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Hughes speaks at UNT

Profile image for By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer
By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer

Jerry Jones receives Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneurship award

DALLAS — Former U.S. Ambassador Karen Hughes and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talked about the “can do” spirit of entrepreneurialism during the University of North Texas Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship leadership luncheon Friday.

“Politics is in many ways an entrepreneurial endeavor,” Hughes said, and it takes risk and putting their names in the public to become politicians.

Hughes, who started her career in broadcast journalism in Fort Worth, shared stories from her time as director of former President George W. Bush’s campaign for governor of Texas and her time as a counselor to Bush while he was president. She also served as the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the U.S. Department of State with the rank of ambassador.

Hughes is now the global vice chairwoman of Burson-Marsteller, a public relations and communications firm. She talked about keys to being a leader.

“What you do often communicates with more clarity than what you say,” she said.

Hughes talked about how leaders set the example, whether it’s positive or negative.

“The power of example goes both ways,” she said.

Hughes gave attendees examples of the skills she’s observed in leaders. She shared how Bush was clear that her most important job the weekend after Sept. 11, 2001, was to have a speech ready. She shared how he considered it rude to be late and expected the same discipline of those with whom he worked.

“President Bush is a stickler for being on time,” Hughes said.

Leaders are also humble, she said.

She talked about how Bush often said words incorrectly or made them up.

“I know he can’t pronounce ‘nuclear,’” Hughes said. “Believe me, I tried.”

She recalled a time when he used “misunderestimate” three times in a speech. She brought it to his attention, and although he didn’t want to hear the criticism, he told her to always tell him when he messed up, she said.

Hughes also shared her thoughts on the recent presidential election, saying both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney made mistakes in their campaigns.

She said Obama didn’t offer a clear vision for his second term.

Hughes said she felt more inspired by Obama in 2008.

“It’s up to the president to set a different tone,” she said. “And only he can do it.”

Hughes said the United States needs to continue to be a beacon of hope for the world.

“No matter what happens, we will tackle our challenges and find our ‘can do’ spirit,” she said.

The annual Leadership Luncheon, now in its 11th year, recognizes a business leader for his or her accomplishments.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones received the Murphy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneurship on Friday.

Past recipients include Ebby Halliday, Trammell Crow, H. Ross Perot and Craig Hall, who received the award last year.

Jones credits his success with early discussions around the kitchen table with neighbors, who were entrepreneurs.

There is no question it shaped his “can do” attitude, he told attendees.

“No doubt you have to have confidence,” he said. “You certainly have to have an idea you believe in.”

Jones said he’d give the audience five things to establish success in sales.

“One, ask for the money,” he said. “I forgot the other four.”

Proceeds from the luncheon are used for scholarships, student awards and other programs through the Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship.

During the luncheon, winners of the center’s New Venture Creation contest were announced.

Avant Solutions won first place and $20,000, while Click Clack Short Films took second place and $10,000, Growin’ Green EcoFarm won third place and $5,000 and PCs2 Prosper won the social venture award and $5,000.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is