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Sharon native learned much working for Obama

President Barack Obama has departure photos taken with Dominique Mann and family in the Oval Office on Nov. 10, 2016.
President Barack Obama has departure photos taken with Dominique Mann and family in the Oval Office on Nov. 10, 2016.Lawrence Jackson/The White House

If nothing else, Dominique Mann learned diplomacy working for the last two years of Barack Obama’s administration as a media affairs manager. Asked for her take on the current president’s approach to governing, the 26-year-old Sharon native gave it a tactful spin.

“I’m still processing it,” she said. “But a lot of us are still committed to the cause and what President Obama was about, which was not himself; he knew the context of his job was bigger than him. He inspired people, particularly young people.”

Her younger brother, for one. Derrick Mann, 23, never thought much about politics until the 2016 presidential election, his sister said.

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“He reached out to me -- he wants to be more involved in politics now,” she said. “That gives me hope.”

She’d met Obama a number of times and even traveled with him on a trip to Africa, which she counts as one of many highlights of her time at the White House. Mann is also a writer and says Obama’s book, “Dreams From My Father,” inspired her to not only pursue writing but also work on his campaign. Obama is the son of biracial parents, which resonated with her.

“That was meaningful to me,” said Mann, who now works in the communications department at General Electric. “My mother is Irish-Italian and my dad is African-American.”

Mann said the calm, composed, and polite Obama seen on TV is the same off camera.

“He’s just incredibly nice, very in tune with the people in the room,” she said. “What you see on TV is what he is -- he’s consistent. He and the First Lady are just so down to earth.”

Mann said the two-term president’s impact on her is profound and lasting.

“I encourage young people to think outside themselves,” she said. “Their own destiny can shape others’ destinies. In these times, many are very focused on self. But the more you tie into the larger picture, that’s something that can create a ripple effect toward change.”

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Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at pkandarian@aol.com.