tv Conversation with SBA Administrator Linda Mc Mahon CSPAN July 14, 2017 11:47pm-12:22am EDT
>> and see the largest collection of materials used during the revolution displayed at the concorde museum. tour ofspan city's concord, massachusetts on a c-span2's book tv. and, on american history tv on with our cableg affiliates and visiting cities across the country. linda mcmahon has been the small business administrator for five months. she talked about her personal and professional life, her marriage to vince mcmahon, her work as an executive and professional wrestling, and her 35 your friendship with donald trump. this is half an hour. steve: linda mcmahon, let's begin where your story begins, growing up in north carolina. an only child? ms. mcmahon: an only child. that is right.
my parents realized they had perfection and they stopped. [laughter] steve: what role did that have shaping your political views and ideology? ms. mcmahon: not so much my political views, but my parents were honest, hard-working people. both my mom and dad worked at the air base. we lived about 15 miles from the airbase. i had a fantastic upbringing and childhood. my paternal grandmother lived with us most of my life. i had that dual advantage of having an older person's perspective, as well as having my parents' perspective. steve: i read that you were a tomboy? ms. mcmahon: i was a tomboy, yes. i guess i still am a tomboy. i still like to play sports. i played baseball with the boys at recess. i could never jump rope. it was something i could not do. the girls seemed to be very involved in jumping rope. since i was might father's son
and my mother's daughter, i learned how to play baseball and basketball. and yet i would come into the house, my mom would show me how to set the table and cook and do the things that she did after she came home from her job as a budget analyst. steve: and your mom is still alive? ms. mcmahon: my mom is still alive. she is 90 years old and she has been one of the greatest role models in my life. steve: can you recall the best advice she has given you? ms. mcmahon: my mother would only stress with me to be yourself. always do your best, but be yourself, regardless of what company you are in. if you try to be somebody you are not, you will be perceived as the phony you are trying to represent. steve: you met your husband when you were in high school, correct? ms. mcmahon: yes, just barely in high school. i was 13 and he was 16. steve: what did your parents think? ms. mcmahon: well, meeting him was one thing. i said hello to him. i met him in church. we did not date for another couple years.
but i met him when i was 13 and he was 16. steve: what he come to your house often? ms. mcmahon: after we started dating, he would come for sunday dinner. he loved my mom and dad. and they loved him. steve: how did that evolve? ms. mcmahon: when we first said hello and met, he was at military school, and he was just visiting his mother who lived in my hometown. and then when he started college and i was still in high school, we would see each other every other weekend and our relationship got more serious and we would see each other every weekend. he would hitchhike from east carolina university back to new bern, and we would see each other over the weekend. steve: and you finished college in three years? ms. mcmahon: i did. steve: but before that you got married? ms. mcmahon: right out of high school i got married. i graduated in june. we got married in august.
vince was already at east carolina. i started my freshman year at east carolina. it took him a little longer to graduate. it took me a little less time. so, we finished together. steve: what were you thinking, i assume 17, 18 years old getting married? ms. mcmahon: 17. it was just a time of falling madly in love with someone, having a soul mate, and having confidence that you would make all that work, never thinking you wouldn't. steve: you have been married how many years now? ms. mcmahon: this august will be 51. steve: what is the secret? ms. mcmahon: a sense of humor. first of all, you have to find the right mate. so i found the right guy. and, you have to be able to laugh at yourself. and the greatest thing is you , have to have separate bathrooms. steve: why? ms. mcmahon: if you need to ask me why, you do not understand that whole process. but it made you blush. steve: you came to the d.c. area
after college to do what? i moved to: gaithersburg, maryland. i was then pregnant with our first child. i found out the day before graduation that we were expecting our first child. very untimely. we certainly had not planned on that. vince's parents lived here, his father and stepmother lived here. we moved here to be closer to them, and to look at job opportunities we felt would be greater than where we were in north carolina. steve: how much was in your checking account at the time? ms. mcmahon: very little. very, very little. we hardly had enough to rent a u-haul to move it up to gaithersburg. steve: so, walk us through how the wrestling enterprise began for you and your husband. ms. mcmahon: my husband is third-generation in this particular industry.
