Stories from the Hill and lobbying and Obamacare and all kinds of fun stuff that I've been involved with over the year. So you'll enjoy all the political stories. But we're gonna real quick run through the five strategies that make up the chair methodology. I'm gonna give you guys some examples about how to apply those because I learned these lessons doing the same thing you do every day. Lobbying, working on the hill communications, representing members or clients or working, you know, in a company. What you do every day is what I've done for the past 20 years, what I continue to do in my firm. Cicely Simpson (08:18): So these strategies are gonna apply to you if you in fact choose to apply them. But I wanna make one point before I jump in on the five strategies. People are fascinated by what you do every day. I get the question all the time, How did you get a book deal with Forbes? They looked at my LinkedIn profile, not kidding. And they reached out to me and said, If you have a very unique background, have you ever thought about writing a book? And I said, Well my background's not unique for DC There are tons of us in this town who do this. And they said we're not familiar with that. Like they, they were very, very, very interested in learning about how business and politics kind of coexist together. So when I tell you that you have a unique opportunity to leverage your career in public affairs to either stay in public affairs or do other things, then please know I'm kind of living proof of that. Cicely Simpson (09:15): The book is kind of living proof of that, is that people see what we do and our skills are so marketable and they wanna know more. And I tell people I stay in DC and still do what I do in DC even though I'm doing career coaching cuz you can't do it anywhere else. So as you apply these five strategies, you know, one thing I hear from people all the time is, you know, you don't know what's next. Not sure what's the next step to take. Maybe you want to advance in your career, but you're not sure how, if you're new to public affairs, meaning your career, I certainly have a lot of you who reach out to me and say, what do I do? I'm in a toxic work environment. I don't love my coworkers, but I love what I do. There are all kinds of manifestations of the career questions that you guys reach out to me with mostly on LinkedIn but also other social platforma. Cicely Simpson (10:02): So today we're gonna answer some of those questions and I encourage you to put questions in the chat. Sonia's gonna let me know if we're gonna do questions as we go along. She's gonna jump in and stop me or we can take 'em at the end. So you guys hit us with questions. I am not gonna talk for the entire 45 minutes cuz good lord knows y'all don't wanna hear me for 45 minutes. I'd rather be in dialogue and conversation. That's kind of my jam. And so we'll, we'll keep this short and then open it up for robust questions. But I took Shirley Chisholm's quote, If they don't give you a C at the table, bring a folding chair and took the word chair and developed five strategies that I've used to advance in my public affairs career that I now teach and coach others. Cicely Simpson (10:43): And I'm gonna give you a unique opportunity to help us frame out something at the very end. So keep watching until we're done. But let's go. Number one, strategy number one is the C. Now people see this and they say is the C for confidence? Nope. The C stands for championing yourself. And don't google this cuz the book's online. So please don't google this. Let, let me kinda walk you through the methodologies and then you guys can go back and see it on my website or you can Google it later. But the C is for championing yourself because the one thing I learned that you probably learned is you represent companies every day. You represent members. If you're in a trade association, maybe you represent groups or other companies depending on kind of what organization you're in. You're taught to advocate and represent others. Cicely Simpson (11:32): In our world, one thing I've learned, no one ever taught me how to advocate for myself. So you show up every day if it's on a hill, you're working for constituents. If you're in a trade, if you're in a company, if you're in a think tank, you're, you constantly have all these demands, all these interests you're representing, but no one tells you how to advocate for yourself. So the idea behind the C strategy of championing yourself is self-advocacy. Because if you don't put your best foot forward and champion yourself, no one will do it for you. And I've had so many people on my teams over the years who would say to me, Well I thought you knew I wanted that promotion or I thought you knew I wanted it that job, or I thought you knew I wanted to be on that project. And I would say to them, If you don't tell me, how am I supposed to know? Cicely Simpson (12:23): So this idea of championing yourself, and I chose that word very purposely because it's a very kind of active word, right? Champions are at the top of their game, right? They bring their A game, they advocate for themselves, they've gotten to where they are with hard work and determination, and perseverance. And that is that mental picture I wanna leave with you is the idea of you can be a confident person and never open your mouth to advocate for your own advancement. So that's why I didn't choose confidence cuz it's not enough. Confidence is great, but it's not enough. You actually need to champion yourself. And I tell people all the time, you can be your own best champion or your worst critic, you get to decide that. But so often we're not taught how to advocate for our own advancement in the workplace. And there's something I developed, you'll read it in the book if you buy it, if not, reach out to me, and I'll explain it more to you. Cicely Simpson (13:13): It's called the you list. Four things that you need to, to advance in your career that you need to champion yourself on, your value, your contributions, your accomplishments, and your lessons learned. Every job I've had in DC for the last 20 years, and even in the legal world before that, those four things, because your personal value is what gets you to the table. It's what differentiates you from everybody else. When you're championing yourself, you're championing your own personal worth. And here's the kicker, it has nothing to do with your job title. So many of you, when you reach out to me and you want resume help or you wanna talk about your career advancement, you always say to me, Well, but I, I did this last year and you gimme your sales numbers or you'll give me your, you know, you did this or you did that. Cicely Simpson (14:00): And you always frame your accomplishments in terms of your job. And when I ask people what is the personal value that you have to offer that no one else does dead silence, I get dead silence because we're not conditioned to answer that question of who you are and what you bring to the table that no one else does. We're not conditioned to answer that question about ourselves because we're so busy worried about defining ourselves in terms of our job. So this idea of advancement in your career has to start with you. And those four things you can get any job you want in any industry you want. If you know how to articulate those four things and articulate them well, strategy number two is the H in chair. H is for honesty. So here's the bookend, here's the, here's the not-so-fun moment on a Tuesday afternoon. Cicely Simpson (14:52): H is for honesty because I have been very blessed in my career. Many of you have as well to have some bosses who probably gave you some pretty tough feedback. And you may say, Well how's that a blessing? Because I was in my own way sometimes and I didn't know it. If value, think about it this way. You can champion yourself and your value and what you bring to the table and why you want that next role, that job, that promotion, you can do all those things, right? But if you're standing in your own way, that's a problem. You can actually undermine your own success and credibility and not know it because we all have blind spots. Somebody reached out to me on LinkedIn a couple of months ago and she said, You know, I read your book cuz I spoke to her, I did a book event in DC a couple of months ago. Cicely Simpson (15:37): And she reached out and said, You know, your book got it all wrong, <laugh>. I literally laughed that I saw the message on LinkedIn, I was like, no one's told me yet that the book sucks and I got it all wrong. And she said to me, You got it all wrong. And I said, All right, well let's jump on the phone and you can tell me basically why I got it all wrong. And as we started talking on the phone, the reframe here was she had some blind spots and some weaknesses she needed to work through. She had some preconceived notions of her colleagues and you know how she interacted with them. And the biggest part of your weaknesses and blind spots and why you've gotta get be gut honest with yourself is you've gotta know how you land on people and how you're perceived. Cicely Simpson (16:20): And she wasn't perceived very well. She was harsh, she was, I mean she just, she just did not realize how she came across. So by the end of that phone call, she told me I didn't get it wrong, <laugh> and she apologized, but she said that, you know, that we all have blind spots and we all have some areas we've gotta work on that may be inhibiting our growth, but we don't know it. That's the definition of a blind spot. So Nia, before I go to number three, do you have any questions for me or do you want me to keep going my friend? Kseniya Tarasenko (16:48): I have two questions. So the first question that was asked is, as a manager of public affairs professionals, how would you champion their career development? Cicely Simpson (16:57): Yeah, so how would I champion for their career development? So the first thing I would do is you have to give your team members space and encouragement to let them know they can come have that conversation with you. The last team that I led was a very large team and they had not ever been told or allowed or kind of coached on how to come have a career advancement, how to have a conversation about what their interests were. So you've gotta give them space and encourage them to come have that conversation. That's why I always coach my team. Don't assume, I know if you knock something outta the park and you did a great job or you got compliment from a member of the association, let me know those things. Don't assume that, you know, I know. So my biggest piece would be you've gotta give them permission and coach them and help them understand it's okay. It's okay to advocate for their own personal advancements. As a matter of fact, they should do that. Not only is it okay, they should do that and you should give them the space and help them understand how to do that. And if you wanna reach out to me, I'm happy to go through those four things and explain to you kind of how that may apply to your team. Kseniya Tarasenko (18:06): Great. I have more questions coming in. Okay, so the next question is, as a Latina, we are taught to be humble and avoid being a bother. I used to start all conversations with, I'm sorry to bother you. Now I spend time to educate, educate others on this cultural trap, how to overcome it. Cicely Simpson (18:27): Oh my gosh, Okay, you gotta reach out to, we gotta, we gotta have this conversation. So yes, we are all so guilty of over-apologizing. I literally just did a video the other day about stopping apologizing. There's no, I'm sorry. So let's, let's just say that. But listen, it's something that a lot of us have been taught culturally. Our families are where we're from. It is that humility. And here's the piece that we get wrong about sometimes about the humility piece. Your personal advancement, your personal value, your personal growth has nothing to do with anybody else but you. So it's not a competition, it's not comparing yourself to someone else. Hold your head high, be proud of who you are. If you're a confident person, own and wear that confidence because it has nothing to do with your anybody else. So your humility, your humility is still about how you show up every day. Cicely Simpson (19:21): And you can do that in a very authentic way that absolutely still honors your worth and your value and showing up is your best self. So my point is they're not mutually exclusive. And I get this question all the time. Well, I don't wanna see competitive or you know, so I don't want people to think I'm, you know, don't worry about what people think, worry about you and how that humility translates for you. But how you can also stay true to yourself. Don't hide yourself because you're worried about, you know, that humility coming across to others. It's important that you not see those two things as mutually exclusive. How about one more and then I'll jump back to over to the the third strategy. Kseniya Tarasenko (20:00): Okay. the next one is, which mentors in your career had the most influence on you and why? Cicely Simpson (20:05): Oh, that's a good one. Oh man, that's a good one. So I don't know if you've been around DC for a while, you probably know a guy named Jim Cooper. Jim is retiring this year. He was my second boss in congress. Jim was a great mentor, great friend. He's in the book. Jim shared a quote with me very early on in my career in Congress and he said, Cause I kept calling him congressman and he would say, Call me Jim. And I call him congressman and he was like, Call me Jim. And I was like, Dude, I'm not calling you Jim, you're a congress. We're not calling you about your first name. And he was like, But you've known me for years. I was like, I don't care. And he said to me, he said, this was literally 15, 20 years ago, he said to me, You, when you see yourself as an equal, you will be viewed as an equal. Cicely Simpson (20:46): Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time. So when you walk in rooms around here, view yourself as an equal and you'll be treated as an equal. And that stuck with me, as you can tell. Very formative. So Jim's one, another guy who was very instrumental in my career, his name is Chuck Maren. He was a lot lobbyist in DC for years. And I would literally sit with Chuck and just say, Tell me how to think strategically. I just saw you do X. Tell me how you did that. How did you think about that? How do you think about public policy? Chuck was great at connecting dots and forecasting out 2, 3, 4 years about how policy was gonna manifest itself. And so I would just sit with him and say, Just talk, I just wanna absorb everything that you say. And he literally taught me how to be a better strategic thinker, a better visionary. Cicely Simpson (21:31): But he also was very formative in my time in dc. I still talk to Chuck all the time even though he's retired. But I learned so much from him by simply saying, Will you teach me what you know? And he said, Yes. And that was a very, he's an important friend and mentor to this day. So those are the two I would point out. So I'll come back to the rest of those. Let me finish the last three strategies and then we'll jump back into questions. Okay, so strategy number three is a, the a is for adaptability. You guys ready? Adaptability is the core competency you are judged on every day. But nobody told you if you are on the hill or if you're in a public affairs organization. Look, you know, crap happens in the mornings, right? The news cycle kind of takes over your day sometimes. Cicely Simpson (22:15): And I've seen people who really, you know, they have 10 things on their list that day, and they, they gotta do those 10 things. And if they don't get through those 10 things, like they are not a happy camper at the end of the day. Like, they're not adaptable physically to their surroundings. As events change, things happen, you're not gonna get through your list. The physical adaptability is something that people notice, and perhaps the more important pieces, the mental adaptability. Are you a mentally adaptable person to not only what's happening around you, but are you mentally adaptable in your interactions? Because the adaptability skills are interpersonal skills, They're teamwork, it's communication. So many ways that adaptability manifests itself every single day in your career, in your office, in your workplace, being mentally adaptable is as important as being physically adaptable to actually what's happening around you. Cicely Simpson (23:11): And it's one of those, nobody's ever gonna point it out to you until you get it wrong. If you do well, being mentally and physically adaptable to what's going on. And mentally, there are a lot of language cues I give people about how to be mentally adaptable to different situations. And I actually kind of talk you through those. But the key piece here is that adaptability is so important, but no one ever teaches you how to be an adaptable person and adaptable