Mark Warner was running for governor of Virginia when he met with a group of African-American business leaders. He was looking for their support. Warner gave a good accounting of all that he'd done as a venture capitalist to generate more opportunities for minorities in the state, including the creation of a high-tech internship program for students at predominantly black colleges. The one area where there hadn't been much progress, Warner said, was in venture capital. The problem was a familiar one: There weren't enough blacks with the necessary background.

One of the leaders sitting in the audience that day was Joe Watson. After the speech, Watson told Warner, "You're wrong. They're out there." And to prove the point, he set up a meeting between Warner, some members of Watson's network of talented minority business executives, and a group of VCs. Warner was impressed - so impressed that, after he won the election, he made Watson a part of his transition team. Working pro bono, Watson orchestrated an extensive talent search that turned up women, blacks, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans, among others, to fill the Warner administration, particularly at the highest levels. The result: In 7 of Virginia's 10 cabinet departments, either the cabinet secretary or the deputy secretary is a minority. "It's significantly more diverse than it was before," says Warner. "I think it reflects the changing face of Virginia."