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Leadership, Learning, and Legislative Success on Capitol Hill

This week, we spoke to Ike Marchie, Scheduler and Operations Assistant for the Office of Representative Glenn F. Ivey.

Can you tell me about your career path that you’ve taken that’s led you to where you are now?

I didn’t originally think about going into Public Policy and Government affairs. I’m a huge sports fan and my undergraduate degree from Brown is in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations. My initial plan was to go into sports broadcasting and broadcast journalism, however, like many people, when the pandemic hit, I was forced to shift. As a Class of 2020 graduate, prospects for positions were minimal and I felt the need to get more meaningful experience before entering the workforce.

After taking classes in policy implementation and nonprofit organizations, I realized and understood that the same skills I had regarding my love for sports translated to understanding policy, interacting with people, and creating meaningful and impactful change. After choosing to study Public Policy at the graduate level at Brown, I turned my eyes to the hill for internship experience at the beginning of 2022 and was privileged to intern for Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York’s 5th district. Like many of those who are on the hill now, in that experience I found value and purpose in having the work of my hands translate into meaningful change.

Fast forward to now and after having been in a Staff Assistant position for Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman for the start of the 118th Congress, I’m now currently scheduling for Congressman Glenn Ivey of Maryland’s 4th district, which is also where I live. It’s incredibly rewarding and humbling to serve the communities that represent you. I’m of the mindset (Congresswoman Watson Coleman has been quoted saying this often) to whom much is given, much is required. So, transitioning into public service in such a way, where I can use my skills, access, and resources to make meaningful change is a privilege to say the least.

Which specific policy areas or legislative issues are you most passionate about, and how do you stay informed and engaged in those areas?

My primary interests lie in international affairs, education policy, civil rights, and the environment. I’m of the belief that a lot of the issues and problems that the world faces as a whole stem from similar roots. Change comes from holistic and collective willingness for the betterment of those who society and government have chosen to cast aside. I firmly believe that with the proper influence that our world’s problems can gradually improve as empathy is what we all lead with.

I stay informed in the way that we all do, which is through news. There is a way in which it is almost impossible to “unplug” in this line of work which is both good and bad. Through reading, podcasts, media, and being open and willing to hear and learn from other individuals I’m able to stay abreast and attune to what is going on in our world daily.

Describe a challenging or rewarding project that significantly influenced your growth as a professional. How did you handle the challenge, and what did you learn from the experience?

As anyone on the hill will tell you, work can be very fast paced and ever changing. In my Staff Assistant position for Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, I was also tasked with driving the member to her responsibilities. Working directly with leadership and our scheduling team was what gave me the experience to take on the role I have currently with Congressman Ivey.

The moment that was the most eye opening, however, was staffing the Congresswoman for the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference. In a way I believe that ALC week encapsulates the peak of what Capitol Hill business truly looks like. Thousands of people coming in from out of town, advocacy groups, receptions, and legislative business all happening at the same time. That was arguably the most difficult and most fun time I’ve had as a staffer, but in these spheres, you find a way to make it work. Which is exactly what I did.

What advice can you give to individuals aspiring to work on Capitol Hill stand out?

I don’t believe that any two people’s paths are the same. I’m of the mindset that you are where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. In these spheres, I think confidence and one’s work ethic are paramount. The best members of Congress are the ones who both do the work and are charismatic in making you believe what they’re saying while having proof that they are who they say they are. While it isn’t exactly necessary to be an extrovert, being a good communicator goes a long way here.

And for those who are trying to “break in” or “stand out” the most direct path isn’t always the right one. Often being hill adjacent is what will bring you into contact with people, and organizations that will lead someone to being on the hill.

People don’t always remember what you say to them, but they will remember how you make them feel, so I firmly believe there’s power in leading with kindness and authenticity.

What do you believe sets Capitol Hill apart as a unique work environment, and how do you navigate its challenges in your everyday work?

Washington, D.C. and even furthermore Capitol Hill I believe is the embodiment of the United States in that it’s truly a melting pot. Representatives and people from across the nation come to work here to advocate for the people from their districts. As someone who describes themselves as being “from everywhere” (ethnically Nigerian, born in Texas, raised in Michigan, undergrad in Rhode Island, lives in Maryland), it’s amazing to be able to connect with people from all over the United States. I don’t believe there is another work environment like this anywhere else in the U.S.

I navigate work challenges by finding balance where it can be found. We’re constantly being pulled in multiple directions based on our responsibilities and to do my best I put the intention and priority into taking care of myself. Furthermore, I look at my responsibilities one task at a time. It can be very easy to become overwhelmed by looking at the big picture. But when we do things in increments, we can accomplish more than we think.

Word association, what is the first word that comes to mind for each of these?

Policy – Duality

Networking – Expansion

Writing Skills – Communication

Working on the Hill – Transcendent

Leadership Connect – Impactful

To be featured or learn more, reach out to Gabi Thomas, and spread the word to any colleagues who would be interested.

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Gabrielle Thomas

Gabi joined Leadership Connect as a Research Analyst and is now the Legislature Outreach Liaison.