leader. We hear all those buzzwords, no one ever walks you through it. So as for adaptability and knowing that adaptability mentally and physically is key. The eye, the eye is okay. The eye is one of my favorites. The eye is for impact. People see that and they say, Oh, you mean influence, No, write this down. Influence is temporary. Impact is lasting. Cicely Simpson (23:59): You wanna be a person of impact, not a person of influence. Influence is very episodic to where you are, who you're dealing with in that moment. You can be influential today and you know, tomorrow nobody wants to talk to you. Your influence can weigh over time depending on situations. Your impact is lasting. And there are some great stories in the book about how I realized my impact, my very well in my career when I started at Duncan Brands, Dunking Donuts in Baskin Robbins. And I'll tell a quick story and then we will I'll move on to the last strategy. When I started working for Duncan, it was April of oh eight, right? Pivotal presidential election Obama, McCain and <laugh>. I was literally probably three, four weeks into my job and I got an email and you know, it's one of those where somebody CC'd me. Cicely Simpson (24:48): I probably should have been CC'd on it, but okay, I was, so I read it and there was a new marketing strategy that Duncan wanted to do. I'm sorry, Baskin wanted to do to honor the election. Okay, cool. And so as I'm reading, I was like, Uhoh, this is not, oh my god, this is not good. So they wanted to introduce two new ice cream flavors, one for President Obama, one for John McCain. Now if you know where this story is going, then you will know that the chocolate vanilla swirl is a great ice cream flavor for Baskin. Probably not so great to use when you're talking about President Obama being the first interracial president. Peanut brittle love, peanut, brittle flavored ice cream. Probably not the flavor you wanna use. When you were talking about Mr. Mccain running for president cuz he was 72 at the time. Cicely Simpson (25:40): So I see this email, this great marketing strategy, and I'm like, oh geez. And I'm like, well I'm the new kid. Do I say something? Do I not say something crap? Do I let this go and just know this is gonna be a PR nightmare? Or do I say, Hey guys, let me help you get to yes. So let's celebrate president o Mr. Obama, let's, let's celebrate Mr. McCain, but let's do so in a different way. That's probably not gonna be a backlash. So I literally agonized over this email and I finally responded and said, Hey, I have a great idea that's still gonna accomplish your goals of honoring these two gentlemen, but it's gonna help you get there in a very different way than these two ice cream flavors. And I put it in email and I hit send and I thought, crap, these people are gonna fricking fire me over this cuz I probably wasn't supposed to be Stacy on that email, but I was. Cicely Simpson (26:29): And they, you know, I kind of hit send and I thought, oh this sucks. I'm gonna, I'm gonna get hammered for this. And they all came back to me, Thank you so much. Oh my gosh, never thought about those points. So glad you mentioned something. And I learned this concept of how to get people to, yes, if you're in public affairs, your main driver should be getting people to yes, help people reach their objectives, the same objective but maybe in a very different way than they thought. It's what I did on the hill, it's what I did at Duncan National Restaurant Association that I do for my clients. Now when my clients come to me and they have a bus an objective they wanna accomplish, I can tell you how to accomplish it. But the road to get to, yes, I can get to yes, which is your objective, but I'm probably gonna give you a very different strategy like I just did in that Duncan and basket example to get to yes, in a very different way. Cicely Simpson (27:20): Help people think outside the box. You guys may have heard of the rule of three, The rule of three for creative and problem-solving. One solution is a trap. Two solutions are dilemma. Three or more are actually where you want to be because then you're opening up your mind at different solutions. That's what you're doing when you're a person of impact. You're not going along to get along. You're not the, hey this is the way we've always done it so we've gotta continue to do this way. You're actually challenging status quo thinking and people love to be around people who do that because you're creating impact on your audience for your members, for who you serve. People love to be around people who have impact. So understand that being a person of impact is far beyond influence. And by the way, the eye is not for imposter syndrome. Cicely Simpson (28:08): I teach a whole course on imposter syndrome cuz there are seven root causes of imposter syndrome in five types. And imposter syndrome can seep in at all times. But for people of impact, you're not an imposter because you know you're bringing impact every single day. There's a whole lot more I can go into. But just think about it, champion yourself gets you to the table. Impact ensures you stay there. Last strategy and then we'll go back to questions are this one, this one gets everybody, people say why did you ch r what, what does the R stand for? The R stands for regrets. Now I'm glad we're on camera cuz you can't throw anything at me when I'm getting ready to say what I'm getting ready to say your five-year plan, your 10-year plan, throw it, ditch it, erase it, I don't know, delete it if it's on your computer. Cicely Simpson (28:58): And yes, this is where people get very controversial with me. I posted this on LinkedIn last year and people lost their freaking minds because I said, ditch your five or 10-year plan. Here's why. And here's why I chose regrets because every opportunity I've gotten in DC was not part of my plan, did not come the timeframe I thought it was gonna come in. Heck, most of it was like, hey you should, you should go talk to this person. And I was like, well why? Because it kind of looked like work not as an opportunity. You're not thinking big enough and you're not dreaming big enough and your plan will never be big enough for the opportunities that are gonna come your way. I was a prosecutor in my career, never thought about going to dc but this opportunity came and I thought, eh, I've never been to Washington. Cicely Simpson (29:41): I'm from small rural Tennessee. Why the heck would I go to Washington DC ?But I thought I'll try it for six months and see what happens. Not part of my plan. I had no legislative experience, never worked in a political environment. And I was like the heck am I gonna do in Washington? Going from there to Duncan, I had no restaurant industry experience, but somebody came to me one day and said, Have you ever thought about working in a corporate setting? And I said, No. Why would I do that? Same thing with the restaurant association I was recruited and to be the executive vice president of public affairs this book deal. Somebody reached out on LinkedIn. I thought, this has gotta be a joke. The opportunities that come your way are never where you think they've never packaged the way you think and they, your plan is not big enough because some of the opportunities that are gonna come your way in this world in DC and public affairs around the country, Look, you guys are stationed all around the country. Cicely Simpson (30:30): You're not just in DC I say that from my point of reference cuz that's where I've always been based. But you're based all around the country. You're gonna have opportunities in your companies maybe to get outside of public affairs and do other things. You may have opportunities that come your way you never dreamed of. Don't miss them because sometimes they don't come the way you think. They're not packaged the way you think and they're not part of your plan. You're gonna miss some amazing opportunities and you're gonna have a lot of regrets if you stick to a plan that you can't dream big enough or far enough. Okay? So there's a lot more to the regret side. There are a lot of stories behind that. I'm not gonna go into those for the sake of time. What I will simply say is, you're not dreaming big enough and you're not thinking big enough. Cicely Simpson (31:11): Go bigger, dream bigger, think bigger at the opportunities that are come your way. And if you wanna have a conversation, reach out to me. I'll tell you every single one that's come my way. That was never part, never part of my plan. I was gonna be the first African American Supreme Court justice, but Joe Biden didn't know that. Nobody told he was supposed to pick me, right? So, but that's what I wanted to be when I was eight years old. Literally that I'm that kid. And, and, but I will tell you, the opportunities in DC had been far greater, far bigger, far better than I could ever imagined being in this world that we all live in every day. So be careful that you don't miss opportunities cuz they're just not part of the plan. Cuz your plan may not be big enough and that's an important lesson for you to learn. Cicely Simpson (31:53): Okay, I'm done. I promise actually I'm not done. One more thing let me finish up with this. I've given you five strategies and five career tips, okay? I'm giving them to you pretty quickly. Reach out to me, I'm on all the socials if you wanna talk through it, happy to talk through it. Let me ask for your help though on something and then we're gonna get to questions. I want you guys to help us shape what we're getting ready to launch in 2023. Now this is risky cuz everybody who knows about this is under an NDA. Can't put all of you under NDAs. But what I can say to you is, you know, I'm a big fan of Quorum because when Quorum, I literally found these guys in April, 2015 when they were, you know, first being started. I was like, Quorum is changing the game. Cicely Simpson (32:35): I wanna be part of something that changes the game. And I've been a huge fan. As I said, my LinkedIn post, I've been fangirling over quorum ever since. They, they, their inception and their founding, think of what we're getting ready. We're building the quorum of your career, let's put it that way. We're building something that's gonna be the most comprehensive career resource center ever created that will literally walk with you every step of the way in your career. There will be content tailored toward public affairs professionals. Here's my ask. If you wanna help us shape this, then reach out to me because I, we're literally doing focus groups around the country right now. What do people want? What resources do they want access to? How can we provide it? We're bringing in experts, leaders from all around the country to help do this. So you get to help shape it cuz you guys are my people. Cicely Simpson (33:23): So let me know, reach out to me if you wanna help shape it. I'd love to have a phone call with you if you say, eh, I don't wanna shape it, I just wanna know when, when it's ready. Then text the word careers, c a r e e r s to 6, 6 8, 6 6. That group who's in my community will get exclusive access to this project we're launching before it goes public. So we're gonna give exclusive access to anybody who's on that list. So that's careers text careers to 6 68 66. Okay, I'm done. I promise. I just wanna make sure that I give you guys the opportunity because we have such similar backgrounds that you guys have a chance to shape what we're getting ready to launch and it's gonna be freaking amazing. So if you wanna be part of it, let me know. Okay, I'm done. I promise. What, what, what's next? What other questions do we have? Kseniya Tarasenko (34:11): So the other question is, do you have any suggestions for those of us who are not your typical to understand how others may perceive us if they're not direct or honest? Cicely Simpson (34:23): How do people perceive you if they're not direct or honest? Kseniya Tarasenko (34:27): Yes Cicely Simpson (34:28): Great question. I don't have time to go into all the details here, so feel free to reach out to me. There is, there are, I think I teach five or six strategies on how to do that. The basic premise though about know how you land on people you have been told at some point how you land on people. People have, they may not be honest, let's be honest. They're probably passive-aggressive, but they've said it. So if you do some kind of honest reflection on feedback you've gotten, you probably have gotten feedback about the perception, how you land on people, but there are some different strategies you can use to kind of get that information, reach out to me. I'm happy to give you those strategies and walk you through each one of those and how it may, I'd love to know more about your situation and how I can actually apply those to you. So, and it's basic form, it's been said to you at some point, but if you wanna go deeper than that, let me walk through your situation. I'm happy to do it with you. Just reach out to me on LinkedIn or, or my email address is cicely@cicelysimpson.com. So it's cicely@cicelysimpson.com. So you can also reach out to me there. Kseniya Tarasenko (35:36): Great. Next question is, can you speak to keys to success for folks transitioning into public affairs as a career change? Cicely Simpson (35:45): Where are you transitioning from? So career change, where, where are you coming into public affairs from? I'd love to know that piece of information. You guys are gonna learn from me. Everything matters in context. So a piece of information without context is just an information piece. So the context kind of gives me like, oh, you're coming from here into there. So if you have context around it, right? Everything matters in context. So if you would, if you would chime in and tell me where you're coming from that would be helpful for me to kind of be more direct in my answer. My general answer is, if you're coming into public affairs you have to go through those four steps. You have to go through those four steps of the you list as I called it, knowing your value comp, your contributions, your accomplishments, and your lessons learned. Cicely Simpson (36:30): You need to know what those things are because you're coming into a very different career change. It sounds like a very different world. You need to work through those four pieces and figure out what your personal value statement is. That's what I call it, a personal value statement, not personal branding. This is beyond branding your personal value statement. When you make a career change as I've done, I don't know, four or five, six times, depending on how you key on as other people who reach out to me have done, when you make a career change, it is not about the title of the role you had. Remember it's about you, it's singularly focused on you. And so what do you bring to this new career that's your differentiator that sets you apart from everybody else. That's the question you're gonna wanna go through and analyze and reach out to me. I can help you do it, but that in essence is what you're gonna wanna do to come into this any career change, but especially into a public affairs world. Kseniya Tarasenko (37:25): The next question I have is, do you support the  star approach when it comes to describing work experience or professional skills in an interview cover letter? Cicely Simpson (37:38): I don't use the Stars approach. I <laugh> I don't know you, this may be controversial, but I don't use the Stars approach. I use the four things I just gave you because I've looked at enough resumes. Everybody's looking at enough resumes or even interviews. People wanna know who you are. And I tend to think some of the approaches that are out there fall short of getting to the actual point that an interviewer wants to know in your, in your you know, in your interview, whether that's through your resume or cover letter. So I'm happy to walk through why I don't do the, the stars approach and I actually advocate for these, the four things instead. Cuz this is really the four things that have worked for me. But generally, no, I, I don't use that approach. I'm not saying it's wrong or right, I'm just saying I don't use that approach and I don't coach others to use that approach. Kseniya Tarasenko (38:27): Do you have any advice for having conversation with folks on your team to address their and your own blind spots? Cicely Simpson (38:35): <Laugh>, yes, <laugh>, but be careful. Look, the three, and I only teach this to people who come to me, but I'll I'll say it today. The three most impactful words you can use in any conversation of that nature is helped me understand. So if someone has some anger issues towards you, like for example, let's, let's just walk through this. This is a good, this is a good, a good kind of example to give. Let's say, you know, listen, we've all been in conversations, we've all been in meetings. Somebody tends to, you know, interrupt all the time or maybe you have the colleague who kind of has the condescending tone. I've been known to call people out in