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Time out from the White House
Marlborough Midweek, Blenheim, NZ  by Jennifer Eder
24 Aug 2017
General News - page 4 - 403 words - ID 832629770 - Photo: Yes - Type: News Item - Size: 252.00cm2

After six years being a fly on Barack Obama's wall, Hope Hall has learnt a thing or two about stressful situations.

As presidential videographer for the former United States president, she has documented his moments beyond press conferences and official visits, from the casual to the deeply personal.

But when Donald Trump became president, he decided he did not want a videographer.

So as Hope takes some time to see the world "outside the presidential bubble", she is sharing her experiences with the people she meets along the way - including teachers at a primary school in Marlborough.

Graeme Dingle Foundation Marlborough regional manager Kelvin Watt learnt she was in the country for the Emergency Media and Public Affairs conference in Wellington, and managed to book her in to speak to teachers and Kiwi Can staff at Renwick School on Friday.

The Kiwi Can team works alongside teachers at several schools across the region, delivering a life skills programme that teaches respect, integrity, positive relationships and resilience.

"We thought it would be interesting for them to hear her observations of one of the world's greatest role models," Kelvin says.

Hope says working for the leader of the free world requires many of the same skills as working with children.

"The responsibility of teaching is one of the great pillars of our society. You're in a position of power and with that comes great responsibility. And the sort of values that good world leaders live by are the same as those that teachers do."

Hope has mentored many White House staffers over the years, and developed her own tips for performing well in a stressful environment.

"When you're working for a political figure, especially the US president, there's always a crisis," Hope says.

"There was a lot of pressure, not just on me and my team, but other teams in the White House.

But when you're working with someone like Barack Obama, you've got to deal with that pressure every day, and not be anything less than a clear-minded, thorough, thoughtful person every day."

Hope has learnt a small amount about New Zealand politics in her three-week visit, but says the general election campaigns seem tame compared to what she is used to back home: "This seems like an extremely thoughtful, reasonable place."

Caption Text:
Hope Hall, centre, spoke about being a good role model at Renwick School, in Marlborough, on Friday. PHOTO: JENNIFER EDER/STUFF

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