From his experiences as President Barack Obama’s former personal aide, Reggie Love said in an on-campus lecture Monday that, when dealing with crisis, people must be empathetic, understand their opponents’ points of view and allow them to express their feelings.
Known as President Obama’s “body man,” Love spoke to about 50 people at the Student Activity Center auditorium as he shared his experiences and life lessons as a personal aide.
Love worked in that position alongside the president from the 2008 campaign until 2011, when he left his position to complete his MBA at the University of Pennsylvania. Love said it is important for people to focus on how they can negotiate with each other.
“It may not be an equivalent one-to-one swap, but the gesture is typically appreciated,” Love said. “I think solutions are important, but, in some cases, there’s not an actual solution out there that is going to be 100-percent [admissible] to all parties within the ecosystem.”
Love said he began his work in politics after becoming a staff assistant in then-U.S. Sen. Obama’s office. He worked in the mail room, where he received what he called his “big break” by digitizing the mailing process for every letter received and sent back to constituents. People working on Obama’s campaign then promoted Love to work as Obama’s personal aide during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Love said, in Washington, D.C., everyone is constantly keeping score against another, and people hold grudges over legislation or projects not passed.
“Ultimately, it doesn’t allow you to move forward when that thing happened a long time ago,” Love said. “A lot of people aren’t able to move on to the next play because they are so focused on that last thing that happened adversely to them.”
Maria Nunez, journalism sophomore and publicity officer for Campus Event and Entertainment, said she appreciated Love’s focus on having a passion in life with future jobs and opportunities.
“He didn’t just focus on the politics but just life in general, like how you should love what you do,” Nunez said.
Biology junior Barron Preston said Love provided the perfect insight into working in the political world.
“This just inspires me more to do something in politics,” Preston said. “The experiences Love expressed and the lessons he learned from being in politics just makes me even more passionate about wanting to use that experience to create change.”