public before, but more importantly behind the scenes, you know, hey can we, can we talk for a second and you just pull 'em aside. Cicely Simpson (39:26): So help me understand. We understand, I don't think you realize how you came across, but help me understand why you were kind of come across, you know, very demeaning or why, why I sense some anger from you. The three words have helped me understand can bridge the gap of a very adversarial conversation and now you're seeking to understand someone's mindset and rationale versus being accusatory about how they just showed up in, you know, that moment. Listen, I've had somebody throw something at me before and I went on one meeting, thankfully it wasn't heavy, it was a pin, but I literally had somebody on my team throw something at me and I'm like, did that just happen? And I literally said to her, I said, Help me understand why you thought that was a really good idea just now. Cause pretty sure you don't ever throw something at your boss. So what I would say to you is bridge the gap of how that person may not know how they're showing up. And look, I, I kind of give three examples of this how you can kind of really acknowledge somebody in that moment. But I'll just say use those words to help you bridge that gap of a tough conversation. But you need to have the conversation if somebody's showing up in that way. Absolutely. Kseniya Tarasenko (40:42): Got it. Thank Cicely Simpson (40:44): Someone says, the ice cream story reminds me of an episode of Veep where Julia Louis try is visit an ice cream shop in DC. Well I might get in trouble for telling that story. So, you know Sorry, go ahead. Sing y I just saw that in the corner of my eye and I'm like the ice cream story, it's in the book, so I might get in trouble. But go ahead, I'll answer more questions. I know we've got a few minutes left. Kseniya Tarasenko (41:03): That's okay. Actually, those were all the questions that got asked. Thank you so much for answering all of them. Cicely Simpson (41:10): Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so let me wrap this up. Fabulous moderators. So, you know, thank you so much. Hey listen, quorum team, you guys know I love you. Thanks for the opportunity to come share these strategies. I know it was kind of quick and we're just scratching the surface, but appreciate the opportunity and I invite you guys reach out to me. I'm on LinkedIn, I'm on Instagram, Facebook, I just started take talk. God help me. Reach out to me if you have questions. I'm happy to talk through more questions for you. Also happy to kind of tailor advice to your specific situation. But if you wanna be part of what we're launching next year, I encourage you guys to reach out. You help us shape it, help us be part of it. I'd love to get your thoughts and love to hear from you. So quorum team, thank you so much for the opportunity. I will turn it back over to you. Kseniya Tarasenko (41:57): Thank you. Actually just got a question as you were wrapping it up. Okay. Where can people purchase your book? Cicely Simpson (42:03): It's on Amazon. Cicely Simpson (42:06): It's on, it's in you know, amazon.com. So you can go to Amazon and purchase it. And you know, I think they're running, I think we're getting ready to run another best. It's an Amazon bestseller, but I think we're running another bests seller campaign. So if you get it right now, you'll probably get it to that discount cuz we're running some different campaigns or Wall Street Journal campaigns and some other best-seller campaigns. So you could probably get it right now for a discounted price if you grab it. But thank you for asking. I hope you enjoy it. And of course, if you want an autographed copy, you gotta reach out to me cuz I've gotta send that to you directly, or my team has to send that to you directly. So if you want an autographed copy with, you know, with a personal note, then reach out to me directly and we can facilitate that.   [post_title] => Pull Up Your C.H.A.I.R: Growing Your Career in Public Affairs [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => pull-up-your-chair-growing-your-career-in-public-affairs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-10-11 21:29:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-10-11 21:29:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=7657 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 1 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7657 [post_author] => 12 [post_date] => 2022-10-11 21:29:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-10-11 21:29:02 [post_content] => [embed]https://youtu.be/5oAvW4GTHUY[/embed] Kseniya Tarasenko (00:08): Hi everyone and welcome to the last session of the day for the first day of one week. As we give folks a few minutes to log onto the session and join us, I would love to start this discussion with an icebreaker. And the icebreaker for today is, what was your f first job ever? Feel free to drop this in a live chat. Happy to read it. What was your first job ever? Cicely Simpson (00:41): I was gonna say, can I participate cuz I'm having FOMO right now? Can I jump in <laugh>? Kseniya Tarasenko (00:46): Of course. Cicely Simpson (00:47): My first job, believe it or not, I talk about it often in my videos, was on an assembly line. I worked putting together in a factory, putting together 18-wheeler trucks. And it was the hardest job I've ever had and one of the best jobs I've ever had. But that was my father's way of teaching me the value of an education was go work in a factory for a summer and see how hard it is. And I was like, Ooh. So a great experience, but it's been very formative for me as well as you can tell. Kseniya Tarasenko (01:14): I bet. What do you think made it the best one? Cicely Simpson (01:18): You know what listen, I can work an air gun and a truck. Like I got some mad skills on an airgun that summer cuz you had 10 seconds to do the entire cab of a truck. So I got some mad airgun skills, but you know what? It taught me all the fundamentals that I didn't know. So it was pretty cool in that regard, right? Because I had to drive it, it was an hour and a half from my house, so I had to be up every morning at 4:00 AM to get to work by five 30 for my shift to start at 6:00 AM So talk about discipline <laugh>. It was very formative in that regard. Kseniya Tarasenko (01:51): I was gonna say, I imagine that builds character at an early age. Cicely Simpson (01:55): It, I cried every day for an entire summer. I was freaking miserable getting up that early with my friends were all out partying and my dad's like, No, you're, you're gonna do this. But it yeah, taught me a lot of lessons and the grit and discipline and kind of resilience out of that was huge. A hundred percent. Yeah. Kseniya Tarasenko (02:11): That's awesome. And look at you now, <laugh>. Cicely Simpson (02:14): Yeah. Oh yeah. Lots, lots of good stories to tell. Kseniya Tarasenko (02:19): Great. Well now that we've got most folks in and we are ready to get started, I'm thrilled to have Cicely here. I think she's the only speaker who has been to everyone Wonk Week Quorum has had, so this is pretty incredible. I'm happy to be moderating this session with you. Cicely Simpson (02:36): Thank you. Kseniya Tarasenko (02:38): Just to give a bit of a background on Cicely, she is a seasoned public operative. She has served as a legislative director for two congressmen. She's a veteran of the C-Suite, as she was formerly a vice president of Government Affairs at Dunkin' Brands, as well as formerly executive vice president of Public Affairs for the restaurant industry. And now she's the founder and CEO of Summit Public Affairs. Her experience at all levels of garment and expertise in the boardroom allows her to speak with the authority on the public and private sectors as well as their countless intersections. And as you can tell, Cicely is a very diverse person. She had many job experiences starting from trucks all the way to having her own firm now. So I'm super happy to listen to this chat, and I'm going to hand it over to Cicely now. Cicely Simpson (03:29): Awesome. Thank you so much. And yeah, that bio is a very short way of saying I'm old and I've been around DC for almost 20 years, 20 years this year. So yeah, thanks for that introduction. I really, really appreciate it. And wonk week is my jam clearly cuz I've been to every one of them and I look so forward to Wonk Week. So it's a pleasure to be here with you guys again. And I am super stoked about talking today about a career in public affairs cuz a lot of you who watch my live videos on LinkedIn, reach out to me and have a lot of questions about navigating the world of public affairs and government relations working on the Hill and you know, just kind of the stuff that we do every day, but how you progress in that career. Cicely Simpson (04:15): So when Quorum reached out and said, Hey, you wanna have this conversation, I, you know, said absolutely. And since we started this chat with trivia, I'm gonna keep the trivia going. I told Avery at Quorum, right, I'm gonna fall right in line here with the trivia of Wonk Week. And I have a question for folks now, Kseniya, I can't see the chat, so I'm gonna, if you can tell me if somebody answers this correctly, but here's the question for the day guys. To get you started this afternoon, there's a famous politician who has a quote and the quote says, If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair who said that quote, who's the author of that quote? And you have your Google machine right in front of you. The interwebs can help you if you want to type this in, but put it in the chat. Who who said that famous quote, If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair. Kseniya Tarasenko (05:13): I'm anybody Cicely Simpson (05:14): In the chat? Kseniya Tarasenko (05:16): Someone Googles it right now. Cicely Simpson (05:19): Come on Shirley. Kseniya Tarasenko (05:20): Shirley Chisholm. Cicely Simpson (05:22): I just saw somebody got it right? Yes. So is it Tamara? Tamara Lewis. Okay, Tamara, if you will do me a favor the Innerwebs are working. So yes, you got that right. If you will stick your address in the chat, I will send you a copy of my new bestselling book. Hopefully, you guys can see that. Pull up your chair. Five strategies to change the trajectory of your career. The pull up your chair book is based on that quote from Shirley Chisholm. So Tamara, if you'll throw your address in the chat, then I am, oh, we got a couple of Shirley Chisholm. Okay, tell you what, you know what man? I can't choose. I can't choose. Okay, so tell you what, I'm counting one, I'm counting Onika, I'm counting Shirley. Nope, I got Ariel, Suzanne, Onika, Celeste, Tamara. Okay, if all five of you are six of you, depending on how you count, cuz you know it's one of those days if you throw all of your addresses in the chat, I will mail each of you a copy of the book because I think you all got it right, Kind of like simultaneous in timing. Cicely Simpson (06:25): So everybody sends your physical address, your mailing address and I will, our team will send you a copy of the book. Okay? So let's use that as a jumping-off point for this conversation because Shirley Chisholm, if you don't know her, please Google her freaking iconic in DC in terms of she was the first African American congresswoman, but also the first female to run for president back in the seventies, way before it was cool. And anybody knew that she was doing that, she was a trailblazer. She set the stage that if she doesn't get invited to a conversation, she's gonna pull up her chair and chart her on course. And what I find the parallels of her story and that quote to be so powerful for those of us in public affairs, it is that we have a very unique opportunity for what we do every day to really chart our own course in DC. Look, you heard Kseniya kind of read through my bio very non-traditional in terms of how I navigated DC but there's been one common theme that led to the book that led me to use that quote. Cicely Simpson (07:30): And that is, if you're not invited to the table, pull up your chair and make your own way. And today I'm gonna give you five strategies on how to do exactly that. For those of you who want a copy of the book, it's full, it's full Stories from the Hill and lobbying and Obamacare and all kinds of fun stuff that I've been involved with over the year. So you'll enjoy all the political stories. But we're gonna real quick run through the five strategies that make up the chair methodology. I'm gonna give you guys some examples about how to apply those because I learned these lessons doing the same thing you do every day. Lobbying, working on the hill communications, representing members or clients or working, you know, in a company. What you do every day is what I've done for the past 20 years, what I continue to do in my firm. Cicely Simpson (08:18): So these strategies are gonna apply to you if you in fact choose to apply them. But I wanna make one point before I jump in on the five strategies. People are fascinated by what you do every day. I get the question all the time, How did you get a book deal with Forbes? They looked at my LinkedIn profile, not kidding. And they reached out to me and said, If you have a very unique background, have you ever thought about writing a book? And I said, Well my background's not unique for DC There are tons of us in this town who do this. And they said we're not familiar with that. Like they, they were very, very, very interested in learning about how business and politics kind of coexist together. So when I tell you that you have a unique opportunity to leverage your career in public affairs to either stay in public affairs or do other things, then please know I'm kind of living proof of that. Cicely Simpson (09:15): The book is kind of living proof of that, is that people see what we do and our skills are so marketable and they wanna know more. And I tell people I stay in DC and still do what I do in DC even though I'm doing career coaching cuz you can't do it anywhere else. So as you apply these five strategies, you know, one thing I hear from people all the time is, you know, you don't know what's next. Not sure what's the next step to take. Maybe you want to advance in your career, but you're not sure how, if you're new to public affairs, meaning your career, I certainly have a lot of you who reach out to me and say, what do I do? I'm in a toxic work environment. I don't love my coworkers, but I love what I do. There are all kinds of manifestations of the career questions that you guys reach out to me with mostly on LinkedIn but also other social platforma. Cicely Simpson (10:02): So today we're gonna answer some of those questions and I encourage you to put questions in the chat. Sonia's gonna let me know if we're gonna do questions as we go along. She's gonna jump in and stop me or we can take 'em at the end. So you guys hit us with questions. I am not gonna talk for the entire 45 minutes cuz good lord knows y'all don't wanna hear me for 45 minutes. I'd rather be in dialogue and conversation. That's kind of my jam. And so we'll, we'll keep this short and then open it up for robust questions. But I took Shirley Chisholm's quote, If they don't give you a C at the table, bring a folding chair and took the word chair and developed five strategies that I've used to advance in my public affairs career that I now teach and coach others. Cicely Simpson (10:43): And I'm gonna give you a unique opportunity to help us frame out something at the very end. So keep watching until we're done. But let's go. Number one, strategy number one is the C. Now people see this and they say is the C for confidence? Nope. The C stands for championing yourself. And don't google this cuz the book's online. So please don't google this. Let, let me kinda walk you through the methodologies and then you guys can go back and see it on my website or you can Google it later. But the C is for championing yourself because the one thing I learned that you probably learned is you represent companies every day. You represent members. If you're in a trade association, maybe you represent groups or other companies depending on kind of what organization you're in. You're taught to advocate and represent others. Cicely Simpson (11:32): In our world, one thing I've learned, no one ever taught me how to advocate for myself. So you show up every day if it's on a hill, you're working for constituents. If you're in a trade, if you're in a company, if you're in a think tank, you're, you constantly have all these demands, all these interests you're representing, but no one tells you how to advocate for yourself. So the idea behind the C strategy of championing yourself is self-advocacy. Because if you don't put your best foot forward and champion yourself, no one will do it for you. And I've had so many people on my teams over the years who would say to me, Well I thought you knew I wanted that promotion or I thought you knew I wanted it that job, or I thought you knew I