his grandfather dabbled a bit in professional wrestling. his grandfather was much more involved, and -- his father was much more involved, and was right here in washington. the name of the company was capital wrestling corporation. it was located at 1332 i street. the building is not there, but my father-in-law's office was in the franklin park hotel. he pretty much produced television and washington, d.c. and it was syndicated up to bangor, maine and as far west as ohio. that was the territory of wrestling at that particular time. vincent loved it, i think it was in his blood. it was all he wanted to do. he did dabble in a couple other things before he became an on-air personality for wrestling. steve: before you met him had , you ever gone or thought about wrestling or gone to a match? ms. mcmahon: i had been to a match with my father when i was about 10 years old because my
father was a shriner in north carolina. one of the fundraisers for the er's was a fundraising event and gorgeous george was the wrestler. i had been with my father to a wrestling event. steve: where do they come up with the names? ms. mcmahon: well, they are very creative. they have a very creative thoughts. they know how to really live my character and it is fun. steve: your son-in-law is known as -- ms. mcmahon: triple h. he started with that name when he was wrestling with another organization. his first characterization was this very, you know, rich, aristocrat. hunter hearst hemsley was his name. steve: you called him triple h? ms. mcmahon: no, i call him paul. [laughter] steve: it is a family business for your son and daughter, correct? ms. mcmahon: yes. my daughter is a chief officer
-- chief brand officer for wwe. my son is a performer for wwe. h is an talent and development. steve: one of the issues you had to deal with is the use of drugs during some of these matches. was it used? had it been used in your tenure? ms. mcmahon: i will tell you what we did. we put together one of the most comprehensive health enrollment policies at wwe and i was very involved in getting that done. we had a very stringent drug testing policy. it's really more about health and wellness. when you are performing in the ring, you are putting your life in someone else's hands. those moves can be dangerous, you have to learn, you have to be seasoned, you have to be professional at what you are doing. we want to make sure that not only are you physically fit that -- fits, but you are mentally ready when you get into the ring. steve: it is a sport.
how do you advise the athletes not to indulge in that? ms. mcmahon: while they are athletes, they are also entertainers. so much more goes into a wwe match than an actual sporting event. our goal has always been to make sure that our performers were healthy, and their well-being was looked after while they were in the ring. steve: how did your work their train you for your job here? ms. mcmahon: we grew wwe from its very beginnings up to taking it to a company on the new york stock exchange. so, growing each aspect of that business. and when vince and i started out, we shared a desk. when president trump asked me to serve as the administrator of these small business administration, he knew i knew what it was like to build a business from the ground up, to scale it, grow it, and even take it globally and public. steve: when did you first meet donald trump? ms. mcmahon: i can't remember
the exact year. i think it was around the early to mid-1980's. and he had invited us to be his guest at a rolling stones concert. so we went and sat outside in the stadium and had a great time. steve: among the cabinet members, i think you have the longest relationship with the president over the years. ms. mcmahon: i think that is true. we met him early on. we have kept to the relationship. he has performed actually in a couple of wwe events. and he is -- this is a unique fact, he is the only president of the united states to ever have been inducted into the wwe hall of fame. steve: how did that come about? ms. mcmahon: because each year we typically induct a celebrity who has performed at some point during the year as well as for those veteran performers who have been at wwe.
he was one that was selected. steve: is donald trump the person and the friend to you different than the donald trump the public sees on television? ms. mcmahon: i have known the president for about 25 years and i can tell you what he has always been to vince and me. he has always been a loyal and trusted friend. and he is a very smart businessmen. i have watched him grow his business. his sense of marketing and promotion is very keen. we always enjoyed working with him. steve: the mission of sba is what? ms. mcmahon: it is to make sure we are providing the right kind of tools and environment so entrepreneurs can start businesses or grow their businesses. by doing that, they are creating jobs and adding to the economy. i certainly appreciate the fact -- i am sure your viewers do as well, this president has an appreciation for the fact that
small businesses are the backbone and the engine of our economy. steve: what are the biggest obstacles for any entrepreneur who wants to start a business? what advice do you give them and what are the pitfalls? ms. mcmahon: i can tell you what i have heard, even before i came to sba. i campaigned for the senate in connecticut in 2010-2012. i toured small businesses all over connecticut. what i heard from them is the same thing i am hearing today. access to capital. the regulatory environment. taxes. health care. those are the things that for businesses, especially already in place, those are the things that are being the most difficult still to deal with. entrepreneurs who want to start their businesses, which is where sba is, right in the forefront to give advice, they need access to capital. you've got to have good capitalization to start a company.
