We recently connected with Rodney Mitchell and have shared our conversation below.
Rodney , so good to have you with us today. We’ve always been impressed with folks who have a very clear sense of purpose and so maybe we can jump right in and talk about how you found your purpose?
When I was a teenager, around 19 years old, I was living in Montgomery Alabama and I was watching a tv program, about children who had cancer and they were organizing this camp for them. Seeing that triggered something in me and made me want to be apart of it. I immediately put in an application with the American Cancer Society and received a letter a few weeks later saying I was not qualified because I did not have a college degree. As disheartened as I was I called once more and they told me that there is a woman in Birmingham Alabama who is organizing a camp herself, you should give her a call. I called her and asked if there was anything I can do. Her name was Vicky Griner, she was the PR person for the Birmingham stallions football team. I joined forces with her, and together we started the camp “Smile a Mile” one of the first camps for kids with cancer in the country. That single event really opened my eyes to my passion for helping women and children with illnesses. Later on when I decided to go to cosmetology school, that event was the driving force when it came to my passion for hair and from that moment on I never doubted that this was my purpose on this earth, to help people look and feel good about themselves. I have done multiple fashion shows and charities with some of the biggest designers and one of their requirements was to always give back and I have always stood by that, even to this day. I still work with the American Cancer Society and cut wigs and give styling tips to anybody who has lost their hair due to cancer. As of today, we have help raise millions of dollars for different charities.
Let’s take a small detour – maybe you can share a bit about yourself before we dive back into some of the other questions we had for you?
I opened my own salon in 1998, it grew very rapidly and in 25 years. I have worked with a lot of high profile people including the speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi but I have also done a lot to help my community and that has always been the goal when it comes to the “Rodney Mitchell” brand. Out of the blue 2017 I was offered an opportunity in the hospitality business, I am now working for Icon entertainment group, with Bill and Shannon Miller. I manage Skulls Rainbow room, Sinatra’s bar and lounge as well as run my salon. I love every minute of it. And one take away is that even if you don’t have any experience in whatever you chose to do with your life, that does not mean that you wont be a great fit. Take the risk and see where life will take you.
There is so much advice out there about all the different skills and qualities folks need to develop in order to succeed in today’s highly competitive environment and often it can feel overwhelming. So, if we had to break it down to just the three that matter most, which three skills or qualities would you focus on?
Kindness, empathy, and dedication. A piece of advice is to start each day with meditation and purpose. Having a purpose for the day makes it easier to reach your major goals. Don’t go through life waiting on things to happen, go out and get it done. If you fall get back up and try again.
Awesome, really appreciate you opening up with us today and before we close maybe you can share a book recommendation with us. Has there been a book that’s been impactful in your growth and development?
A book that I really admire that has helped me grow my business is “The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company” written by Robert Iger. Two quotes have always stuck out to me and I think about them often. The first being “If you approach and engage people with respect and empathy, the seemingly impossible can become real.” Kindness and empathy have always been top priority for me and my business, approching people with kindness and empathy will resonate with them for years to come. You are not just selling your business, you are selling yourself as well. The second quote that means a lot to me is “People sometimes shy away from taking big swings because they assess the odds and build a case against trying something before they even take the first step. One of the things I’ve always instinctively felt is that long shots aren’t usually as long as they seem.” Like I mentioned in the last question, always pursue your passions no matter how much experience you have. As long as you believe in yourself and are willing to put in the work you can achieve more than you think you can. Everybody starts somewhere and it is better to try and fail than to never try at all.
- Website: Rodneymitchellsalon.com
- Instagram: @RodneyMitchellSalon
- Facebook: Rodney Mitchell Salon