Warren Rustand | From the White House to EO, YPO, and Discovering the Leader Within Us
Warren Rustand
Smart Business Revolution

Warren Rustand is the CEO of Summit Capital Consulting and Co-founder of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Leadership Academy. He is also a husband, father, grandfather, entrepreneur, corporate leader, educator, author, speaker, and philanthropist. He was previously Managing Director of SC Capital Partners, Chairman and CEO of Rural Metro Corporation, and Chairman and CEO of TLC Vision. He also served as the Global Chairman of the World Presidents Organization.

Warren was selected as a White House Fellow through a nationally competitive process in 1973 and was appointed as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Commerce where he co-led the first-ever Executive Level Trade Mission to the Soviet Union. In 1974, Warren was asked to serve as Appointments Secretary and Cabinet Secretary to President Gerald Ford. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Arizona where he was an academic all-American basketball player.

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran sits down with Warren Rustand, the CEO of Summit Capital Consulting, to talk about their experiences working at the White House and the principles of good leadership. Warren shares details about working under President Ford, writing a book, and his advice on successfully leading a business through a pandemic.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Warren Rustand’s experience working at the White House for Gerald Ford and how he became the President’s Appointment Secretary
  • What was President Gerald Ford like in terms of leadership, and what did he teach Warren?
  • The current state of politics, and how it compares to past years
  • The lessons Warren learned from the White House that he took to the private sector
  • How good policy and legislation can improve both the public and private sector
  • Why Warren wrote the book “The Leader Within Us: Mindset, Principles, and Tools for a Life By Design”
  • How Warren maintains a balance between his work and family — and what he learned from his father growing up on a farm in Minnesota
  • The leadership decisions Warren and his family made to handle the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Warren’s thoughts on the future and leadership
  • The peers and thought leaders Warren respects and those he acknowledges for his achievements
  • Where to learn more and get in touch with Warren Rustand

Resources Mentioned:

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:14

Welcome to the Revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.

John Corcoran 0:40

All right, welcome everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the host of this show. And you know, I get to talk to so many amazing guests each week CEOs founders entrepreneurs of all kinds of companies organizations ranging from YPO to eo which is something that both of which are guests here today has something to do with Activision Blizzard LendingTree OpenTable Isola for many more go check out my archive of past episodes to check those out. I’m also the Co-founder of Rise25, where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. And you know, normally I think of one person for introducing or suggesting my guests but this time I’ve got about two dozen people who I could thank for suggesting this guest literally that many of my past guests have suggested that I interviewed today’s guest. 

Chris George Levesque, Fran Biderman-Gross, Robert Glazer, Pramod Raheja, Shaundra Hall, Brad Stevens, and many more have said ‘You got to interview Warren Rustand’. He’s a husband, he’s a father of seven, grandfather of 19, entrepreneur, athlete, educator, speaker, philanthropist, spent many of his early years and a farm in Minnesota before moving to Southern California. If I read his entire biography, you would not believe that it sounds like it’s from a movie he was drafted to play for the Golden State Warriors and listed in the army worked in the White House, I’m going to ask you about that. I’ve asked him about that in a second. And, of course, spent many years in entrepreneurship and as a leader, and is now an author of a new book, which we’re gonna talk about in a second. But I don’t want to talk too much. I want to keep the focus on you, Warren, it’s such an honor and a pleasure to have you here with us. But first, we have this shared background, we both spent time in the White House, you are slightly higher level than I was, I say in all humility. But you’ve got this crazy, amazing story of the intersection of history. And it’s amazing to think about you at this crazy turning point in time you came in during the Nixon years. And you were there when Nixon had to resign and Ford took over, but tell us the story of this amazing experience and the leadership lessons that shaped your life.

Warren Rustand 2:52

Well, thank you very much, John, I’m really happy to be with you today. And I appreciate you taking the time to spend some time with me. And hopefully we’ll share some things today, which might be helpful to other people, which is what we both want to do. So I applied for a White House fellowship in 1973. Not knowing much about it, or what it was about, I was 29 years old at the time, had already led a couple of companies successfully. And so it was an opportunity for me to see how I compare it against other young people who had started their careers across the United States. It’s not an internship, you’re paid a full salary commensurate with your job and responsibilities and so forth. So there were several 1000 people that applied by hook or by crook at the end of 11 months, I was named as one of 17 White House fellows and I ended up on the staff, a special assistant to then vice president united states, Gerald Ford, during that period of time, that was the last nine months of Watergate, for the history buffs on your show and who watched your show, but the last nine months of Watergate wherein President Nixon was under siege for having complicity in the possibility that he actually was involved in the cover up of a felony a break in have some offices. That came to be true. On August 6 1974, I heard those famous words, Mr. Vice President, prepared to be president, because the president united states had made a public announcement that he was resigning his office, which meant that the man I was working for was going to become president united states in just two days, the entire transition period was two days, usually about three months. Yeah, that’s exactly right. When he heard that. I had wondered if he’d ever really thought about being present.