BABE #7: SADIE MONTANUS,
High School Teacher & Politician
Sadie is the kind of Babe I wake up aspiring to be every morning, but it's more like Expectations: Sadie. Reality: Olive. Sadie and I share the same hometown and several mutual friends, but we haven't spent much time together, so I was super excited for this opportunity to (selfishly) get to know her. In addition to her serious community and political involvement, competing in the Miss Florida pageant, and graduating cum laude from college a year early (go Noles,) Sadie is currently killing it as a full time high school teacher while seeking her Masters degree from Harvard. #Casual. I decided to add a few more hard-hitting questions here than usual, because again, I'm being selfish. I hope that's okay with you all. If it isn't, I'm not actually sorry. Moving on.
Hometown and current city: Bradenton, Florida
Alma mater: Florida State University, 2014, Harvard University, 2018
Degree: B.S. Economics & currently seeking Masters in International Relations
Job: High School Teacher
Babe you admire and why?
Serious girl crush on Ivanka Trump. Not only is she a brilliant, well-articulated, and polished businesswoman, she is also super wife and classroom mom. I love that.
Must-have item in your purse?
Sometimes, red lipstick. Sometimes, a gun (accompanied by a concealed carry permit, of course.) Just depends on the day.
Favorite TV character?
Ainsley Hayes from The West Wing. A Harvard educated Republican from the South who loves Gilbert and Sullivan operettas working in a Democrat administration. She is my spirit animal.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Margaret Thatcher. Started her career in a family grocery store, retired after being the first female Prime Minister of England and negotiated the terms with the USSR effectively ending the Cold War. Persistence and passion are animals that if found, can bring you anywhere.
Tell us about your hustle:
I teach. I came to teaching after working as a policy analyst on the state level and seeing the need for improvement. Longevity in the field was never the goal, but rather to carry this real world experience with the constituency back to the state or federal government. Politicians are not all bad, but they certainly legislate on many issues without knowing a single fact about the field. I’m a kinesthetic learner by every definition of the word – even in my career. I’m also a grad school student, so maintaining (attempting) a 4.0 is pretty consuming.
What does your typical workday look like?
I wake up at 4AM every day. It’s a disciplined effort, but my most productive hours are from 4-6. By the time the world wakes up and gets to work, they are playing catch-up. I drop knowledge on kids until 2, and then I go into civic activism mode. (#Damn.)
Favorite part and hardest part of teaching?
Favorite: No day is the same. The kids also are unintentionally hilarious. I love to love them… most of the time.
Hardest: Having to flip my "on" switch for 7 straight hours. There is no room to slip when working with high schoolers. If you need to wallow, you have to pretend like nothing happened and wait until you get home to let your emotions consume you. The same goes in politics.
What's the most important lesson your job has taught you so far?
It pretty simple, but so necessary. People (my bosses as well as my students) need to be told how appreciated they are. I grew up in a comfortable and supportive household. Working in a high-poverty school is emotionally difficult on staff, but it’s even harder on the kids who live it. Love and show genuine appreciation and you will foster an engaging environment in which you and your cohorts can thrive together.
The Other Hustle:
When did you first become passionate about politics?
October 26, 2008. There were fascinating people stepping out in the political scene – particularly Sarah Palin. I don’t necessarily agree with her politics, but I saw a lot of myself in her. On that day, I met her, saw the monstrous shakeup she was creating in the bureaucracy, and realized that I would rather be around people making their lives better than fill prescriptions behind a counter for a career.
Previously held jobs and internships?
I was a policy analyst for a gubernatorial candidate where I drafted and made recommendations to the governor on issues in law enforcement, women, and jobs for the next generation. Before that, I was a correspondent in his executive office. In college, I was a Congressional Hilltern in DC, but the coolest internship by far that I had was at the NRA, which was exactly what you’d expect. We legislated, and shot guns on lunch breaks.
Funny/embarrassing work moments?
I once sent an email to the governor with the subject line “Incesting in the Next Generation.” ALWAYS SPELL CHECK. “Investing” would have been what I was going for. #Lol
Additional community involvement?
As a titleholder in the Miss America Organization, I’ve been able to use the visibility of my crown to combine my work experience as a policy analyst and teacher with an issue I’m passionate about – reducing juvenile delinquency and recidivism rates. This involves mentoring in detention centers and collaborative efforts with local officials and law enforcement. I’m also involved with Junior League, a fantastic national organization promoting civic and professional growth for young women. Networking within this organization was huge for me when I moved back to town.
What is it like being a woman in your industry?
In teaching, it’s easy. We dominate the field. Politically speaking, we are still shattering some glass ceilings. I certainly don’t believe that men think we aren’t capable, but it’s important to remember that the working boss-woman of today is still a relatively new concept in American culture, given our history since the first colony of Jamestown in 1608. People are still warming up to the idea. Rather than cry feminism, I prove I’m capable through my actions and speech.
Did the Miss Florida pageant teach you anything new about womanhood?
It takes more discipline to compete in the Miss America system than anything I’ve experienced; whether its losing a few (or 20) pounds to look and feel my best on stage, or taking up piano lessons again to play a piece I would have never thought previously possible. That type of discipline translates so well into the professional world, and giving up in the process becomes less and less of an option.
What motivates you every day?
At the end of the day, my greatest desire is to be a mother. Millennials are the first generation expected to have a lower quality of life than the generation before us. If I’m to bring children into this world, we’ve gotta turn that statistic around for them. My kids’ lives are at stake.
What would you say is your greatest achievement?
I would say being accepted into an ivy league for graduate school. I failed twice before I was finally accepted, so the sense of accomplishment was even greater.
Career advice for other women?
Set goals so that you know when you have attained success. For me, it’s a physical list I carry everywhere with me in my planner – even goals I won’t conquer for years. Be vehement and intentional in your career, and it will be hard to fail.
On that list of goals. which is the biggest?
Certainly the most outlandish and seemingly impossible goal is to go to space. But the commercial aerospace industry is growing, so it’s possible enough to make it to my goal list.