A bright, attractive young woman with Midwestern roots finds her way from the University of Michigan to high-profile broadcasting positions in both California and Washington, D.C., before becoming the highest-ranking female staff member in the White House.
This has all the classic background attributes of a potentially gripping tale of suspense and international intrigue.
But this isn’t fiction. Our real-life heroine is journalist, political insider and novelist Karna Small Bodman.
Despite her very diverse career path, Bodman has always understood the importance of maximizing her best assets.
“Every job I had involved a tremendous amount of speaking and writing,” she says.
Essentially, Bodman is, and has always been, a professional communicator.
When one sits down to chat with Bodman, her naturally inquisitive instincts take over and the interviewer can quickly find himself in the position of interviewee.
Says Bodman, “As a reporter, I learned the importance of being prepared. It’s essential to show respect for the people I speak to and take the time to understand more about them.”
Though few Americans will ever meet a president, as deputy press secretary to Jim Brady and (later) as Senior Director and Spokesman for the National Security Council, Bodman was an active participant in the political process including almost daily meetings with President Reagan from 1980-1986.
Politics aside, the impact of professional mentors can never be denied.
In Bodman’s case, the nation’s Commander-in-Chief once served as an extraordinary professional guide: “President Reagan was so cordial, warm and welcoming. Studying his positions and beliefs cemented my political views.”
Though many have made the jump from politics to broadcast media, few have conquered the reverse scenario.
“When I left the White House — in the days before Fox News — it was challenging for me, as a Republican, to go back on the air,” she said.
After a select few private-sector and consulting positions, Bodman embraced a new path, one that celebrated her love of facts, politics, public awareness and the written word.
She has now published four novels: “Checkmate,” “Gambit, “Final Finesse” and “Castle Bravo.”
“Each story focuses on a different threat to our national security, at least the way I see them,” she said.
“I’m trying to call attention to these subjects, not in a ‘textbook’ sort of style, but by writing a thriller that I hope readers will enjoy while also learning about these issues.”
Due to a focus on current events and national security, her work was once discussed on the “Today” show as more representative of “faction” than fiction.
To explain the connection between her interpretation of fiction and reality, Bodman quotes George Bernard Shaw: “The best way to get your point across is to entertain.”
However, when you’re blessed with the exemplary knowledge-base, experience and communication skills of Karna Small Bodman, you don’t need anyone else’s words — your own words speak volumes.
In brief, listen to others, understand your strengths, get the facts and communicate clearly — a truly “novel” approach.
Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of RediscoverCourtesy.org and the President of MindZoo, a marketing communications, PR and content development firm in Naples. He can be reached at Randy@mindzoo.com or 239-304-9611