Warner addresses business ethics

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March 14, 2008

1:20 PM

Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner addressed business ethics, policy challenges, and the world of non-profits in a speech at the Commonwealth Auditorium Wednesday. The speech was sponsored by the Mason School of Business.

p. Warner started his speech with a description of how he learned business ethics and the importance of persistence in the managerial world. He highlighted one tenet of American capitalism that allowed him to succeed as the co-founder of Nextel Communications: competition.

p. “I think sometimes in America, we take for granted what I think is the most unique American value that makes our country better than almost any place in the world, the basic premise that you ought to get a fair shot,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we can guarantee you success, but you ought to get a fair shot.”

p. “I would make the case that one of the areas in our society … that has the most potential to be an increasingly powerful force in peoples’ lives is the non-profit sector,” he said.

p. Yet, as a policy maker himself, Warner also cited problems in the non-profit world.

p. “The challenge in the non-profit sector is often to try to get non-profits to collaborate together,” he said. “It’s a heck of a lot easier to get Democrats and Republicans to work together than it is to get foundations to work together.”

p. Another challenge for the national government as a whole, Warner said, is its inability to grasp an equal footing between spending on oil and the war and taxing, which was beleaguering the nation.

p. The lecture had many moments of humor and laughter over past experiences gone wrong. One such instance was the John Warner versus Mark Warner campaign of 1996 in which bumper stickers were made to tell the two candidates apart.

p. “Back in 1996, my name being Mark Warner managed to confuse the hell out of everyone,” he said. “Our one great idea was a bumper sticker that said ‘Mark, Not John’ and more often than one time, people would [ask] ‘Is that bumper sticker a biblical reference?’ Welcome to the real Virginia.”

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