Tonya Williams

Age: 40
Hometown: Greenville, N.C.
Political party: Democratic
Relationship status: Single

Tonya Williams has been in Washington long enough to know its worst qualities.

"D.C. will take everything you give it and there's always more to give," Williams said, sitting in Vice President Biden's ceremonial office on Capitol Hill. "If you wait for the time to come to unwind it never comes."

But she really learned that lesson when she first got the job as legislative director in Biden's office in 2011, when the vice president gave her a stern warning about ways she could get fired.

First, the veep warned not to share anything she wasn't supposed to with anyone. Ever. And then he told Williams something that has stuck with her to this day.

"Don't ever think that you're so essential to what we're doing that you can't and shouldn't take care of the things that are important to you," he said. "If I ever find out that you are here doing work when you are supposed to be with your family, I'll fire you."

Williams, who recently turned 40, appreciated the sentiment. She says the key to doing well and feeling good and looking good in a place that moves at a dizzying pace is simple.

"I think it's balance," she said. "We work really hard but we have to make time to relax and sleep," she said. "And also trying not to take things very seriously."

So when she's not at work in the vice president's office or powering through the halls of Congress in a pencil skirt, she hits the gym for a run on the treadmill, weights and power yoga. She'll also go to dinner parties with friends, has been known to work in her Columbia Heights yard and spends time with her pug, Jackson.

It also helps that she loves her job.

"I feel like I have the best of both worlds," she said. "I have one foot in the legislative branch and one in the administration. It's a really interesting place to be."

— Amie Parnes

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