but what i have found at sba is the general public or small businesses at large don't really know all the sba has to offer. yes, you think about moans when -- you think about loans. we guarantee loans we don't make , the loans ourselves. we help make loans available to those folks who would not we help make loans available to those folks who they wouldn't be normally. counseling.r than -- offer them counseling. we have programs through our women's business centers where retired executives or executives who aren't retired will donate their time to meet with young ignores to help them with their marketing -- young entrepreneurs to help them with their marketing plans, their designs, to help the overall. sometimes this might not be a great business and you have to step back and think about that. when we get them through the
capital part in the counseling part, another aspect of what sba can do is to help young entrepreneurs who have goods and services they can sell to the government to help put together those government contracts. uncle sam is the biggest purchaser of goods and services in the world. so if we can get some young businesses involved in doing that, it really helps them be able to grow, and that of course as to the economy. the one aspect of sba i wasn't aware about until about two days before my confirmation hearing was that the whole disaster relief program in the united states comes under sba. through cashlped and counseling and contracts, we also have the ability when sandy or katrina or the tornadoes and storms you are hearing about today or other economic impacts have the ability to go in and
help those victims of disaster. is the only time that sba actually gets involved in home mortgages because disaster victims cannot only lose their business, they can lose their home. we want to help them get back on their feet. the sooner they can get back on their feet, get their business going again, the sooner than their contributing to the economy. steve: let me go back to your earlier point. what are some of the biggest mistakes anyone makes when he or she is trying to start a business? what are some of those pitfalls? linda: the biggest mistake i always find young entrepreneurs can make is under capitalization and the management of cash flow. it is one of the biggest issues when you are really starting out because things can be going along at a very rosy fashion. you can be selling what you thought you would sell or providing those services you thought you would be able to provide, and suddenly something happens, and it dries up. you've not followed along and managed your cash very well.
i think when young entrepreneurs start a small business, often they are the ceo and trying to do too many things at one time. i once counseled a young woman starting her business, and she said it is just so expensive to have someone do the billing, so i am just going to do the billing at night. i told her no. she was a physical therapist. i said, you make your money with your hands. you hire someone else to answer the phones and the bookkeeping because in the long run, that money will come back to you in spades. steve: what were the biggest challenges for you and your husband going back 35 years ago when you were starting the wrestling adoration mark -- the wrestling federation? we weree were -- linda: growing a business and industry. it was a great opportunity for us. the challenge was, how do you scale? how do you go from being in the
territory you are an already? we then moved across the country to develop markets and really grow from a northeastern regional business to a national and then international business. we were very fortunate. a little lady luck is also part of what entrepreneurs can often experience that helps them grow. we had a good opportunity with good vision. is thes the -- vince creative genius behind of the wwe. his creativeness and sense of marketing is what pushed the company to growth. steve: how was seeing the growth of seeing your sport and entertainment? linda: cable was very big. at the time we started, the primary way you saw the bws programming was percent -- saw was through
syndication. it went from money market -- from one market to the next market to the next. cable however, and usa was the first major national reach that we had. just cut across all those markets much more efficiently and gave us the opportunity to expand. steve: if your husband was the visionary, what was your responsibilities as mark -- responsibilities? linda: initially i was the ceo for most of the business planning and administrative responsibilities. finance and operational issues. i often said i'd hitched my wagon to a star. someone said, did you hit your no, into a star, and i said i hitched into a rocket ship going full throttle.
