Pence’s personal decision to not dine alone with female staffers was never a hindrance to my ability to do my job well, and never kept me from reaping the rewards of my work. In fact, I excelled at my job because of the work environment created from the top down, and my personal determination to succeed. I engaged in senior staff meetings and strategy sessions side-by-side with the Congressman and my colleagues, and I never felt sidelined because of my gender. My proposals and suggestions were always valued as equal with those of my male counterparts.
As time went on, I was able to prove that I could handle increased responsibilities, and so more responsibilities were provided to me. My gender never factored into how my work was evaluated, or whether my responsibilities were expanded. In fact, the Congressman would sometimes send me to GOP leadership communication meetings to represent his voice — and more often than not, I was the only woman in the room. My work product determined my success — not private dinners with the Congressman. When looking back on my time in the office of the man who is now Vice President, I don’t consider it to be a period of missed opportunities.
The fact of the matter is, it’s not as though then-Congressman Pence was out having private dinners with male staffers and I was excluded. He wasn’t having private dinners much at all. He had children at home, so as often as possible, after voting and his daily duties, he’d race home to share a meal with the people that mattered most to him most: his family. Frankly, he modeled for male and female staffers alike that it was possible to serve in a public role with excellence while being wholly dedicated to his family.