Bernard and Berman each got their start in politics in an unexpected way. They agree that it was their willingness to try new things that led to their success.
"I think it is good to be open to the kind of opportunities you may not be looking at, says Berman, "because wherever you go you will learn something that will be useful down the road."
After graduating from Miami University, Berman worked as a research assistant at Georgetown University. During this time, she was enrolled in graduate school at the university and planning to pursue a career in the Foreign Service. But after falling in love with the event planning and fundraising aspect of her job, she changed course and opened her own event planning business in Washington, D.C.
Over time, she made connections with many political figures, and in 2001 she was recommended to serve as the social secretary and house manager to Vice President Richard Cheney. After this role, she served as Lynne Cheney's chief of staff, and in 2004 became social secretary to George W. Bush.
Bernard, similarly, had not planned on a career in politics. After graduating from Hunter College in New York, he moved to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming an actor. While working at an upscale restaurant in the 1990s, he met David Mixner, a friend of Bill Clinton and a member of Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. The connection eventually led him to working with Clinton and later with Obama as a White House social secretary from 2011 - 2015.
"I didn't even know the position of social secretary existed before I came to the Obama administration," says Bernard. "But I kept open to different opportunities as they came along."