Welcome to our series “How I Became a …,” where we’re digging into the stories of accomplished and influential people and finding out how they got to where they are in their careers. We’re finding out what their biggest challenges, their biggest passions and their biggest pieces of wisdom are — for you.
Note: This interview has been lightly edited.
With a passion for politics and public policy, Jessica Tarlov has risen through the ranks of political strategy and commentating.
The political commentator, regular Fox News contributor and senior director of research at Bustle has done everything from analyzing data to working on Boris Johnson’s re-election campaign in 2012. USA TODAY College caught up with Tarlov to discuss all things #RelationshipGoals, Ph.D.’s, and political scandal.
What’s your coffee order?
No coffee — always thought it’d stunt my growth. Ended up 5’11 with no caffeine addiction.
Who’s your biggest mentor?
I’d say my parents. They’re brilliant, bold thinkers that always pushed me to experiment academically and professionally. Having support to take a zigzag path to get where you’re going — and to be cool with not knowing where you’re going at all — has made each phase of my career that much better. Plus their marriage is total #RelationshipGoals.
Also, my former boss Doug Schoen. He shared his political world with me, always backed me up and taught me so much about valuing myself personally and professionally. “If you don’t ask for anything, you’ll never get anything,” he told me — words all women need to take to heart.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
Hands down, organizing panels and speeches at the Yalta European Strategy conference for Bill and Hillary Clinton. I got to work with their teams, organize their visit and host them. Plus, I was in Yalta just before Putin illegally annexed Crimea.
What’s a typical day look…