Kamala Harris’s inner circle describes her trailblazing path towards the Vice Presidency

With Kamala Harris poised to make history as the first woman, and person of color to become Vice President, her closest friends are thrilled but not surprised.

"I keep thinking about San Francisco pride, the pride we all feel for her," said longtime friend Debbie Mesloh. "And I know she's thinking about her home, she always loves to come back San Francisco."

Mesloh has been a Harris strategist since her first campaign: election as San Francisco District Attorney.

She recalls how almost no one thought a woman, the bi-racial daughter of immigrants, could win the law and order job.

But Harris not only won but in the years since, ascended to California Attorney General and then U.S. Senator.  

"Coalition building is what she does," said Mesloh. "She could not have won her races and not governed as she has, being the first at so many things, had she not built broad coalitions." 

Those who know Harris best say she is uniquely able to help heal a fractured nation. 

"She figures out what the right thing to do, and then she does that," said Suzy Loftus, who has also known Harris since their early days, when Loftus regarded Harris a mentor in the District Attorney's office.

She recalls how Harris regularly met with the mothers of murder victims.

"She kept close contact with people who were deeply in pain, and the system wasn't working for them."

That empathy, friends say, helps Harris relate to people.

"She approaches issues with curiosity and not judgement," observed Loftus.

Americans have seen Harris' prosecutorial side, when she questioned then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

"Will you commit to recusing any case involving the civil or criminal liability of the president who appointed you?" she demanded, during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.  

Later, when they were opponents, she hammered Joe Biden on school busing, which he opposed decades ago.

"There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me," said Harris in one of the more memorable debate moments of the primary season.

Her friends say people will come to discover Harris's sense of humor and personal warmth.

"She is someone who has called my mom and sung her happy birthday," smiled Loftus.

The birthday serenades are apparently not unusual.

Friends say Harris is big on birthdays and music.

Her favorite artist: Prince.

And she's a mean cook, who listens to cooking shows, and even calls in. 

"She'd call them sometimes to talk about brining a chicken or a certain recipe and that's her sense of humor," said Mesloh. “And after every campaign, the first thing she would do is gather everyone who worked on it and cook them a good meal."

Now poised for her biggest stage, friends say Harris has been reaching out to thank former aides.      

"I can tell you when you're her staff person, and you're trying to jam thru LAX, she can beat almost anyone," laughed Lofton, remembering how Harris set a fast pace in airports- much like her life.

"She makes it look easy, but she's always driven and focused and there's nothing this woman can't do."

Another impending first: "first gentleman" Doug Emhoff, Harris's husband. 

He is an entertainment lawyer on leave from his firm as he travels with Harris on campaign.

Emhoff is a divorced father of two teenage children, who call Harris "Momala."

The couple met on a blind date in 2013.

Debora Villalon is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Debora at debora.villalon@foxtv.com and follow her on Twitter @DeboraKTVU.