Leadership

Kellyanne Conway on the secret to her success: 'I think like a man and behave like a lady'

Kellyanne Conway
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Kellyanne Conway

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway believes the secret to her success is simple: She learned how to "think like a man and behave like a lady," Time magazine reports.

She doesn't explain what she believes it means to think like a man, and her comment calls to mind Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was similarly oblique when he told filmmaker Oliver Stone, "I'm not a woman, so I don't have bad days." Conway does more explicitly discuss some of the difficulties she has faced over the course of her career as a woman in GOP politics.

20 years ago, the RNC, she says, was like "walking into the men's locker room at the Elk's Club, holding a bachelor party."

For its issue featuring various "firsts," Time magazine salutes Conway, a conservative attorney, pollster and CEO who became the "first woman to run a winning presidential campaign." Originally senior adviser to then-candidate Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort, Conway took over for Manafort in July 2016 and led the Republican to a surprise victory.

From the time that she was an only child in southern New Jersey, living with her mother, grandmother and two unmarried aunts, Conway tells Time, she was "precocious," good with numbers, facts and figures. "I was taught to be a very strong, independent and free-thinking woman," she says.

Senior advisor Kellyanne Conway (L) sits on a couch as U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes the leaders of dozens of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 27, 2017.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Senior advisor Kellyanne Conway (L) sits on a couch as U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes the leaders of dozens of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 27, 2017.

Her television appearances have occasionally drawn criticism, such as when she said, in defense of the Republican plan to replace and replace the Affordable Care Act, that those on Medicaid who would lose health insurance could always just get jobs. Her willingness to speak out in defense of the Trump administration's "alternative facts" has inspired sharp satire on NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

Still, Conway stands out as one of Trump's most trusted and valued staffers: Of the highest-paid White House employees, only Conway and a few others are female. She has also largely managed to stay above the fray and not get drawn into the bickering and drama that has often plagued, and sometimes even cost the jobs of, her peers.

She's known for her dry sense of humor. When asked in last fall how she would balance a West Wing job with her four children, she replied, "I don't play golf, and I don't have a mistress, so I have a lot of time that a lot of these other men don't."

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