Dana Perino: Advice for Sarah Huckabee Sanders from one female press secretary to another

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the third woman to be named White House press secretary.  I loved that job when I worked for President George W. Bush. I learned so much about my profession, my country and myself during those years. Sarah is a talented and grounded person who doesn’t need my help, but here’s my advice to her and any woman who is shooting for the moon on her chosen career path.

1. Trust your instincts. You’ve heard of a woman’s intuition – we know it exists. It isn’t something easily explained. We just know we have it. Those instincts will serve you well when you listen to them. If something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t. Stop and ask more questions, find the inconsistencies, and then put those all on the table for your colleagues and your boss. More facts and more context will help you prevent bad outcomes.  At the same time, if something feels good, like a great opportunity that comes with some risk, go for it. You’ll almost always be rewarded –and even if it doesn’t work, taking risks is part of the job and of life (and women are traditionally more risk averse than men, so reverse the tide!). 

2. Protect yourself. The office of the press secretary doesn’t come with a big budget and a lot of assets. All you have is your integrity and your skills, and only you can control those things. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t say it. As the saying goes, “You never get in trouble for something you didn’t say.” Protecting yourself means never being contradicted by facts. It also means utilizing your power wisely and swallowing that awesome one-liner that would destroy a reporter in the briefing room. The one time I let it rip made me feel…

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