someone who has great vision needs those people who can execute. so my job was to make sure we could execute this vision. that was through contracts, through television negotiations, going into the world of licensing. all of the aspects to really make them work and gel together. for your son and daughter, did they come by it naturally? to you tell them this with a good business opportunity? how did that come about? linda: they both just really enjoyed watching and seeing how the business developed. they worked summers at the vw we. i think -- at wwe. i think stephanie worked as a receptionist and other areas. shane was on the road. he became a performer, did referee work. when he first started he was traveling in one of the crew one of the crew trucks
taking down the rain and putting it up. is very first job was working in the warehouse where all the t-shirts and all that were stocked. he had to sweep floors and keep things clean and t-shirts folded. each of them really learned the business from the ground up. steve: early in your career, did your parents ever say, what kind of business model is this? linda: no, they were just very happy that we were happy and that we were growing. and i wentince bankrupt. it wasn't as a result of the banking and -- of the wrestling industry. it was a result of us investing with a couple of partners who turned out not to be quite what we thought. and were on some notes the only ones left holding the note. we try for a long time to pay it off, and finally we just couldn't do it anymore. we declared bankruptcy.
our home was auctioned off. our car was repossessed in the driveway and i was pregnant with our second child. those were tough times. young talked to entrepreneurs i talk to them about managing that downside risk and their cash flow. that is something i have been through. steve: we should point out amtrak is not too far here. linda: [laughter] that's when our computers -- our commuters are coming to and from work. steve: less talk about your race for the senate. about $100 million spent in those campaigns. what does that tell you about the state of american politics? linda: i'm not sure it talks about the state of american politics. i was a total unknown. a lot of the money was really spent in introducing me to the public. connecticut, you are right on the new york border, where all the ad time you're buying are
incredibly expensive because you are buying for the new york market. not so much for the rest of the state, but in that part of the state. it was very expensive. we had an all in commitment to the campaign. steve: you lost both races. what did you learn from that? linda: that it is very difficult to be a republican and win and connecticut. i learned a lot about myself, though. i learned how much i enjoyed people. being on the campaign trail, listening to the issues and problems they were having. i think it prepared me so much for this job today because, as i said, i too word over 300 -- i -- i toooo the state and
different kinds of businesses. i love business. i was able to bring that perspective from the political as what the as well knowledge of what many businesses were going through. . just small, but large businesses. steve: having been in this town for several months, why is bipartisanship or compromised so hard to come by in today's environment? linda: i think that we just on -- ought to focus more let me try that again. we just into focus on coming together so that we can pass more legislation. rancor year-- the today is unnecessary. the one thing i like and appreciate with sba is that our agency is the least partisan i think of any agency in washington.
are small business committees not only in the house, but in the senate, both sides worth -- both sides work together to get the bills passed relatively small businesses. everyone wants to see the economy grow. i think there is a real effort to help stimulate the growth of business so we can help the economy grow. steve: how did you personally prepare for the confirmation process? linda: there are things called murder boards, a panel of questioners who are really presenting questions that they think will come from the hearing to make sure that you know the government side of things. sba very confident here at relative to the direction i give him business and marketing and how to conduct things internally. i am learning about government. that was part of what the hearing prep was about. steve: did you have a chance to talk to the president on occasion, either socially or business? linda: primarily when i am at the white house for a cabinet
meeting or for several of the bill signings he has done. this particular week he had signed a bill -- an executive order, sorry, relative to apprenticeships, which is something i am so passionate about, as well because as part of workforce week, which we have been involved in all this week in the capital, we have met with , andess leaders, educators everyone has the same message, and that is there are jobs here in america, but we don't have the skilled workforce to fill those jobs. there was a nice dialogue with the president not addressing the cabinet, but i don't go over on a social basis to have a cup of coffee with him. steve: the president has talked about trying to get 3, 4, 5% growth in the economy, with the sba is part of that. how do we get there? linda: we get there by growing
more jobs. and more jobs we grow come of it or businesses that succeed, and the greater growth see in our economy. businesses ine the country are small businesses , about 29 million of them, two out of every three jobs are created by a small business. even women businesses, women known about 36% -- women own about 36% of all small businesses and contribute $1.4 trillion of sales to the economy each year. if we continue to grow those and add to our economy, we are going to see that kind of growth. that kind of growth is only going to come if we remove some of the impediments that face small and big businesses relative to tax reform, health care reform, making sure they have access to capital. we just have to continue to make
sure our companies can grow. steve: so with you here, how is the family business? linda: i have nothing to do with the family business. i resigned in 2009 when i ran for the senate. i resigned from the board. i haven't been back or had anything to do with wwe since 2009. steve: what do your kids think about your current job? linda: they are very proud of me, they tell me. i miss my family. i think they miss me, being in connecticut. i go home every weekend to visit with my family, fema grandchildren and my mom -- see my grandchildren and my mom. is nice to reconnect with them on the weekends. steve: when you have a weekend, nothing under schedule, what the like to do? linda: my family is such a big part of what i do on the weekends. plus i have to do those things that you need time to do like it your hair done, your nails done, that kind of thing.
