Project Wonderful

Monday, July 14, 2014

What I Wish I Had Known At 30 With Mark Henson

Mark Henson, 31, Congressional Chief of Staff

Mark was my Regional Field Director and first boss on the 2006 Minnesota Democratic Coordinated Campaign. He is also one of my favorite people. Above is a picture of us getting our swank on at the British Ambassador's house.

1) Tell us a little about your career path.
Wandering campaign vagabond for 7 years, interspersed with short term policy/odd jobs, who hit the campaigner's magic trifecta in 2010: liking the candidate, winning, there being a good job afterward. Rarely happens, glad it did!

2) What are you most proud of?
CampaignSick may get RealSick hearing me say this, but proudest moment on the campaign trail was working closely with an awesome team to help Tim Walz go from long-shot congressional contender in 2006 to strong incumbent today. CD1 DFL Coordinated was a small but crucial part of that, and leading such a great team as a first-time supervisor still brings tears to my eyes.

3) What is the best advice you've received?
Listen, learn, understand, THEN respond. Too many people skip one if not all of the actions before responding.

4) What is the worst advice you've received?
I think I gave myself the worst advice ever when I took a job without thinking it through because I was unemployed. Short to medium stretches of unemployment in Campaignland are better than taking a miserable position.

And I don't want to hear your answer to this question, Nancy.

5) What lesson are you still trying to learn?
Appropriate work-life balance.

6) What was the best thing about being in your 20's?
Having the energy, spontaneity, and lack of responsibilities to travel all across the country, work like hell, and meet amazing people who are some of my best friends today. My Big Fat White Cat demands a more grounded lifestyle now.

7) What one thing should I absolutely do before I turn 30?
Have a close friend plan a blow-out themed 30th Birthday Party. My Big Gay Funeral went from a lark to one of the most memorable and endearing things a group of friends has ever done for me.
Or go campaign in Alaska for a Democrat. Similarly memorable, somewhat less endearing.

8) What's the best thing about being 31?

9) What are you looking forward to?
My next international vacation. I'm sure you're looking for something deeper, but I'm pretty sure I'm always going to be looking forward to my next international vacation.

10) What else?

Thank you Mark for sharing your wisdom with me on and off the blog!

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