On Thursday, July 12th, 2018, the United States Capitol Historical Society hosted a panel discussion featuring four female chiefs of staff and moderated by journalist and USCHS Trustee Cokie Roberts. The bipartisan, bicameral group was comprised of: Muffy Day, Chief of Staff for Representative Karen Handel (R-GA); Rhonda Foxx, Chief of Staff for Representative Alma Adams (D-NC); Kristen Gentile, Chief of Staff for Senator Bob Casey (D-PA); and Stacy McBride, Chief of Staff for Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO).
To a room of USCHS Leadership Council and Constitution Signers members, Cokie Roberts began her lively moderation by noting both how far women have come as Congressional employees and the progress yet to be made. After introducing themselves, the panelists gave thoughtful and candid answers to the questions Ms. Roberts presented. A recurring theme of the afternoon was the strength of the sisterhood of female chiefs of staff; frequently their best source of advice and guidance.
Rhonda Foxx shared the story of how through confident perseverance she got her first job on the Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign, and how her professional experiences inspired her to found the Congressional Black Alliance.
Bipartisanship among both chiefs of staff and their bosses was another common theme throughout the discussion, but Stacy McBride noted that much of the cooperation and friendship is not seen or reported by the media.
In response to an audience question, Muffy Day spoke about how she tries to help younger staffers in her office grow professionally by giving them the mentorship and advice she wished she had had access to when she first began her career on the Hill.
Another audience question about the demanding schedules of being a working mother and a Chief of Staff was fielded by Kristen Gentile. Kristen, a mother of three, discussed the importance of keeping lines of communication open, knowing the needs of her employees, and fostering a family friendly office culture.
Upon the conclusion of the panel, USCHS Chairman Donald G. Carlson thanked the panelists for their time, insights, and service to the Congress before guests took the opportunity to take photos with them and Ms. Roberts.
USCHS wishes to thank Altria for generously hosting and Bank of America for exclusively supporting this event.
The U.S. Capitol Historical Society (USCHS) is a Congressionally chartered, non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3), educational organization founded in 1962 to inform the public about the rich heritage of the Capitol building and the United States Congress. We receive no government funding.