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Episode 80: Equity, Politics, and The Art of Compromise, Senator Mark Warner

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Nextel co-founder and legislator Mark Warner joins The Corelink Solution to discuss the state of equity in America and the importance of compromise in politics.

Mark Warner’s lessons in failure

Don’t let his accolades fool you, Senator Warner says, he’s failed more times than you can imagine.  “My first business failed in six weeks.  My second business failed in six months.  The third time I managed to do well in the cell phone business, but it was only after failure. “

He’s even experience failure in the political arena.  “The first time I ran for U.S. Senate I got second place.  I managed to come back from that and run for governor and then became a senator.  I’ve learned as much from my failures as my successes. “

The Virginia Senator admits “If I had not been a white guy, with the appropriate education I probably would not have gotten a third shot.  Or even a first shot.”  That is what motivates Warner.  With all of America’s flaws, he intends to use his position to make sure everyone gets a fair shot.

Equity in America

Despite being worried, Warner remains optimistic about the state of America.  “With all our flaws, we’re still the only country in the world where people literally try to break in to get some of the opportunities that sometimes we take for granted.”

It’s evident Warner still believes in the American dream.  “You can rise up from your roots, you can change your circumstances.”  But he is still concerned because “the number of people who rise up today versus 50, 60 or even 70 years ago, statistically has gotten much smaller.”

Even though he is a proud Democrat, Warner wants his constituents to know that he’s bipartisan.  “We put a lot of points on the board, we lowered the price of insulin, we passed the CHIPS bill.  And we passed a major infrastructure bill.”  Not only that, the Virginia Senator co-labored to change election laws to prevent another Jan. 6 insurrection.

In recent years we’ve seen a rise in anti-government rhetoric.  Online and off.  One of the things Warner wants Americans to understand is that criticism can create hostility if done haphazardly without proposed solutions.  “Don’t give up on the process.  Vote for people who know how to get to yes.”

Post pandemic equity

Warner stands firm on his belief that all people deserve a fair shot.  “It’s morally the right thing to do.  The case I try to make to people is it’s also the business smart thing to do.  In Virginia, thirty-five percent of the population is Black, Latino, or Asian.  And if those folks aren’t getting that fair shot Virginia’s economy will never be fully realized.”

As a result of the pandemic, minority-owned businesses bore the brunt of financial loss.  “We lost 400,000 black-owned businesses and 35% of Latino businesses.”  As we know the government distributed PPP monies.  But, “When the banks got the money, they distributed it to their regular customers.”  Needless to say, black and brown businesses were left out again.

The bipartisan Warner went to work forming a partnership with then-President Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin.  “We got $12 billion dollars to go to minority deposit institutions.  Black and brown-owned banks.  And what’s called community development financial institutions.”  Those CDFI’s had to lend at least 60% to low and moderate-income people.

The politics of corporate America

In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, corporate America promised they were going to work on black and brown equity.  “The promise was almost $300 billion.  How much of that was actually delivered?  $5 billion.”

Now working with the current Treasury deputy secretary Wally Adeyemo and some Republicans, Warner helped create The Economic Opportunity Coalition.  “If we are losing millions of people that can become business leaders then our country is not going to do as good as it should.”

Virginia Senator Mark Warner has served as a key author and negotiator of several pieces of critical legislation aimed at rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, improving cybersecurity, restoring domestic manufacturing, protecting national security, rebounding from the COVID-19 crisis, and investing in underserved and underbanked communities.

Career Clinic

What are some of the fundamental steps we can all take to have a better career?  Make promises not resolutions.  Why promises?  Because a promise holds weight.  Are we willing to make a promise to ourselves?  Here are six promises to make to help us grow.


  1. Embrace your purpose. What are your unique gifts and talents?  Connect your career purpose to your God-given purpose.
  2. Perform to progress instead of perfection. Perfection is not attainable.  Growth is.
  3. Promote what you’re doing with a sense of purpose.
  4. Parlay your platform.
  5. Put it into action.  If you stumble, recover.  If you fall, get up.  Keep going.
  6. Give back. Share your lessons.  Encourage and inspire others.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the episode.  Follow us on Twitter at @jamesrosseausr and @TheCLSolution and join the conversation. To hear full episodes of the podcast, locate business and career resources, or get started with our Success On Your Own Terms program, visit  Until next time, be informed, be empowered, and be accountable.

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