Mitchell facilitates the meetings of the minds

Filed under: One on One |

If great minds think alike, then it makes sense for them to have a place to think together.

Karen Mitchell is the local chair for an organization that provides just that. The Executive Committee is a think tank for local CEOs and business leaders.

It’s a place where business leaders brainstorm and problem solve.

While Mitchell heads the local TEC chapter, the organization’s borders are not limited to Colorado Springs. TEC offices can be found around the globe.

Mitchell recently took time away from her leadership duties to tell CSBJ about herself and her business.

* Organization: TEC (The Executive Committee)

* Position: Chair of TEC groups in Colorado Springs

* Hometown: Pompano Beach, Fla

* How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: 10 years

* Education: Bachelor’s degree in philosophy (University of Florida), J.D. (Case Western Reserve University, School of Law)

* A few words about your company: TEC international, the largest chief executive leadership company, provides an unrivaled forum for professional and personal growth, innovation and improved decision making.

Since 1957, executives have joined TEC to accelerate the growth of their businesses-and of themselves.

That growth comes from a unique combination of elements including: candid problem-solving sessions with a local group of trusted peers, fresh ideas from a corps of expert speakers, one-on-one executive coaching and entrée into a worldwide network of more than 11,000 other CEOs.

* Recent accomplishments: I’ve always been fortunate to be one of TEC’s annual “Chair Excellence” award winners. But, this year, out of 250 chairs in the United States, I was the only woman, and youngest chair, to receive the award. (I’m 43.)

* Biggest career break: There are a series of career steps that brought me to where I am now.

I started off with a solid business and law background, practicing with 300 other lawyers in a Florida law firm. I went on to teach graduate (and undergrad) law courses at a Christian university.

Then, for several years, I facilitated leadership workshops for IBM’s executives. It all ties together now, and, that is probably my biggest break.

I’m grateful to find fulfilling work that is a self expression of who I am, and makes a difference in the community.

* The toughest part of your job: Average membership in TEC groups is about seven years. And, over that time we all become close friends.

When something significant changes in their business or personal life, and it’s time for them to leave the group, it can be very difficult to see them go.

* Someone you admire: Collin Powell. He’s a wonderful example of leadership.

* About your family: My sister, her husband and three children live in Round Rock, Texas. And, my parents, still active, traveling and enjoying life, live in Stuart, Fla.

I always wanted to have children, but that didn’t happen for me.

* Something else you’d like to accomplish: I sponsor a little girl in Haiti. And, I’m committed to staying with her until she finds her own way in life, as an adult.

* How your business will change in the next decade: Access to information is not the challenge. It’s knowing what to do.

We’re looking at even more ways to use technology for collaboration among peers. With 11,000 members around the world, that’s a lot of “been there, done that” knowledge.

* What book are you currently reading? I just finished “Freakonomics” and “Leap of Faith,” by Queen Noor. Now, I’m into “Newport in the Rockies” for a little local history. It’s my book club’s selection this month.

* What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? I think we all agree that an east-west corridor is badly needed.