Melody Barnes Reminisces About Her Time in the White House

[ 0 ] July 1, 2014 |

Melody Barnes served as assistant to the president and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council from 2009 to January 2012 after working on the Obama campaign. Now, during her post-public sector life, she serves as CEO of Melody Barnes Solutions, LLC and Chair of the Forum for Community Solutions at the Aspen Institute.

So what’s it like going from having a job steps from the Oval Office and advising the leader of the free world, to the private sector?

WATCH as Melody Barnes talks with genConnect at the Aspen Ideas Festival and shares some memories from her White House career, and the reality check she often had to give herself while in the Oval Office:


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Melody Barnes in the Oval Office

“It was such an honor, such a privilege to serve, and I loved it, I learned a lot,” says Barnes about her time in the White House. Barnes wants to take everything she has learned about, and from, government and see how she can help companies in the private sector and non-profit organizations.

It’s hard for Barnes to highlight specific special moments from her public-sector life, she says, because there were so many during her time with President Obama. “Just sitting there in the Oval Office,” she says, “the president is looking at you and you’re providing advice and then all of a sudden you have this out-of-body experience and you think, ‘I’m sitting here in the Oval Office advising the president of the United States!'”

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Barnes also recalls even before Obama was elected president, what a learning experience it was just being able to work on the campaign with him, particularly when it came to hearing about the most pressing issues on voters’ minds – such as health care.

“I met so many wonderful people … all over the country,” she says. “I can tell you almost verbatim some of the things those people said to me… and I took those stories with me.”

Follow all of the wisdom from the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival on Twitter @AspenIdeas #AspenIdeas, and genConnect on Facebook and Twitter 

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Category: Aspen Ideas Festival 2014

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About Melody Barnes: Melody Barnes served as assistant to the president and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council from 2009 to January 2012. Prior to her work in the White House, Barnes served as senior domestic [...]
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