A Champion of Better and Affordable Cities | Mick Cornett

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Purse Power

Ep. 209 - Mick Cornett is the former mayor of Oklahoma City serving between 2004-2018 and the author of The Next American City. He was the first mayor in Oklahoma City history to be elected to four terms and remains the longest-serving mayor among the 50 largest cities in America. Listen to Mick’s Ted Talk. Oklahoma City is a midsized town that had a big problem: It was among the most obese towns in America. Mayor Mick Cornett realized that to make his city a great place to work and live, it had to become healthier too. In this charming talk, he walks us through the interlocking changes that helped OKC drop a collective million pounds (450,000 kilos). in this episode, Mick talks about the initiatives he took to make Oklahoma a successful city and why he advocates for better and affordable cities. Listen in to learn what it takes to become a successful leader who challenges themselves to pursue the hard things that others shy away from. You will also learn how to be a better communicator and leader who treats others honestly and fairly despite differences in views.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to be a leader that leads with passion, a plan, and action for others to follow
  • How to be a good communicator to separate your business and ideas from others
  • How to live a life without enemies and treat everyone honestly and fairly as a leader
  • How to challenge yourself with the hard tasks that will make a difference and make you feel more worthwhile
  • How to be more politically tolerant by listening to others even when your opinions differ
  • Learn to always be prepared for very important conversations and don’t let every conversation be real-time

"Choose the things that are going to make a difference and make a positive change in your life for your family or someone else. Do things that are hard because that's when your confidence grows when you accomplish something difficult." - Mick Cornett

In this episode you’ll discover:

How Mick fell in love with the city hall during a meeting and decided to pursue a career in politics [1:41]

How his former career as a sports journalist became an advantage as he transitioned into politics [4:07]

The benefits of building cities that are affordable and attractive to young people [6:11]

How passionate political centric can shift the dynamic of the current politics heat [8:21]

The power of matriarchal values in shifting our country’s political scene [9:47]

How the thiscityisgoingonadiet.com initiative shifted the city’s conversation and infrastructure [11:34]

The lessons he learned during and after the success of the thiscityisgoingonadiet.com initiative [15:20]

Mick's efforts made Oklahoma City a different city from others [19:37]

How to impact change in your business from technology to communication [22:48]

Why he brought the NBA to Oklahoma City to rebuild the city’s previously wounded brand [26:42]

The power of building a community that values health [28:20]

How he overcame challenges by executing what was possible in both good and bad times [30:07]

How he mastered the art of treating everyone honestly and fairly as a leader [31:58]

How the younger generations are enhancing relationships and experiences [34:12]

Mick advises you to challenge yourself with the hard things and leave the easy ones for others [37:57]

He shares tips and advice on being a better leader and communicator [42:10]


Michael Earl Cornett Sr. is an American politician and former television personality who served as the 35th mayor of Oklahoma City, from 2005 until 2018. A member of the Republican Party, he was only the fourth mayor in Oklahoma City history to be elected to three terms and the first to be elected to four terms.

He also served as President of the United States Conference of Mayors and as national President of the Republican Mayors and Local Officials (RMLO). He served as Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Urban Economic Affairs Committee until 2007.

After graduating, Cornett worked at KOCO-TV channel 5 (ABC affiliate) for twenty years in news and sports as a sports reporter and sports director, weekend sports anchor, morning/noon news anchor in Oklahoma City.

As a reporter, he covered city politics from 1997 to 1999. In 1999 he started his own video production company, Mick Cornett Video Productions, specializing in jobs for the corporate and legal sectors. Cornett is the co-host of The Verdict, a local Oklahoma City television show discussing legal and social issues.

Mick has been a proponent for urban issues and initiatives such as rapid and mass transit, economic diversification, urban renaissance, and civic beautification. Neighborhoods such as Asia District, Uptown, MidTown, Capitol Hill, the Eastside, and others have experienced an economic revitalization during his tenure. Downtown Oklahoma City has experienced a continued renaissance since 1993, earning Oklahoma City the moniker "Renaissance City".

In June 2007, the U.S. Census announced its estimate that Oklahoma City had grown in city population to over 547,000 residents; over 1.26 percent between July 2005 and July 2006. Since the official Census in 2000, Oklahoma City had grown over eight percent according to the Census Bureau, making it the 12th fastest-growing large city (over 500,000 in population) in the United States.

Other recent initiatives have also included his chairmanship of the "Core to Shore" committee of city leaders, and continued job growth in greater Oklahoma City. Led by almost 2,000 jobs that Dell brought to Oklahoma City, the Greater Oklahoma City area gained over 72,000 new jobs in Cornett's first five years in office.

During the Great Recession, compared to other metropolitan areas in the United States, Oklahoma City had one of the lowest unemployment rates, suffered one of the least severe economic downturns, and experienced one of the largest recoveries afterward.



City of Oklahoma

Ted Talk





Leonard Zax

Jeff Finkle

Christine Davenport


Donna Miller is the founder and CEO of Purse Power, Let's Share the Journey. Purse Power promotes women-led, women-owned businesses by providing a Google extension that allows everyone who visits your website to locate nearby businesses.

Let's Share the Journey holds calls at 10 AM Central every Friday to learn from national leaders to share expertise, ideas, and support. One week a month features Zoom Room networking. We support Donna's endeavor and have provided the speaker calls in a podcast format. Please join her on Friday mornings! You can register for the calls here.

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