wanted to be on that project. And I would say to them, If you don't tell me, how am I supposed to know? Cicely Simpson (12:23): So this idea of championing yourself, and I chose that word very purposely because it's a very kind of active word, right? Champions are at the top of their game, right? They bring their A game, they advocate for themselves, they've gotten to where they are with hard work and determination, and perseverance. And that is that mental picture I wanna leave with you is the idea of you can be a confident person and never open your mouth to advocate for your own advancement. So that's why I didn't choose confidence cuz it's not enough. Confidence is great, but it's not enough. You actually need to champion yourself. And I tell people all the time, you can be your own best champion or your worst critic, you get to decide that. But so often we're not taught how to advocate for our own advancement in the workplace. And there's something I developed, you'll read it in the book if you buy it, if not, reach out to me, and I'll explain it more to you. Cicely Simpson (13:13): It's called the you list. Four things that you need to, to advance in your career that you need to champion yourself on, your value, your contributions, your accomplishments, and your lessons learned. Every job I've had in DC for the last 20 years, and even in the legal world before that, those four things, because your personal value is what gets you to the table. It's what differentiates you from everybody else. When you're championing yourself, you're championing your own personal worth. And here's the kicker, it has nothing to do with your job title. So many of you, when you reach out to me and you want resume help or you wanna talk about your career advancement, you always say to me, Well, but I, I did this last year and you gimme your sales numbers or you'll give me your, you know, you did this or you did that. Cicely Simpson (14:00): And you always frame your accomplishments in terms of your job. And when I ask people what is the personal value that you have to offer that no one else does dead silence, I get dead silence because we're not conditioned to answer that question of who you are and what you bring to the table that no one else does. We're not conditioned to answer that question about ourselves because we're so busy worried about defining ourselves in terms of our job. So this idea of advancement in your career has to start with you. And those four things you can get any job you want in any industry you want. If you know how to articulate those four things and articulate them well, strategy number two is the H in chair. H is for honesty. So here's the bookend, here's the, here's the not-so-fun moment on a Tuesday afternoon. Cicely Simpson (14:52): H is for honesty because I have been very blessed in my career. Many of you have as well to have some bosses who probably gave you some pretty tough feedback. And you may say, Well how's that a blessing? Because I was in my own way sometimes and I didn't know it. If value, think about it this way. You can champion yourself and your value and what you bring to the table and why you want that next role, that job, that promotion, you can do all those things, right? But if you're standing in your own way, that's a problem. You can actually undermine your own success and credibility and not know it because we all have blind spots. Somebody reached out to me on LinkedIn a couple of months ago and she said, You know, I read your book cuz I spoke to her, I did a book event in DC a couple of months ago. Cicely Simpson (15:37): And she reached out and said, You know, your book got it all wrong, <laugh>. I literally laughed that I saw the message on LinkedIn, I was like, no one's told me yet that the book sucks and I got it all wrong. And she said to me, You got it all wrong. And I said, All right, well let's jump on the phone and you can tell me basically why I got it all wrong. And as we started talking on the phone, the reframe here was she had some blind spots and some weaknesses she needed to work through. She had some preconceived notions of her colleagues and you know how she interacted with them. And the biggest part of your weaknesses and blind spots and why you've gotta get be gut honest with yourself is you've gotta know how you land on people and how you're perceived. Cicely Simpson (16:20): And she wasn't perceived very well. She was harsh, she was, I mean she just, she just did not realize how she came across. So by the end of that phone call, she told me I didn't get it wrong, <laugh> and she apologized, but she said that, you know, that we all have blind spots and we all have some areas we've gotta work on that may be inhibiting our growth, but we don't know it. That's the definition of a blind spot. So Nia, before I go to number three, do you have any questions for me or do you want me to keep going my friend? Kseniya Tarasenko (16:48): I have two questions. So the first question that was asked is, as a manager of public affairs professionals, how would you champion their career development? Cicely Simpson (16:57): Yeah, so how would I champion for their career development? So the first thing I would do is you have to give your team members space and encouragement to let them know they can come have that conversation with you. The last team that I led was a very large team and they had not ever been told or allowed or kind of coached on how to come have a career advancement, how to have a conversation about what their interests were. So you've gotta give them space and encourage them to come have that conversation. That's why I always coach my team. Don't assume, I know if you knock something outta the park and you did a great job or you got compliment from a member of the association, let me know those things. Don't assume that, you know, I know. So my biggest piece would be you've gotta give them permission and coach them and help them understand it's okay. It's okay to advocate for their own personal advancements. As a matter of fact, they should do that. Not only is it okay, they should do that and you should give them the space and help them understand how to do that. And if you wanna reach out to me, I'm happy to go through those four things and explain to you kind of how that may apply to your team. Kseniya Tarasenko (18:06): Great. I have more questions coming in. Okay, so the next question is, as a Latina, we are taught to be humble and avoid being a bother. I used to start all conversations with, I'm sorry to bother you. Now I spend time to educate, educate others on this cultural trap, how to overcome it. Cicely Simpson (18:27): Oh my gosh, Okay, you gotta reach out to, we gotta, we gotta have this conversation. So yes, we are all so guilty of over-apologizing. I literally just did a video the other day about stopping apologizing. There's no, I'm sorry. So let's, let's just say that. But listen, it's something that a lot of us have been taught culturally. Our families are where we're from. It is that humility. And here's the piece that we get wrong about sometimes about the humility piece. Your personal advancement, your personal value, your personal growth has nothing to do with anybody else but you. So it's not a competition, it's not comparing yourself to someone else. Hold your head high, be proud of who you are. If you're a confident person, own and wear that confidence because it has nothing to do with your anybody else. So your humility, your humility is still about how you show up every day. Cicely Simpson (19:21): And you can do that in a very authentic way that absolutely still honors your worth and your value and showing up is your best self. So my point is they're not mutually exclusive. And I get this question all the time. Well, I don't wanna see competitive or you know, so I don't want people to think I'm, you know, don't worry about what people think, worry about you and how that humility translates for you. But how you can also stay true to yourself. Don't hide yourself because you're worried about, you know, that humility coming across to others. It's important that you not see those two things as mutually exclusive. How about one more and then I'll jump back to over to the the third strategy. Kseniya Tarasenko (20:00): Okay. the next one is, which mentors in your career had the most influence on you and why? Cicely Simpson (20:05): Oh, that's a good one. Oh man, that's a good one. So I don't know if you've been around DC for a while, you probably know a guy named Jim Cooper. Jim is retiring this year. He was my second boss in congress. Jim was a great mentor, great friend. He's in the book. Jim shared a quote with me very early on in my career in Congress and he said, Cause I kept calling him congressman and he would say, Call me Jim. And I call him congressman and he was like, Call me Jim. And I was like, Dude, I'm not calling you Jim, you're a congress. We're not calling you about your first name. And he was like, But you've known me for years. I was like, I don't care. And he said to me, he said, this was literally 15, 20 years ago, he said to me, You, when you see yourself as an equal, you will be viewed as an equal. Cicely Simpson (20:46): Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time. So when you walk in rooms around here, view yourself as an equal and you'll be treated as an equal. And that stuck with me, as you can tell. Very formative. So Jim's one, another guy who was very instrumental in my career, his name is Chuck Maren. He was a lot lobbyist in DC for years. And I would literally sit with Chuck and just say, Tell me how to think strategically. I just saw you do X. Tell me how you did that. How did you think about that? How do you think about public policy? Chuck was great at connecting dots and forecasting out 2, 3, 4 years about how policy was gonna manifest itself. And so I would just sit with him and say, Just talk, I just wanna absorb everything that you say. And he literally taught me how to be a better strategic thinker, a better visionary. Cicely Simpson (21:31): But he also was very formative in my time in dc. I still talk to Chuck all the time even though he's retired. But I learned so much from him by simply saying, Will you teach me what you know? And he said, Yes. And that was a very, he's an important friend and mentor to this day. So those are the two I would point out. So I'll come back to the rest of those. Let me finish the last three strategies and then we'll jump back into questions. Okay, so strategy number three is a, the a is for adaptability. You guys ready? Adaptability is the core competency you are judged on every day. But nobody told you if you are on the hill or if you're in a public affairs organization. Look, you know, crap happens in the mornings, right? The news cycle kind of takes over your day sometimes. Cicely Simpson (22:15): And I've seen people who really, you know, they have 10 things on their list that day, and they, they gotta do those 10 things. And if they don't get through those 10 things, like they are not a happy camper at the end of the day. Like, they're not adaptable physically to their surroundings. As events change, things happen, you're not gonna get through your list. The physical adaptability is something that people notice, and perhaps the more important pieces, the mental adaptability. Are you a mentally adaptable person to not only what's happening around you, but are you mentally adaptable in your interactions? Because the adaptability skills are interpersonal skills, They're teamwork, it's communication. So many ways that adaptability manifests itself every single day in your career, in your office, in your workplace, being mentally adaptable is as important as being physically adaptable to actually what's happening around you. Cicely Simpson (23:11): And it's one of those, nobody's ever gonna point it out to you until you get it wrong. If you do well, being mentally and physically adaptable to what's going on. And mentally, there are a lot of language cues I give people about how to be mentally adaptable to different situations. And I actually kind of talk you through those. But the key piece here is that adaptability is so important, but no one ever teaches you how to be an adaptable person and adaptable leader. We hear all those buzzwords, no one ever walks you through it. So as for adaptability and knowing that adaptability mentally and physically is key. The eye, the eye is okay. The eye is one of my favorites. The eye is for impact. People see that and they say, Oh, you mean influence, No, write this down. Influence is temporary. Impact is lasting. Cicely Simpson (23:59): You wanna be a person of impact, not a person of influence. Influence is very episodic to where you are, who you're dealing with in that moment. You can be influential today and you know, tomorrow nobody wants to talk to you. Your influence can weigh over time depending on situations. Your impact is lasting. And there are some great stories in the book about how I realized my impact, my very well in my career when I started at Duncan Brands, Dunking Donuts in Baskin Robbins. And I'll tell a quick story and then we will I'll move on to the last strategy. When I started working for Duncan, it was April of oh eight, right? Pivotal presidential election Obama, McCain and <laugh>. I was literally probably three, four weeks into my job and I got an email and you know, it's one of those where somebody CC'd me. Cicely Simpson (24:48): I probably should have been CC'd on it, but okay, I was, so I read it and there was a new marketing strategy that Duncan wanted to do. I'm sorry, Baskin wanted to do to honor the election. Okay, cool. And so as I'm reading, I was like, Uhoh, this is not, oh my god, this is not good. So they wanted to introduce two new ice cream flavors, one for President Obama, one for John McCain. Now if you know where this story is going, then you will know that the chocolate vanilla swirl is a great ice cream flavor for Baskin. Probably not so great to use when you're talking about President Obama being the first interracial president. Peanut brittle love, peanut, brittle flavored ice cream. Probably not the flavor you wanna use. When you were talking about Mr. Mccain running for president cuz he was 72 at the time. Cicely Simpson (25:40): So I see this email, this great marketing strategy, and I'm like, oh geez. And I'm like, well I'm the new kid. Do I say something? Do I not say something crap? Do I let this go and just know this is gonna be a PR nightmare? Or do I say, Hey guys, let me help you get to yes. So let's celebrate president o Mr. Obama, let's, let's celebrate Mr. McCain, but let's do so in a different way. That's probably not gonna be a backlash. So I literally agonized over this email and I finally responded and said, Hey, I have a great idea that's still gonna accomplish your goals of honoring these two gentlemen, but it's gonna help you get there in a very different way than these two ice cream flavors. And I put it in email and I hit send and I thought, crap, these people are gonna fricking fire me over this cuz I probably wasn't supposed to be Stacy on that email, but I was. Cicely Simpson (26:29): And they, you know, I kind of hit send and I thought, oh this sucks. I'm gonna, I'm gonna get hammered for this. And they all came back to me, Thank you so much. Oh my gosh, never thought about those points. So glad you mentioned something. And I learned this concept of how to get people to, yes, if you're in public affairs, your main driver should be getting people to yes, help people reach their objectives, the same objective but maybe in a very different way than they thought. It's what I did on the hill, it's what I did at Duncan National Restaurant Association that I do for my clients. Now when my clients come to me and they have a bus an objective they wanna accomplish, I can tell you how to accomplish it. But the road to get to, yes, I can get to yes, which is your objective, but I'm probably gonna give you a very different strategy like I just did in that Duncan and basket example to get to yes, in a very different way. Cicely Simpson (27:20): Help people think outside the box. You guys may have heard of the rule of three, The rule of three for creative and problem-solving. One solution is a trap. Two solutions are dilemma. Three or more are actually where you want to be because then you're opening up your mind at different solutions. That's what you're doing when you're a person of impact. You're not going along to get along. You're not the, hey this is the way we've always done it so we've gotta continue to do this way. You're actually challenging status quo thinking and people love to be around people who do that because you're creating impact on your audience for your members, for who you serve. People love to be around people who have impact. So understand that being a person of impact is far beyond influence. And by the way, the eye is not for imposter syndrome. Cicely Simpson (28:08): I teach a whole course on imposter syndrome