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Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

  • "Power should be used sparingly yet strategically," Conway said. "A reluctance to exert power is also a necessary requisite for possessing it. Our Constitution reserves many powers to the individual and to the states. Washington often forgets that. Leaders are wise to respect, not rob, people of their power."
  • "In the '80s, Washington was known for the 'power lunch' and the 'power suit.' Cute. Increasingly, women in Washington have real power. Sometimes, the expectations for powerful women are different, but so, too, are the motivators and outcomes."
  • "The late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher offered words to live by: 'Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't.' This is true. Show it; don’t say it. Use it wisely; don’t underline it obnoxiously."
  • "If you have a choice between power and influence, go for influence. Power is conferred by one's birth, position, promotion or election. Influence is how things get things done, preferring negotiation, persuasion and elevating cooperation and collaboration."

Go deeper

Young people want checks on Big Tech's power

Data: Generation Lab; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The next generation of college-educated Americans thinks social media companies have too much power and influence on politics and need more government regulation, according to a new survey by Generation Lab for Axios.

Why it matters: The findings follow an election dominated by rampant disinformation about voting fraud on social media; companies' fraught efforts to stifle purveyors of disinformation including former President Trump; and a deadly Jan. 6 insurrection over the election organized largely online.

Bill Gates faces scrutiny over relationship with Microsoft employee, Epstein ties

Photo: Alessandro Di Ciommo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Representatives for Bill Gates pushed back on claims Sunday that he left Microsoft's board because of an earlier sexual relationship and against two other reports detailing more extensive ties with Jeffrey Epstein than had previously been reported.

Driving the news: Microsoft said in an emailed statement to Axios that it "received a concern" in 2019 that its co-founder "sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000," but denied a Wall Street Journal report that its board members thought Gates should resign over the matter.

AT&T in talks with Discovery to combine media assets

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AT&T is in talks with media giant Discovery about merging its media assets, like CNN, TBS and TNT, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

Why it matters: A potential merger could allow AT&T and Discovery to better compete with entertainment giants like Disney and Netflix in the video streaming wars.