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From Bartender to Congresswoman

April 09, 2020


There are times when life throws you a curveball that’s so unbelievable you can barely believe it. This is what happened to a career politician by the name of Joseph Crowley in November 2018 when he was voted out of office. A 28-year-old female bartender named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – who received 57% of the vote – suddenly became the youngest woman to serve in the United States Congress.

Photo by lucia on Unsplash

The media quickly dubbed her “the second-most talked about politician in America” and in April 1, 2019 she appeared on the cover of Time magazine with a report about her meteoric rise. What happened? This was the question everyone was asking because three weeks before Primary Day the polls had shown Crowley leading by 36 percentage points.

It takes a perfect storm to dislodge a congressional leader and the conclusion was this: (a) it was a demographic and generational change, (b) an insider vs. an outsider, plus (c) the traditional tactics vs. modern-age digital organizing. That’s it – but not quite – there was one more factor.


I read this eye-opening piece by Bridget Read that appeared in the November 2019 issue of New York magazine and it was a revelation. Hellerer, 35, calls herself the Conscious Career Coach. She works only with women – more specifically “underfulfilled overachievers,” meaning: high-performing teacher’s-pet types who have followed every mandate for success and remain desperately unhappy. Hellerer has a stellar background: Chapin, Stanford and employment as a Strategic-Partnerships Executive for eight years at Google before she left in 2014.


This is when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (we’ll cut that down to AOC), a Boston University grad, took one of Hellerer’s workshops that Hellerer explains through acronyms: (1) MMB for Mind Mood Body, (2) FOBM for Fear of Being Mean, and (3) LMGTFY for Let Me Google That For You. She is all about dismissing outside voices and listening to yourself or your inner GPS. For women, the fear of self manifests itself as: (A) I’m TOO old, (B) I’m TOO young – followed by (C) I won’t make ENOUGH money – followed by (D) No one SHOULD go to Stanford to become a career coach.

Megan Hellerer taking a coffee break – Photo: Courtesy of New York magazine, 11/19


But Hellerer did mention that after her workshop she worked one-on-one with AOC and they worked out an approach of “instead of hitting goals, think of warmer or colder steps.” For example: AOC went to community-board meetings, volunteered for the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign and took time off from work to go to Flint, Michigan and then Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Lastly, she received a call asking her to run for Congress.


Hellerer asked AOC if she would write a positive comment and, of course she complied. “Your guidance, help and support were pivotal, at a time when I felt very lost. You helped me reframe a lot of my thinking and were part of a series of events that culminated in the big advantage of a Congressional run – and win!” Overall I think this is a great story!


Remember Awkwafina aka Sandra Oh? We’ve written about her a lot but if you need to refresh your memory please CLICK HERE.

She had a banner year in 2019 – at the Golden Globes she made history not once but three times according to Marie Claire magazine, Holiday 2019. Here’s the list: (I) The first actress of Asian descent to win multiple globes, (II) The first woman of Asian descent to win Best Actress in a TV Drama in 39 years, and (III) The first Asian person to host the Golden Globes ceremony. You go girl!!

Awkwafina accepts her Golden Globe in 2020 for The Farewell

AND THEN SHE DID IT AGAIN on January 5, 2020 the actress won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy – she’s on a rocket!!

Shaun Nelson-Henrick

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