cuz there are seven root causes of imposter syndrome in five types. And imposter syndrome can seep in at all times. But for people of impact, you're not an imposter because you know you're bringing impact every single day. There's a whole lot more I can go into. But just think about it, champion yourself gets you to the table. Impact ensures you stay there. Last strategy and then we'll go back to questions are this one, this one gets everybody, people say why did you ch r what, what does the R stand for? The R stands for regrets. Now I'm glad we're on camera cuz you can't throw anything at me when I'm getting ready to say what I'm getting ready to say your five-year plan, your 10-year plan, throw it, ditch it, erase it, I don't know, delete it if it's on your computer. Cicely Simpson (28:58): And yes, this is where people get very controversial with me. I posted this on LinkedIn last year and people lost their freaking minds because I said, ditch your five or 10-year plan. Here's why. And here's why I chose regrets because every opportunity I've gotten in DC was not part of my plan, did not come the timeframe I thought it was gonna come in. Heck, most of it was like, hey you should, you should go talk to this person. And I was like, well why? Because it kind of looked like work not as an opportunity. You're not thinking big enough and you're not dreaming big enough and your plan will never be big enough for the opportunities that are gonna come your way. I was a prosecutor in my career, never thought about going to dc but this opportunity came and I thought, eh, I've never been to Washington. Cicely Simpson (29:41): I'm from small rural Tennessee. Why the heck would I go to Washington DC ?But I thought I'll try it for six months and see what happens. Not part of my plan. I had no legislative experience, never worked in a political environment. And I was like the heck am I gonna do in Washington? Going from there to Duncan, I had no restaurant industry experience, but somebody came to me one day and said, Have you ever thought about working in a corporate setting? And I said, No. Why would I do that? Same thing with the restaurant association I was recruited and to be the executive vice president of public affairs this book deal. Somebody reached out on LinkedIn. I thought, this has gotta be a joke. The opportunities that come your way are never where you think they've never packaged the way you think and they, your plan is not big enough because some of the opportunities that are gonna come your way in this world in DC and public affairs around the country, Look, you guys are stationed all around the country. Cicely Simpson (30:30): You're not just in DC I say that from my point of reference cuz that's where I've always been based. But you're based all around the country. You're gonna have opportunities in your companies maybe to get outside of public affairs and do other things. You may have opportunities that come your way you never dreamed of. Don't miss them because sometimes they don't come the way you think. They're not packaged the way you think and they're not part of your plan. You're gonna miss some amazing opportunities and you're gonna have a lot of regrets if you stick to a plan that you can't dream big enough or far enough. Okay? So there's a lot more to the regret side. There are a lot of stories behind that. I'm not gonna go into those for the sake of time. What I will simply say is, you're not dreaming big enough and you're not thinking big enough. Cicely Simpson (31:11): Go bigger, dream bigger, think bigger at the opportunities that are come your way. And if you wanna have a conversation, reach out to me. I'll tell you every single one that's come my way. That was never part, never part of my plan. I was gonna be the first African American Supreme Court justice, but Joe Biden didn't know that. Nobody told he was supposed to pick me, right? So, but that's what I wanted to be when I was eight years old. Literally that I'm that kid. And, and, but I will tell you, the opportunities in DC had been far greater, far bigger, far better than I could ever imagined being in this world that we all live in every day. So be careful that you don't miss opportunities cuz they're just not part of the plan. Cuz your plan may not be big enough and that's an important lesson for you to learn. Cicely Simpson (31:53): Okay, I'm done. I promise actually I'm not done. One more thing let me finish up with this. I've given you five strategies and five career tips, okay? I'm giving them to you pretty quickly. Reach out to me, I'm on all the socials if you wanna talk through it, happy to talk through it. Let me ask for your help though on something and then we're gonna get to questions. I want you guys to help us shape what we're getting ready to launch in 2023. Now this is risky cuz everybody who knows about this is under an NDA. Can't put all of you under NDAs. But what I can say to you is, you know, I'm a big fan of Quorum because when Quorum, I literally found these guys in April, 2015 when they were, you know, first being started. I was like, Quorum is changing the game. Cicely Simpson (32:35): I wanna be part of something that changes the game. And I've been a huge fan. As I said, my LinkedIn post, I've been fangirling over quorum ever since. They, they, their inception and their founding, think of what we're getting ready. We're building the quorum of your career, let's put it that way. We're building something that's gonna be the most comprehensive career resource center ever created that will literally walk with you every step of the way in your career. There will be content tailored toward public affairs professionals. Here's my ask. If you wanna help us shape this, then reach out to me because I, we're literally doing focus groups around the country right now. What do people want? What resources do they want access to? How can we provide it? We're bringing in experts, leaders from all around the country to help do this. So you get to help shape it cuz you guys are my people. Cicely Simpson (33:23): So let me know, reach out to me if you wanna help shape it. I'd love to have a phone call with you if you say, eh, I don't wanna shape it, I just wanna know when, when it's ready. Then text the word careers, c a r e e r s to 6, 6 8, 6 6. That group who's in my community will get exclusive access to this project we're launching before it goes public. So we're gonna give exclusive access to anybody who's on that list. So that's careers text careers to 6 68 66. Okay, I'm done. I promise. I just wanna make sure that I give you guys the opportunity because we have such similar backgrounds that you guys have a chance to shape what we're getting ready to launch and it's gonna be freaking amazing. So if you wanna be part of it, let me know. Okay, I'm done. I promise. What, what, what's next? What other questions do we have? Kseniya Tarasenko (34:11): So the other question is, do you have any suggestions for those of us who are not your typical to understand how others may perceive us if they're not direct or honest? Cicely Simpson (34:23): How do people perceive you if they're not direct or honest? Kseniya Tarasenko (34:27): Yes Cicely Simpson (34:28): Great question. I don't have time to go into all the details here, so feel free to reach out to me. There is, there are, I think I teach five or six strategies on how to do that. The basic premise though about know how you land on people you have been told at some point how you land on people. People have, they may not be honest, let's be honest. They're probably passive-aggressive, but they've said it. So if you do some kind of honest reflection on feedback you've gotten, you probably have gotten feedback about the perception, how you land on people, but there are some different strategies you can use to kind of get that information, reach out to me. I'm happy to give you those strategies and walk you through each one of those and how it may, I'd love to know more about your situation and how I can actually apply those to you. So, and it's basic form, it's been said to you at some point, but if you wanna go deeper than that, let me walk through your situation. I'm happy to do it with you. Just reach out to me on LinkedIn or, or my email address is cicely@cicelysimpson.com. So it's cicely@cicelysimpson.com. So you can also reach out to me there. Kseniya Tarasenko (35:36): Great. Next question is, can you speak to keys to success for folks transitioning into public affairs as a career change? Cicely Simpson (35:45): Where are you transitioning from? So career change, where, where are you coming into public affairs from? I'd love to know that piece of information. You guys are gonna learn from me. Everything matters in context. So a piece of information without context is just an information piece. So the context kind of gives me like, oh, you're coming from here into there. So if you have context around it, right? Everything matters in context. So if you would, if you would chime in and tell me where you're coming from that would be helpful for me to kind of be more direct in my answer. My general answer is, if you're coming into public affairs you have to go through those four steps. You have to go through those four steps of the you list as I called it, knowing your value comp, your contributions, your accomplishments, and your lessons learned. Cicely Simpson (36:30): You need to know what those things are because you're coming into a very different career change. It sounds like a very different world. You need to work through those four pieces and figure out what your personal value statement is. That's what I call it, a personal value statement, not personal branding. This is beyond branding your personal value statement. When you make a career change as I've done, I don't know, four or five, six times, depending on how you key on as other people who reach out to me have done, when you make a career change, it is not about the title of the role you had. Remember it's about you, it's singularly focused on you. And so what do you bring to this new career that's your differentiator that sets you apart from everybody else. That's the question you're gonna wanna go through and analyze and reach out to me. I can help you do it, but that in essence is what you're gonna wanna do to come into this any career change, but especially into a public affairs world. Kseniya Tarasenko (37:25): The next question I have is, do you support the  star approach when it comes to describing work experience or professional skills in an interview cover letter? Cicely Simpson (37:38): I don't use the Stars approach. I <laugh> I don't know you, this may be controversial, but I don't use the Stars approach. I use the four things I just gave you because I've looked at enough resumes. Everybody's looking at enough resumes or even interviews. People wanna know who you are. And I tend to think some of the approaches that are out there fall short of getting to the actual point that an interviewer wants to know in your, in your you know, in your interview, whether that's through your resume or cover letter. So I'm happy to walk through why I don't do the, the stars approach and I actually advocate for these, the four things instead. Cuz this is really the four things that have worked for me. But generally, no, I, I don't use that approach. I'm not saying it's wrong or right, I'm just saying I don't use that approach and I don't coach others to use that approach. Kseniya Tarasenko (38:27): Do you have any advice for having conversation with folks on your team to address their and your own blind spots? Cicely Simpson (38:35): <Laugh>, yes, <laugh>, but be careful. Look, the three, and I only teach this to people who come to me, but I'll I'll say it today. The three most impactful words you can use in any conversation of that nature is helped me understand. So if someone has some anger issues towards you, like for example, let's, let's just walk through this. This is a good, this is a good, a good kind of example to give. Let's say, you know, listen, we've all been in conversations, we've all been in meetings. Somebody tends to, you know, interrupt all the time or maybe you have the colleague who kind of has the condescending tone. I've been known to call people out in public before, but more importantly behind the scenes, you know, hey can we, can we talk for a second and you just pull 'em aside. Cicely Simpson (39:26): So help me understand. We understand, I don't think you realize how you came across, but help me understand why you were kind of come across, you know, very demeaning or why, why I sense some anger from you. The three words have helped me understand can bridge the gap of a very adversarial conversation and now you're seeking to understand someone's mindset and rationale versus being accusatory about how they just showed up in, you know, that moment. Listen, I've had somebody throw something at me before and I went on one meeting, thankfully it wasn't heavy, it was a pin, but I literally had somebody on my team throw something at me and I'm like, did that just happen? And I literally said to her, I said, Help me understand why you thought that was a really good idea just now. Cause pretty sure you don't ever throw something at your boss. So what I would say to you is bridge the gap of how that person may not know how they're showing up. And look, I, I kind of give three examples of this how you can kind of really acknowledge somebody in that moment. But I'll just say use those words to help you bridge that gap of a tough conversation. But you need to have the conversation if somebody's showing up in that way. Absolutely. Kseniya Tarasenko (40:42): Got it. Thank Cicely Simpson (40:44): Someone says, the ice cream story reminds me of an episode of Veep where Julia Louis try is visit an ice cream shop in DC. Well I might get in trouble for telling that story. So, you know Sorry, go ahead. Sing y I just saw that in the corner of my eye and I'm like the ice cream story, it's in the book, so I might get in trouble. But go ahead, I'll answer more questions. I know we've got a few minutes left. Kseniya Tarasenko (41:03): That's okay. Actually, those were all the questions that got asked. Thank you so much for answering all of them. Cicely Simpson (41:10): Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so let me wrap this up. Fabulous moderators. So, you know, thank you so much. Hey listen, quorum team, you guys know I love you. Thanks for the opportunity to come share these strategies. I know it was kind of quick and we're just scratching the surface, but appreciate the opportunity and I invite you guys reach out to me. I'm on LinkedIn, I'm on Instagram, Facebook, I just started take talk. God help me. Reach out to me if you have questions. I'm happy to talk through more questions for you. Also happy to kind of tailor advice to your specific situation. But if you wanna be part of what we're launching next year, I encourage you guys to reach out. You help us shape it, help us be part of it. I'd love to get your thoughts and love to hear from you. So quorum team, thank you so much for the opportunity. I will turn it back over to you. Kseniya Tarasenko (41:57): Thank you. Actually just got a question as you were wrapping it up. Okay. Where can people purchase your book? Cicely Simpson (42:03): It's on Amazon. Cicely Simpson (42:06): It's on, it's in you know, amazon.com. So you can go to Amazon and purchase it. And you know, I think they're running, I think we're getting ready to run another best. It's an Amazon bestseller, but I think we're running another bests seller campaign. So if you get it right now, you'll probably get it to that discount cuz we're running some different campaigns or Wall Street Journal campaigns and some other best-seller campaigns. So you could probably get it right now for a discounted price if you grab it. But thank you for asking. I hope you enjoy it. And of course, if you want an autographed copy, you gotta reach out to me cuz I've gotta send that to you directly, or my team has to send that to you directly. So if you want an autographed copy with, you know, with a personal note, then reach out to me directly and we can facilitate that.   [post_title] => Pull Up Your C.H.A.I.R: Growing Your Career in Public Affairs [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => pull-up-your-chair-growing-your-career-in-public-affairs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-10-11 21:29:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-10-11 21:29:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=7657 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 1 [max_num_pages] => 0 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => 1 [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => 1 [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 858bf14a8cf5137be075029027b893e6 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )
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Pull Up Your C.H.A.I.R: Growing Your Career in Public Affairs

