Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff Speaks on Surviving at the Top as a Woman

At only 34-years-old, Alyssa Mastromonaco was the youngest woman to hold the coveted White House position, and has shared some home truths in her new memoir about surviving at the top in a male dominated profession according to ELLE UK

For nine years, Mastromonaco worked on-call for the President 24/7 and was responsible for pretty much everything that Obama did, from overseeing the confirmation process for Cabinet secretaries, through to managing the president’s daily schedule and travel commitments.

In an interview with Stylist, the writer of Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? encouraged women not to be afraid of asking for the obvious.

‘I’m proud that people think I am a feminist icon for getting a tampon machine installed in the West Wing, but that story is all about asking questions. It’s not that anybody thought there shouldn’t be a tampon dispenser in the White House, it was just that nobody had ever asked for one,’ she revealed to the publication.

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The writer, who first started working for the former president in early 2005 when he was a senator for Illinois, also recalled the importance of doing your homework.


‘Public service is not just for people that went to Harvard, [or] Yale’.

Having first served as White House director of scheduling before taking up the role of deputy chief of staff for operations, Mastromonaco revealed she soon learned the importance of airing your emotions at work, without using them to manipulate colleagues.

‘Life is going to happen between the hours of 8am and 6pm. If you are feel sad, let it out – just don’t do it in the middle of the Oval Office. And don’t ask for a raise while crying : that’s bullsh*t,’ she added.

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While she once admitted Barack tried to set her up on a date with a guy he thought was attracted to her in Iowa (‘Obama kept turning around like,

“Email him. Email him right now.”

Mastromonaco admitted she never felt like she had to act like one of the boys to be part of Obama’s inner circle.


‘Obama played golf with the same four guys from the office all the time, so reporters would often ask if I wanted to play too. I would respond that I no more wanted to play golf than I wanted the President to come get a mani-pedi with me,’ she joked.

Her advice summed up is: “Work hard. Be organised. Be nice.”

I would definitely love to read her book!


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