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U.S. Senator Mark Warner Tells Young Leaders: 'We Need Your Voice'

By Noell Saunders

U.S. Senator Mark Warner told aspiring business leaders and college students from across Virginia to "stay engaged" to help chart the nation's future during the 2017 Virginia21 Young Professionals Summit on June 16.

"A third of today's workforce is contingent," Warner, a former governor and businessman, told the group at Old Dominion University. "That means there's an awful lot of young people who will live with enormous economic insecurity. You have better ideas and more knowledge about what the future is going to look like than I do, but you must stay engaged. You are the future."

The summit offered the young adults lessons in such areas as managing finances, building successful nonprofits and being effective communicators in the business world.

Warner's themes included his success and failures in business, the road to politics, the current state of the U.S. government, and an evolving workforce that offers less of a safety cushion for younger generations today.

Warner, a first-generation college student who later made a significant fortune from a mobile phone business, encouraged the group to take advantage of the same opportunities that granted him success throughout his career.

"We need your voice. We need your voice in politics, business, social entrepreneurship, and we need your voice in the community," he said.

The event at Old Dominion featured six sessions including activities for personal and workforce development.

Gloria Williams, a graduate of ODU, said it gave her new ideas to strategize her career plans.

"I learned how to position myself to become a greater asset to my community," she said. "I also received invaluable resources at the summit. It was also a good opportunity to connect with individuals who are also committed to personal development and community enrichment."

Virginia21, which sponsored the summit, is a nonpartisan organization that seeks to equip young people with the skills and tools to take on today's biggest challenges while making a difference in communities and beyond.

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