Pull Up Your C.H.A.I.R: Growing Your Career in Public Affairs

Kseniya Tarasenko (00:08):

Hi everyone and welcome to the last session of the day for the first day of one week. As we give folks a few minutes to log onto the session and join us, I would love to start this discussion with an icebreaker. And the icebreaker for today is, what was your f first job ever? Feel free to drop this in a live chat. Happy to read it. What was your first job ever?

Cicely Simpson (00:41):

I was gonna say, can I participate cuz I’m having FOMO right now? Can I jump in <laugh>?

Kseniya Tarasenko (00:46):

Of course.

Cicely Simpson (00:47):

My first job, believe it or not, I talk about it often in my videos, was on an assembly line. I worked putting together in a factory, putting together 18-wheeler trucks. And it was the hardest job I’ve ever had and one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. But that was my father’s way of teaching me the value of an education was go work in a factory for a summer and see how hard it is. And I was like, Ooh. So a great experience, but it’s been very formative for me as well as you can tell.

Kseniya Tarasenko (01:14):

I bet. What do you think made it the best one?

Cicely Simpson (01:18):

You know what listen, I can work an air gun and a truck. Like I got some mad skills on an airgun that summer cuz you had 10 seconds to do the entire cab of a truck. So I got some mad airgun skills, but you know what? It taught me all the fundamentals that I didn’t know. So it was pretty cool in that regard, right? Because I had to drive it, it was an hour and a half from my house, so I had to be up every morning at 4:00 AM to get to work by five 30 for my shift to start at 6:00 AM So talk about discipline <laugh>. It was very formative in that regard.

Kseniya Tarasenko (01:51):

I was gonna say, I imagine that builds character at an early age.

Cicely Simpson (01:55):

It, I cried every day for an entire summer. I was freaking miserable getting up that early with my friends were all out partying and my dad’s like, No, you’re, you’re gonna do this. But it yeah, taught me a lot of lessons and the grit and discipline and kind of resilience out of that was huge. A hundred percent. Yeah.

Kseniya Tarasenko (02:11):

That’s awesome. And look at you now, <laugh>.

Cicely Simpson (02:14):

Yeah. Oh yeah. Lots, lots of good stories to tell.

Kseniya Tarasenko (02:19):

Great. Well now that we’ve got most folks in and we are ready to get started, I’m thrilled to have Cicely here. I think she’s the only speaker who has been to everyone Wonk Week Quorum has had, so this is pretty incredible. I’m happy to be moderating this session with you.

Cicely Simpson (02:36):

Thank you.

Kseniya Tarasenko (02:38):

Just to give a bit of a background on Cicely, she is a seasoned public operative. She has served as a legislative director for two congressmen. She’s a veteran of the C-Suite, as she was formerly a vice president of Government Affairs at Dunkin’ Brands, as well as formerly executive vice president of Public Affairs for the restaurant industry. And now she’s the founder and CEO of Summit Public Affairs. Her experience at all levels of garment and expertise in the boardroom allows her to speak with the authority on the public and private sectors as well as their countless intersections. And as you can tell, Cicely is a very diverse person. She had many job experiences starting from trucks all the way to having her own firm now. So I’m super happy to listen to this chat, and I’m going to hand it over to Cicely now.

Cicely Simpson (03:29):

Awesome. Thank you so much. And yeah, that bio is a very short way of saying I’m old and I’ve been around DC for almost 20 years, 20 years this year. So yeah, thanks for that introduction. I really, really appreciate it. And wonk week is my jam clearly cuz I’ve been to every one of them and I look so forward to Wonk Week. So it’s a pleasure to be here with you guys again. And I am super stoked about talking today about a career in public affairs cuz a lot of you who watch my live videos on LinkedIn, reach out to me and have a lot of questions about navigating the world of public affairs and government relations working on the Hill and you know, just kind of the stuff that we do every day, but how you progress in that career.

Cicely Simpson (04:15):

So when Quorum reached out and said, Hey, you wanna have this conversation, I, you know, said absolutely. And since we started this chat with trivia, I’m gonna keep the trivia going. I told Avery at Quorum, right, I’m gonna fall right in line here with the trivia of Wonk Week. And I have a question for folks now, Kseniya, I can’t see the chat, so I’m gonna, if you can tell me if somebody answers this correctly, but here’s the question for the day guys. To get you started this afternoon, there’s a famous politician who has a quote and the quote says, If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair who said that quote, who’s the author of that quote? And you have your Google machine right in front of you. The interwebs can help you if you want to type this in, but put it in the chat. Who who said that famous quote, If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.

Kseniya Tarasenko (05:13):

I’m anybody

Cicely Simpson (05:14):

In the chat?

Kseniya Tarasenko (05:16):

Someone Googles it right now.

Cicely Simpson (05:19):

Come on Shirley.

Kseniya Tarasenko (05:20):

Shirley Chisholm.

Cicely Simpson (05:22):

I just saw somebody got it right? Yes. So is it Tamara? Tamara Lewis. Okay, Tamara, if you will do me a favor the Innerwebs are working. So yes, you got that right. If you will stick your address in the chat, I will send you a copy of my new bestselling book. Hopefully, you guys can see that. Pull up your chair. Five strategies to change the trajectory of your career. The pull up your chair book is based on that quote from Shirley Chisholm. So Tamara, if you’ll throw your address in the chat, then I am, oh, we got a couple of Shirley Chisholm. Okay, tell you what, you know what man? I can’t choose. I can’t choose. Okay, so tell you what, I’m counting one, I’m counting Onika, I’m counting Shirley. Nope, I got Ariel, Suzanne, Onika, Celeste, Tamara. Okay, if all five of you are six of you, depending on how you count, cuz you know it’s one of those days if you throw all of your addresses in the chat, I will mail each of you a copy of the book because I think you all got it right, Kind of like simultaneous in timing.

Cicely Simpson (06:25):

So everybody sends your physical address, your mailing address and I will, our team will send you a copy of the book. Okay? So let’s use that as a jumping-off point for this conversation because Shirley Chisholm, if you don’t know her, please Google her freaking iconic in DC in terms of she was the first African American congresswoman, but also the first female to run for president back in the seventies, way before it was cool. And anybody knew that she was doing that, she was a trailblazer. She set the stage that if she doesn’t get invited to a conversation, she’s gonna pull up her chair and chart her on course. And what I find the parallels of her story and that quote to be so powerful for those of us in public affairs, it is that we have a very unique opportunity for what we do every day to really chart our own course in DC. Look, you heard Kseniya kind of read through my bio very non-traditional in terms of how I navigated DC but there’s been one common theme that led to the book that led me to use that quote.

Cicely Simpson (07:30):

And that is, if you’re not invited to the table, pull up your chair and make your own way. And today I’m gonna give you five strategies on how to do exactly that. For those of you who want a copy of the book, it’s full, it’s full Stories from the Hill and lobbying and Obamacare and all kinds of fun stuff that I’ve been involved with over the year. So you’ll enjoy all the political stories. But we’re gonna real quick run through the five strategies that make up the chair methodology. I’m gonna give you guys some examples about how to apply those because I learned these lessons doing the same thing you do every day. Lobbying, working on the hill communications, representing members or clients or working, you know, in a company. What you do every day is what I’ve done for the past 20 years, what I continue to do in my firm.

Cicely Simpson (08:18):

So these strategies are gonna apply to you if you in fact choose to apply them. But I wanna make one point before I jump in on the five strategies. People are fascinated by what you do every day. I get the question all the time, How did you get a book deal with Forbes? They looked at my LinkedIn profile, not kidding. And they reached out to me and said, If you have a very unique background, have you ever thought about writing a book? And I said, Well my background’s not unique for DC There are tons of us in this town who do this. And they said we’re not familiar with that. Like they, they were very, very, very interested in learning about how business and politics kind of coexist together. So when I tell you that you have a unique opportunity to leverage your career in public affairs to either stay in public affairs or do other things, then please know I’m kind of living proof of that.

Cicely Simpson (09:15):

The book is kind of living proof of that, is that people see what we do and our skills are so marketable and they wanna know more. And I tell people I stay in DC and still do what I do in DC even though I’m doing career coaching cuz you can’t do it anywhere else. So as you apply these five strategies, you know, one thing I hear from people all the time is, you know, you don’t know what’s next. Not sure what’s the next step to take. Maybe you want to advance in your career, but you’re not sure how, if you’re new to public affairs, meaning your career, I certainly have a lot of you who reach out to me and say, what do I do? I’m in a toxic work environment. I don’t love my coworkers, but I love what I do. There are all kinds of manifestations of the career questions that you guys reach out to me with mostly on LinkedIn but also other social platforma.

Cicely Simpson (10:02):

So today we’re gonna answer some of those questions and I encourage you to put questions in the chat. Sonia’s gonna let me know if we’re gonna do questions as we go along. She’s gonna jump in and stop me or we can take ’em at the end. So you guys hit us with questions. I am not gonna talk for the entire 45 minutes cuz good lord knows y’all don’t wanna hear me for 45 minutes. I’d rather be in dialogue and conversation. That’s kind of my jam. And so we’ll, we’ll keep this short and then open it up for robust questions. But I took Shirley Chisholm’s quote, If they don’t give you a C at the table, bring a folding chair and took the word chair and developed five strategies that I’ve used to advance in my public affairs career that I now teach and coach others.

Cicely Simpson (10:43):

And I’m gonna give you a unique opportunity to help us frame out something at the very end. So keep watching until we’re done. But let’s go. Number one, strategy number one is the C. Now people see this and they say is the C for confidence? Nope. The C stands for championing yourself. And don’t google this cuz the book’s online. So please don’t google this. Let, let me kinda walk you through the methodologies and then you guys can go back and see it on my website or you can Google it later. But the C is for championing yourself because the one thing I learned that you probably learned is you represent companies every day. You represent members. If you’re in a trade association, maybe you represent groups or other companies depending on kind of what organization you’re in. You’re taught to advocate and represent others.

Cicely Simpson (11:32):

In our world, one thing I’ve learned, no one ever taught me how to advocate for myself. So you show up every day if it’s on a hill, you’re working for constituents. If you’re in a trade, if you’re in a company, if you’re in a think tank, you’re, you constantly have all these demands, all these interests you’re representing, but no one tells you how to advocate for yourself. So the idea behind the C strategy of championing yourself is self-advocacy. Because if you don’t put your best foot forward and champion yourself, no one will do it for you. And I’ve had so many people on my teams over the years who would say to me, Well I thought you knew I wanted that promotion or I thought you knew I wanted it that job, or I thought you knew I wanted to be on that project. And I would say to them, If you don’t tell me, how am I supposed to know?

Cicely Simpson (12:23):

So this idea of championing yourself, and I chose that word very purposely because it’s a very kind of active word, right? Champions are at the top of their game, right? They bring their A game, they advocate for themselves, they’ve gotten to where they are with hard work and determination, and perseverance. And that is that mental picture I wanna leave with you is the idea of you can be a confident person and never open your mouth to advocate for your own advancement. So that’s why I didn’t choose confidence cuz it’s not enough. Confidence is great, but it’s not enough. You actually need to champion yourself. And I tell people all the time, you can be your own best champion or your worst critic, you get to decide that. But so often we’re not taught how to advocate for our own advancement in the workplace. And there’s something I developed, you’ll read it in the book if you buy it, if not, reach out to me, and I’ll explain it more to you.