i spent some time doing that, but it really like to be involved in primarily what my family is doing. steve: any thought about what his next? would you ever consider running for office again? linda: oh my goodness, i have only been here a blink. we will see beyond the next four years. i am enjoying what i am doing very much. i don't have any plans to run for office again. steve: when people ask you about your life here in washington and working with the president, what do you tell them? linda: i tell them it is very exciting. when i leave my condo and sometimes coming down rock creek park way, seeing the rowers on the potomac, and then suddenly you can see the monuments and the city, you are kind of right in the pulse of government and policy. it is fascinating and intriguing. i am enjoying being here very much. steve: having been a
receptionist in gaithersburg many years ago -- linda: i actually was a receptionist here in washington at the law firm of covington in berlin. that was my first job out of college. later they trained me as a paralegal in the probate division. steve: the view like you have come from circle -- come full circle? linda: i think so, but washington is so different than when i was here. it has grown so much that when i was here before. living in gaithersburg, it was the commute every day in and out of the city, which was pretty tough. it is really fun and exciting, but incredibly challenging to be here and have the responsibility of an agency which the president has said can have one of the most significant impacts on growth of the economy. when he talked to me about taking this position, i was in his office at trump tower. just as i was leaving, he looked at me and walked me to the door
and said, i just have one request. i said, yes? he said, do a good job. i told him i was going to do my best, and of my best wasn't good enough, he would let me know and i would gladly step aside for someone who could do it better. he said, i can't ask for more than that. --ve: how many google work how do people work at the sba? linda: when fully staffed, about 2100. but there are people that are on call for disaster relief. disaster relief headquarters is in the dallas-fort worth area. what we have are available trained volunteers or contract employees who come on board if we had a disaster and have to go immediately to the scene. steve: finally, we will be following the ignite to her -- the ignite to -- the ignite tour.he ignit
linda: we need to revamp our marketing and outreach. part of what that is doing is for me to go to our district offices around the country. there are 68 of them. i made a pledge to our district directors that i would visit each of their districts during that time. i will host business roundtables, visit small businesses, and really integrate into the community to see what is going on and how sba can impact that community. we will get a lot of local press for free. we will spread the word more and servicest all of the and opportunities there are at sba. so we have our leadership conference last week with all of our district directors coming in .
a leadership conference sounds so boring, so folks came up here , and it was the spark leadership conference. were having never ever went in for the first time to spark their interest and their enthusiasm. then we were going to continue with the ignite t -- the ignite to -- to her -- to -- tour. i will be heading to las vegas, salt lake city, back here to washington the week after that. washington, oregon, and alaska. a lot of the senators and representatives on the small business committee have asked, home. come to my
we will talk about how sba can be more effective in the community. i have made that pledge. one of them was to alaska, so i am going there. i will also be going to puerto rico. steve: you are learning along the way. linda: i am learning along the way. if i don't learn something every day, it is not a worthwhile day to me. i'm really enthusiastic about being out of the office and meeting people, but then i like to come back to the office because this is kind of the held that regenerates everything -- the of that -- the hub that regenerates everything. steve: linda mcmahon, thanks so much. linda: pleasure. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] >> the country is in an absolute monarchy. speaking about the distribution of wealth, it can get you in so much trouble. announcer: saudi arabia and women's rights activist talks about her time in prison after challenging the saudi
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