What it’s like working with Hillary

Joe Polastre
2 min readJul 27, 2016


I joined the State Department as a Presidential Innovation Fellow just after Hillary Clinton left as Secretary of State. John Kerry was now in the saddle, but my colleagues wanted to tell me stories about Clinton.

Hillary came into the State Department and told her staff that she has her own agenda. Most Secretaries of State are there to take on the President’s agenda, but Hillary had her own.

She told her staff: “We are here to carry out the President’s agenda. And we’ll do more than that agenda for the State Department. We’re going to fulfill President Obama’s objectives while also making the world a better place for women and children.”

Hillary Clinton came into the State Department with her own additional objectives, which included:

  1. Stop child trafficking. (You have no idea how much of a problem this is)
  2. Train more women in STEM. (That’s Science Technology Engineering and Math for those that don’t know)
  3. Ensure women have the same opportunities as men around the world.

I looked at Wikipedia. You won’t find these in the article on Hillary Clinton, or her time at the State Department.

What impressed me the most was the stories that people at State would tell about her. Not only were they With Her on these important issues, they saw a genuine leader in her.

Hillary once hosted a forum of high school girls that excelled in STEM. There was a prepared statement that was approved by The White House. Hillary walked into the room with the statement, continued to the front, and took the podium.

Not really liking prepared statement — especially those controlled by The White House — she threw the statement underneath the podium. She spoke to those high school women about what STEM meant to her, and why it was so important that women and minorities become STEM leaders. She didn’t speak off prepared remarks. She spoke from the heart. It immediately endeared everyone that worked for her.

I’ve heard lots of stories like this about Hillary at State. She wasn’t yet running for President. I didn’t have conviction for Hillary, but once I saw the respect and affection that people had for her at the State Department, I have come around to her. These are leadership qualities, and these are the qualities I’d want in my future President.



Joe Polastre

Pilot 🧑‍✈️, sailor ⛵️, product leader 👨‍💻