Even the First Lady's Chief of Staff Gets Nervous

Her advice: Get over it. 

Tina Tchen, the Obama insider who serves as a senior White House policy adviser and chief of staff to the first lady, has joined the chorus of powerful women who want their younger counterparts to quit being professionally timid. In an interview with Linda Douglass at The Atlantic's Women of Washington event on Wednesday, she advised women to get over worries about being rebuked for offering their opinions in meetings. "I probably sound like Sheryl Sandberg," she chuckled. Even if Lean In isn't your thing, the clip is worth watching to master her charming, head-thrown-back way of laughing.

Tchen's other advice? "It is hard to self-promote. It is hard to learn that sometimes within your own office, you've got to throw some sharp elbows. It's hard for young people to learn, of both genders, how to take care of your own career, and believe in yourself, and promote yourself."

Unfortunately, she wasn't able to offer a road map for making it to the White House. "I can't really tell you how to meet some guy with big ears and a funny name when nobody knows who is, and then he turns out to be president of the United States," she said.  

Emma Green is the assistant managing editor of TheAtlantic.com, where she also writes about religion and culture.

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