Episode 2

Published on:

14th Sep 2021

I’m Speaking: Jennifer Banwart, U.S. Senate Candidate for NC.

Changing the World, Authenticity, and It’s Possible

In this episode of The Outspoken Podcast, host Shana Cosgrove talks to Jennifer Banwart, U.S. Senate Candidate for North Carolina. Jennifer talks about what it’s like running for Senate and what all compelled her to get into politics. She also touches on her college experience and the bold personal decision she made to build herself a valuable foundation. Additionally, we get to hear about Jennifer’s experience with the NSA, her decision to leave the government, and how she went from living a private life to being up front in the public eye.


  • “Intelligence is messy. People have to be comfortable with that if they’re going to thrive in it.” - Jennifer Banwart [46:53
  • “You can see that if you start to do things in a certain way, other people will start to do things a certain way and eventually you’re changing the world. And you have to believe that that is true. It’s possible.” - Jennifer Banwart [67:34] 
  • “I’ve always tried to be kind, as much as I could. And sometimes my kindness has been mistaken for weakness and I’m not afraid to come out and show it when I need to. But I’ve always tried to come from a place of remembering my manners, respecting other people, being humble and believing that there’s something bigger than me, but be firm. Be pragmatic, but be firm.”– Jennifer Banwart [71:45]


  • [00:04] Intro
  • [03:09] Shana and Jennifer
  • [06:25] Working for and Leaving the Government
  • [08:36] Family Meetings and Listening
  • [11:03] Growing Up and Family
  • [16:54] Early Interest in Politics
  • [18:34] Deciding on College
  • [21:25] American University
  • [24:17] Nyla Technology Solutions
  • [24:50] Energy and Bob Dole’s Campaign
  • [27:57] Transferring to Whitman
  • [32:04] Work After College
  • [35:16] Student Debt
  • [35:54] Meeting Recruiters and Deciding
  • [37:24] Marriage and Having Children
  • [38:17] Interviewing at NSA and CIA
  • [39:10] Jennifer’s Career at NSA
  • [44:40] National Counterterrorism Center
  • [46:59] Jennifer’s Christmas Card
  • [48:01] Running for Senate
  • [52:13] Moderate Republican
  • [54:27] It’s Possible
  • [59:40] Overview of Jennifer’s Campaign
  • [67:47] Private Life to Public Eye
  • [70:48] Wrap Up Questions
  • [77:57] Outro



I’d love to hear from you -- your feedback is important to me and I read all of it. If you enjoyed the podcast, would you take a moment to give us a 5 star review and I’ll be sure to thank you via email. If not, let me know what you think we should do differently. Don’t forget to hit “subscribe” so you’ll receive notifications about guest interviews and other topics that drop every Tuesday.

Live well, Shana

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About the Podcast

Outspoken with Shana Cosgrove
Tech, Money, Business, and Passion
On this show we'll talk about tech - software engineering, data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning - government contracting, the business of business, money, and what really drives us.

About your host

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Shana Cosgrove

An engineer by education and trade (computer science and systems engineering), Shana Cosgrove is now the Founder, Owner, and Operator of two tech startups - Nyla Technology Solutions and VitalUP Marketing. Nyla is a government contractor providing big-data software engineering and data services, while VitalUP excels in all things digital marketing related. Known for her innovation and customer-focus, Shana is a principal engineer with deep experience in all aspects of the software development lifecycle. She has a strong understanding of a broad range of techniques and technologies to develop software-intensive systems. Shana is a proven leader and known as an outstanding communicator. Funny, engaging, and authentic, she is a frequently-requested speaker.