Name: Lise Clavel
Title: Virginia State Director
Based in: Richmond, Virginia
Hometown: New York, New York
Q1. What does a day at work look like to you?
My typical Tuesday starts with my team at headquarters. The brave ones will meet up at 7:15 a.m. and run the stairs at Chimborazo Park in downtown Richmond. It has 139 steps, and we’ll do anything from five to eight reps, and that kind of kills everyone—so that’s a fun way to start the day. I read through the clips and news before I go into work around 9 a.m. When I arrive, everything sort of goes crazy. At 9:45 a.m. we have our daily senior staff meeting, where everybody checks in with what’s going on that day and makes sure that everyone’s on board with what’s coming up, like office openings and any big events coming up. Then usually my day devolves into one meeting after another with various members of my team. By 7:00 p.m. the day winds down, and then I do all the actual work I haven’t been able to do all day.
Q2. How did you first come to the campaign?
I was lucky to work for Tom Perriello in 2008, who ran for Congress against a 12-year super-conservative incumbent in central and southwest Virginia. We had a really tight race, but we ended up winning after a recount, by 727 votes. I went to Congress with him and was his chief of staff up in D.C., until I took a leave of absence in 2010 to run his re-election campaign. We ran a kick-ass field operation that I'm really proud of and, though we lost, it was by four points, which was a closer margin than a lot of what happened in 2010 congressional races.
Throughout all that work I met a lot of Obama folks, so early in 2011 when I was trying to figure out what I was going to do next I called Mitch Stewart, who was the Virginia state director for the 2008 Obama campaign, and I said I was interested in getting involved. He brought up the possibility of coming on as Virginia state director, and after a long process of interviews, I started on the team in October 2011.
Q3. What's your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is working with our awesome and committed team. We’ve got a really enthusiastic group of people who work well together and who are really focused on expanding the electorate in Virginia and engaging as many volunteers as we can early on. Working with those guys and helping set the right direction for our team is my favorite part of the job.
Q4. What’s the most unexpected part of your job?
I guess I was really surprised when we had the office opening of our Richmond headquarters about a month ago; we had over 500 people there and everybody was very excited. I would have expected that sort of crowd and energy if we'd had the President coming ... but we didn’t. That’s how excited people were to come and get involved and start working to re-elect President Obama, even this far out. Our “why I’m in” wall got filled up in a matter of minutes, people stayed around for hours, and I saw tons of conversations between folks who’d never met—talking about how they were going to organize and get their teams together for the election this November.
Q5. Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the show “24”—and a lot of people say that pegs me as a conservative, which obviously I am not. I’m finishing up the end of the season, and I’m on pins and needles right now.