Cicely Simpson (13:13):

It’s called the you list. Four things that you need to, to advance in your career that you need to champion yourself on, your value, your contributions, your accomplishments, and your lessons learned. Every job I’ve had in DC for the last 20 years, and even in the legal world before that, those four things, because your personal value is what gets you to the table. It’s what differentiates you from everybody else. When you’re championing yourself, you’re championing your own personal worth. And here’s the kicker, it has nothing to do with your job title. So many of you, when you reach out to me and you want resume help or you wanna talk about your career advancement, you always say to me, Well, but I, I did this last year and you gimme your sales numbers or you’ll give me your, you know, you did this or you did that.

Cicely Simpson (14:00):

And you always frame your accomplishments in terms of your job. And when I ask people what is the personal value that you have to offer that no one else does dead silence, I get dead silence because we’re not conditioned to answer that question of who you are and what you bring to the table that no one else does. We’re not conditioned to answer that question about ourselves because we’re so busy worried about defining ourselves in terms of our job. So this idea of advancement in your career has to start with you. And those four things you can get any job you want in any industry you want. If you know how to articulate those four things and articulate them well, strategy number two is the H in chair. H is for honesty. So here’s the bookend, here’s the, here’s the not-so-fun moment on a Tuesday afternoon.

Cicely Simpson (14:52):

H is for honesty because I have been very blessed in my career. Many of you have as well to have some bosses who probably gave you some pretty tough feedback. And you may say, Well how’s that a blessing? Because I was in my own way sometimes and I didn’t know it. If value, think about it this way. You can champion yourself and your value and what you bring to the table and why you want that next role, that job, that promotion, you can do all those things, right? But if you’re standing in your own way, that’s a problem. You can actually undermine your own success and credibility and not know it because we all have blind spots. Somebody reached out to me on LinkedIn a couple of months ago and she said, You know, I read your book cuz I spoke to her, I did a book event in DC a couple of months ago.

Cicely Simpson (15:37):

And she reached out and said, You know, your book got it all wrong, <laugh>. I literally laughed that I saw the message on LinkedIn, I was like, no one’s told me yet that the book sucks and I got it all wrong. And she said to me, You got it all wrong. And I said, All right, well let’s jump on the phone and you can tell me basically why I got it all wrong. And as we started talking on the phone, the reframe here was she had some blind spots and some weaknesses she needed to work through. She had some preconceived notions of her colleagues and you know how she interacted with them. And the biggest part of your weaknesses and blind spots and why you’ve gotta get be gut honest with yourself is you’ve gotta know how you land on people and how you’re perceived.

Cicely Simpson (16:20):

And she wasn’t perceived very well. She was harsh, she was, I mean she just, she just did not realize how she came across. So by the end of that phone call, she told me I didn’t get it wrong, <laugh> and she apologized, but she said that, you know, that we all have blind spots and we all have some areas we’ve gotta work on that may be inhibiting our growth, but we don’t know it. That’s the definition of a blind spot. So Nia, before I go to number three, do you have any questions for me or do you want me to keep going my friend?

Kseniya Tarasenko (16:48):

I have two questions. So the first question that was asked is, as a manager of public affairs professionals, how would you champion their career development?

Cicely Simpson (16:57):

Yeah, so how would I champion for their career development? So the first thing I would do is you have to give your team members space and encouragement to let them know they can come have that conversation with you. The last team that I led was a very large team and they had not ever been told or allowed or kind of coached on how to come have a career advancement, how to have a conversation about what their interests were. So you’ve gotta give them space and encourage them to come have that conversation. That’s why I always coach my team. Don’t assume, I know if you knock something outta the park and you did a great job or you got compliment from a member of the association, let me know those things. Don’t assume that, you know, I know. So my biggest piece would be you’ve gotta give them permission and coach them and help them understand it’s okay. It’s okay to advocate for their own personal advancements. As a matter of fact, they should do that. Not only is it okay, they should do that and you should give them the space and help them understand how to do that. And if you wanna reach out to me, I’m happy to go through those four things and explain to you kind of how that may apply to your team.

Kseniya Tarasenko (18:06):

Great. I have more questions coming in. Okay, so the next question is, as a Latina, we are taught to be humble and avoid being a bother. I used to start all conversations with, I’m sorry to bother you. Now I spend time to educate, educate others on this cultural trap, how to overcome it.

Cicely Simpson (18:27):

Oh my gosh, Okay, you gotta reach out to, we gotta, we gotta have this conversation. So yes, we are all so guilty of over-apologizing. I literally just did a video the other day about stopping apologizing. There’s no, I’m sorry. So let’s, let’s just say that. But listen, it’s something that a lot of us have been taught culturally. Our families are where we’re from. It is that humility. And here’s the piece that we get wrong about sometimes about the humility piece. Your personal advancement, your personal value, your personal growth has nothing to do with anybody else but you. So it’s not a competition, it’s not comparing yourself to someone else. Hold your head high, be proud of who you are. If you’re a confident person, own and wear that confidence because it has nothing to do with your anybody else. So your humility, your humility is still about how you show up every day.

Cicely Simpson (19:21):

And you can do that in a very authentic way that absolutely still honors your worth and your value and showing up is your best self. So my point is they’re not mutually exclusive. And I get this question all the time. Well, I don’t wanna see competitive or you know, so I don’t want people to think I’m, you know, don’t worry about what people think, worry about you and how that humility translates for you. But how you can also stay true to yourself. Don’t hide yourself because you’re worried about, you know, that humility coming across to others. It’s important that you not see those two things as mutually exclusive. How about one more and then I’ll jump back to over to the the third strategy.

Kseniya Tarasenko (20:00):

Okay. the next one is, which mentors in your career had the most influence on you and why?

Cicely Simpson (20:05):

Oh, that’s a good one. Oh man, that’s a good one. So I don’t know if you’ve been around DC for a while, you probably know a guy named Jim Cooper. Jim is retiring this year. He was my second boss in congress. Jim was a great mentor, great friend. He’s in the book. Jim shared a quote with me very early on in my career in Congress and he said, Cause I kept calling him congressman and he would say, Call me Jim. And I call him congressman and he was like, Call me Jim. And I was like, Dude, I’m not calling you Jim, you’re a congress. We’re not calling you about your first name. And he was like, But you’ve known me for years. I was like, I don’t care. And he said to me, he said, this was literally 15, 20 years ago, he said to me, You, when you see yourself as an equal, you will be viewed as an equal.

Cicely Simpson (20:46):

Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time. So when you walk in rooms around here, view yourself as an equal and you’ll be treated as an equal. And that stuck with me, as you can tell. Very formative. So Jim’s one, another guy who was very instrumental in my career, his name is Chuck Maren. He was a lot lobbyist in DC for years. And I would literally sit with Chuck and just say, Tell me how to think strategically. I just saw you do X. Tell me how you did that. How did you think about that? How do you think about public policy? Chuck was great at connecting dots and forecasting out 2, 3, 4 years about how policy was gonna manifest itself. And so I would just sit with him and say, Just talk, I just wanna absorb everything that you say. And he literally taught me how to be a better strategic thinker, a better visionary.

Cicely Simpson (21:31):

But he also was very formative in my time in dc. I still talk to Chuck all the time even though he’s retired. But I learned so much from him by simply saying, Will you teach me what you know? And he said, Yes. And that was a very, he’s an important friend and mentor to this day. So those are the two I would point out. So I’ll come back to the rest of those. Let me finish the last three strategies and then we’ll jump back into questions. Okay, so strategy number three is a, the a is for adaptability. You guys ready? Adaptability is the core competency you are judged on every day. But nobody told you if you are on the hill or if you’re in a public affairs organization. Look, you know, crap happens in the mornings, right? The news cycle kind of takes over your day sometimes.

Cicely Simpson (22:15):

And I’ve seen people who really, you know, they have 10 things on their list that day, and they, they gotta do those 10 things. And if they don’t get through those 10 things, like they are not a happy camper at the end of the day. Like, they’re not adaptable physically to their surroundings. As events change, things happen, you’re not gonna get through your list. The physical adaptability is something that people notice, and perhaps the more important pieces, the mental adaptability. Are you a mentally adaptable person to not only what’s happening around you, but are you mentally adaptable in your interactions? Because the adaptability skills are interpersonal skills, They’re teamwork, it’s communication. So many ways that adaptability manifests itself every single day in your career, in your office, in your workplace, being mentally adaptable is as important as being physically adaptable to actually what’s happening around you.

Cicely Simpson (23:11):

And it’s one of those, nobody’s ever gonna point it out to you until you get it wrong. If you do well, being mentally and physically adaptable to what’s going on. And mentally, there are a lot of language cues I give people about how to be mentally adaptable to different situations. And I actually kind of talk you through those. But the key piece here is that adaptability is so important, but no one ever teaches you how to be an adaptable person and adaptable leader. We hear all those buzzwords, no one ever walks you through it. So as for adaptability and knowing that adaptability mentally and physically is key. The eye, the eye is okay. The eye is one of my favorites. The eye is for impact. People see that and they say, Oh, you mean influence, No, write this down. Influence is temporary. Impact is lasting.

Cicely Simpson (23:59):

You wanna be a person of impact, not a person of influence. Influence is very episodic to where you are, who you’re dealing with in that moment. You can be influential today and you know, tomorrow nobody wants to talk to you. Your influence can weigh over time depending on situations. Your impact is lasting. And there are some great stories in the book about how I realized my impact, my very well in my career when I started at Duncan Brands, Dunking Donuts in Baskin Robbins. And I’ll tell a quick story and then we will I’ll move on to the last strategy. When I started working for Duncan, it was April of oh eight, right? Pivotal presidential election Obama, McCain and <laugh>. I was literally probably three, four weeks into my job and I got an email and you know, it’s one of those where somebody CC’d me.

Cicely Simpson (24:48):

I probably should have been CC’d on it, but okay, I was, so I read it and there was a new marketing strategy that Duncan wanted to do. I’m sorry, Baskin wanted to do to honor the election. Okay, cool. And so as I’m reading, I was like, Uhoh, this is not, oh my god, this is not good. So they wanted to introduce two new ice cream flavors, one for President Obama, one for John McCain. Now if you know where this story is going, then you will know that the chocolate vanilla swirl is a great ice cream flavor for Baskin. Probably not so great to use when you’re talking about President Obama being the first interracial president. Peanut brittle love, peanut, brittle flavored ice cream. Probably not the flavor you wanna use. When you were talking about Mr. Mccain running for president cuz he was 72 at the time.

Cicely Simpson (25:40):

So I see this email, this great marketing strategy, and I’m like, oh geez. And I’m like, well I’m the new kid. Do I say something? Do I not say something crap? Do I let this go and just know this is gonna be a PR nightmare? Or do I say, Hey guys, let me help you get to yes. So let’s celebrate president o Mr. Obama, let’s, let’s celebrate Mr. McCain, but let’s do so in a different way. That’s probably not gonna be a backlash. So I literally agonized over this email and I finally responded and said, Hey, I have a great idea that’s still gonna accomplish your goals of honoring these two gentlemen, but it’s gonna help you get there in a very different way than these two ice cream flavors. And I put it in email and I hit send and I thought, crap, these people are gonna fricking fire me over this cuz I probably wasn’t supposed to be Stacy on that email, but I was.

Cicely Simpson (26:29):

And they, you know, I kind of hit send and I thought, oh this sucks. I’m gonna, I’m gonna get hammered for this. And they all came back to me, Thank you so much. Oh my gosh, never thought about those points. So glad you mentioned something. And I learned this concept of how to get people to, yes, if you’re in public affairs, your main driver should be getting people to yes, help people reach their objectives, the same objective but maybe in a very different way than they thought. It’s what I did on the hill, it’s what I did at Duncan National Restaurant Association that I do for my clients. Now when my clients come to me and they have a bus an objective they wanna accomplish, I can tell you how to accomplish it. But the road to get to, yes, I can get to yes, which is your objective, but I’m probably gonna give you a very different strategy like I just did in that Duncan and basket example to get to yes, in a very different way.

Cicely Simpson (27:20):

Help people think outside the box. You guys may have heard of the rule of three, The rule of three for creative and problem-solving. One solution is a trap. Two solutions are dilemma. Three or more are actually where you want to be because then you’re opening up your mind at different solutions. That’s what you’re doing when you’re a person of impact. You’re not going along to get along. You’re not the, hey this is the way we’ve always done it so we’ve gotta continue to do this way. You’re actually challenging status quo thinking and people love to be around people who do that because you’re creating impact on your audience for your members, for who you serve. People love to be around people who have impact. So understand that being a person of impact is far beyond influence. And by the way, the eye is not for imposter syndrome.

Cicely Simpson (28:08):

I teach a whole course on imposter syndrome cuz there are seven root causes of imposter syndrome in five types. And imposter syndrome can seep in at all times. But for people of impact, you’re not an imposter because you know you’re bringing impact every single day. There’s a whole lot more I can go into. But just think about it, champion yourself gets you to the table. Impact ensures you stay there. Last strategy and then we’ll go back to questions are this one, this one gets everybody, people say why did you ch r what, what does the R stand for? The R stands for regrets. Now I’m glad we’re on camera cuz you can’t throw anything at me when I’m getting ready to say what I’m getting ready to say your five-year plan, your 10-year plan, throw it, ditch it, erase it, I don’t know, delete it if it’s on your computer.

Cicely Simpson (28:58):

And yes, this is where people get very controversial with me. I posted this on LinkedIn last year and people lost their freaking minds because I said, ditch your five or 10-year plan. Here’s why. And here’s why I chose regrets because every opportunity I’ve gotten in DC was not part of my plan, did not come the timeframe I thought it was gonna come in. Heck, most of it was like, hey you should, you should go talk to this person. And I was like, well why? Because it kind of looked like work not as an opportunity. You’re not thinking big enough and you’re not dreaming big enough and your plan will never be big enough for the opportunities that are gonna come your way. I was a prosecutor in my career, never thought about going to dc but this opportunity came and I thought, eh, I’ve never been to Washington.

Cicely Simpson (29:41):

I’m from small rural Tennessee. Why the heck would I go to Washington DC ?But I thought I’ll try it for six months and see what happens. Not part of my plan. I had no legislative experience, never worked in a political environment. And I was like the heck am I gonna do in Washington? Going from there to Duncan, I had no restaurant industry experience, but somebody came to me one day and said, Have you ever thought about working in a corporate setting? And I said, No. Why would I do that? Same thing with the restaurant association I was recruited and to be the executive vice president of public affairs this book deal. Somebody reached out on LinkedIn. I thought, this has gotta be a joke. The opportunities that come your way are never where you think they’ve never packaged the way you think and they, your plan is not big enough because some of the opportunities that are gonna come your way in this world in DC and public affairs around the country, Look, you guys are stationed all around the country.

Cicely Simpson (30:30):

You’re not just in DC I say that from my point of reference cuz that’s where I’ve always been based. But you’re based all around the country. You’re gonna have opportunities in your companies maybe to get outside of public affairs and do other things. You may have opportunities that come your way you never dreamed of. Don’t miss them because sometimes they don’t come the way you think. They’re not packaged the way you think and they’re not part of your plan. You’re gonna miss some amazing opportunities and you’re gonna have a lot of regrets if you stick to a plan that you can’t dream big enough or far enough. Okay? So there’s a lot more to the regret side. There are a lot of stories behind that. I’m not gonna go into those for the sake of time. What I will simply say is, you’re not dreaming big enough and you’re not thinking big enough.

Cicely Simpson (31:11):

Go bigger, dream bigger, think bigger at the opportunities that are come your way. And if you wanna have a conversation, reach out to me. I’ll tell you every single one that’s come my way. That was never part, never part of my plan. I was gonna be the first African American Supreme Court justice, but Joe Biden didn’t know that. Nobody told he was supposed to pick me, right? So, but that’s what I wanted to be when I was eight years old. Literally that I’m that kid. And, and, but I will tell you, the opportunities in DC had been far greater, far bigger, far better than I could ever imagined being in this world that we all live in every day. So be careful that you don’t miss opportunities cuz they’re just not part of the plan. Cuz your plan may not be big enough and that’s an important lesson for you to learn.

Cicely Simpson (31:53):

Okay, I’m done. I promise actually I’m not done. One more thing let me finish up with this. I’ve given you five strategies and five career tips, okay? I’m giving them to you pretty quickly. Reach out to me, I’m on all the socials if you wanna talk through it, happy to talk through it. Let me ask for your help though on something and then we’re gonna get to questions. I want you guys to help us shape what we’re getting ready to launch in 2023. Now this is risky cuz everybody who knows about this is under an NDA. Can’t put all of you under NDAs. But what I can say to you is, you know, I’m a big fan of Quorum because when Quorum, I literally found these guys in April, 2015 when they were, you know, first being started. I was like, Quorum is changing the game.

Cicely Simpson (32:35):

I wanna be part of something that changes the game. And I’ve been a huge fan. As I said, my LinkedIn post, I’ve been fangirling over quorum ever since. They, they, their inception and their founding, think of what we’re getting ready. We’re building the quorum of your career, let’s put it that way. We’re building something that’s gonna be the most comprehensive career resource center ever created that will literally walk with you every step of the way in your career. There will be content tailored toward public affairs professionals. Here’s my ask. If you wanna help us shape this, then reach out to me because I, we’re literally doing focus groups around the country right now. What do people want? What resources do they want access to? How can we provide it? We’re bringing in experts, leaders from all around the country to help do this. So you get to help shape it cuz you guys are my people.

Cicely Simpson (33:23):

So let me know, reach out to me if you wanna help shape it. I’d love to have a phone call with you if you say, eh, I don’t wanna shape it, I just wanna know when, when it’s ready. Then text the word careers, c a r e e r s to 6, 6 8, 6 6. That group who’s in my community will get exclusive access to this project we’re launching before it goes public. So we’re gonna give exclusive access to anybody who’s on that list. So that’s careers text careers to 6 68 66. Okay, I’m done. I promise. I just wanna make sure that I give you guys the opportunity because we have such similar backgrounds that you guys have a chance to shape what we’re getting ready to launch and it’s gonna be freaking amazing. So if you wanna be part of it, let me know. Okay, I’m done. I promise. What, what, what’s next? What other questions do we have?

Kseniya Tarasenko (34:11):

So the other question is, do you have any suggestions for those of us who are not your typical to understand how others may perceive us if they’re not direct or honest?

Cicely Simpson (34:23):

How do people perceive you if they’re not direct or honest?

Kseniya Tarasenko (34:27):

Yes

Cicely Simpson (34:28):

Great question. I don’t have time to go into all the details here, so feel free to reach out to me. There is, there are, I think I teach five or six strategies on how to do that. The basic premise though about know how you land on people you have been told at some point how you land on people. People have, they may not be honest, let’s be honest. They’re probably passive-aggressive, but they’ve said it. So if you do some kind of honest reflection on feedback you’ve gotten, you probably have gotten feedback about the perception, how you land on people, but there are some different strategies you can use to kind of get that information, reach out to me. I’m happy to give you those strategies and walk you through each one of those and how it may, I’d love to know more about your situation and how I can actually apply those to you. So, and it’s basic form, it’s been said to you at some point, but if you wanna go deeper than that, let me walk through your situation. I’m happy to do it with you. Just reach out to me on LinkedIn or, or my email address is cicely@cicelysimpson.com. So it’s cicely@cicelysimpson.com. So you can also reach out to me there.

Kseniya Tarasenko (35:36):

Great. Next question is, can you speak to keys to success for folks transitioning into public affairs as a career change?

Cicely Simpson (35:45):

Where are you transitioning from? So career change, where, where are you coming into public affairs from? I’d love to know that piece of information. You guys are gonna learn from me. Everything matters in context. So a piece of information without context is just an information piece. So the context kind of gives me like, oh, you’re coming from here into there. So if you have context around it, right? Everything matters in context. So if you would, if you would chime in and tell me where you’re coming from that would be helpful for me to kind of be more direct in my answer. My general answer is, if you’re coming into public affairs you have to go through those four steps. You have to go through those four steps of the you list as I called it, knowing your value comp, your contributions, your accomplishments, and your lessons learned.

Cicely Simpson (36:30):

You need to know what those things are because you’re coming into a very different career change. It sounds like a very different world. You need to work through those four pieces and figure out what your personal value statement is. That’s what I call it, a personal value statement, not personal branding. This is beyond branding your personal value statement. When you make a career change as I’ve done, I don’t know, four or five, six times, depending on how you key on as other people who reach out to me have done, when you make a career change, it is not about the title of the role you had. Remember it’s about you, it’s singularly focused on you. And so what do you bring to this new career that’s your differentiator that sets you apart from everybody else. That’s the question you’re gonna wanna go through and analyze and reach out to me. I can help you do it, but that in essence is what you’re gonna wanna do to come into this any career change, but especially into a public affairs world.

Kseniya Tarasenko (37:25):

The next question I have is, do you support the  star approach when it comes to describing work experience or professional skills in an interview cover letter?

Cicely Simpson (37:38):

I don’t use the Stars approach. I <laugh> I don’t know you, this may be controversial, but I don’t use the Stars approach. I use the four things I just gave you because I’ve looked at enough resumes. Everybody’s looking at enough resumes or even interviews. People wanna know who you are. And I tend to think some of the approaches that are out there fall short of getting to the actual point that an interviewer wants to know in your, in your you know, in your interview, whether that’s through your resume or cover letter. So I’m happy to walk through why I don’t do the, the stars approach and I actually advocate for these, the four things instead. Cuz this is really the four things that have worked for me. But generally, no, I, I don’t use that approach. I’m not saying it’s wrong or right, I’m just saying I don’t use that approach and I don’t coach others to use that approach.

Kseniya Tarasenko (38:27):

Do you have any advice for having conversation with folks on your team to address their and your own blind spots?

Cicely Simpson (38:35):

<Laugh>, yes, <laugh>, but be careful. Look, the three, and I only teach this to people who come to me, but I’ll I’ll say it today. The three most impactful words you can use in any conversation of that nature is helped me understand. So if someone has some anger issues towards you, like for example, let’s, let’s just walk through this. This is a good, this is a good, a good kind of example to give. Let’s say, you know, listen, we’ve all been in conversations, we’ve all been in meetings. Somebody tends to, you know, interrupt all the time or maybe you have the colleague who kind of has the condescending tone. I’ve been known to call people out in public before, but more importantly behind the scenes, you know, hey can we, can we talk for a second and you just pull ’em aside.

Cicely Simpson (39:26):

So help me understand. We understand, I don’t think you realize how you came across, but help me understand why you were kind of come across, you know, very demeaning or why, why I sense some anger from you. The three words have helped me understand can bridge the gap of a very adversarial conversation and now you’re seeking to understand someone’s mindset and rationale versus being accusatory about how they just showed up in, you know, that moment. Listen, I’ve had somebody throw something at me before and I went on one meeting, thankfully it wasn’t heavy, it was a pin, but I literally had somebody on my team throw something at me and I’m like, did that just happen? And I literally said to her, I said, Help me understand why you thought that was a really good idea just now. Cause pretty sure you don’t ever throw something at your boss. So what I would say to you is bridge the gap of how that person may not know how they’re showing up. And look, I, I kind of give three examples of this how you can kind of really acknowledge somebody in that moment. But I’ll just say use those words to help you bridge that gap of a tough conversation. But you need to have the conversation if somebody’s showing up in that way. Absolutely.

Kseniya Tarasenko (40:42):

Got it. Thank

Cicely Simpson (40:44):

Someone says, the ice cream story reminds me of an episode of Veep where Julia Louis try is visit an ice cream shop in DC. Well I might get in trouble for telling that story. So, you know Sorry, go ahead. Sing y I just saw that in the corner of my eye and I’m like the ice cream story, it’s in the book, so I might get in trouble. But go ahead, I’ll answer more questions. I know we’ve got a few minutes left.

Kseniya Tarasenko (41:03):

That’s okay. Actually, those were all the questions that got asked. Thank you so much for answering all of them.

Cicely Simpson (41:10):

Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so let me wrap this up. Fabulous moderators. So, you know, thank you so much. Hey listen, quorum team, you guys know I love you. Thanks for the opportunity to come share these strategies. I know it was kind of quick and we’re just scratching the surface, but appreciate the opportunity and I invite you guys reach out to me. I’m on LinkedIn, I’m on Instagram, Facebook, I just started take talk. God help me. Reach out to me if you have questions. I’m happy to talk through more questions for you. Also happy to kind of tailor advice to your specific situation. But if you wanna be part of what we’re launching next year, I encourage you guys to reach out. You help us shape it, help us be part of it. I’d love to get your thoughts and love to hear from you. So quorum team, thank you so much for the opportunity. I will turn it back over to you.

Kseniya Tarasenko (41:57):

Thank you. Actually just got a question as you were wrapping it up. Okay. Where can people purchase your book?

Cicely Simpson (42:03):

It’s on Amazon.

Cicely Simpson (42:06):

It’s on, it’s in you know, amazon.com. So you can go to Amazon and purchase it. And you know, I think they’re running, I think we’re getting ready to run another best. It’s an Amazon bestseller, but I think we’re running another bests seller campaign. So if you get it right now, you’ll probably get it to that discount cuz we’re running some different campaigns or Wall Street Journal campaigns and some other best-seller campaigns. So you could probably get it right now for a discounted price if you grab it. But thank you for asking. I hope you enjoy it. And of course, if you want an autographed copy, you gotta reach out to me cuz I’ve gotta send that to you directly, or my team has to send that to you directly. So if you want an autographed copy with, you know, with a personal note, then reach out to me directly and we can facilitate that.