A CEO’s Thoughts on Making the Journey Matter Pt. 2

by | Sep 7, 2015

Do you ever find yourself uncertain of the path ahead or wonder why you are where you are on your journey? Elise Mitchell, CEO, Mitchell Communications Group and CEO, Dentsu Aegis Public Relations Network, shared insights and practical guidance last week on how to make the journey matter. She joins us today to finish the conversation.

What are some practical ways we can enjoy the journey with our families in the midst of intense work seasons?

During the busiest periods of my work life, I used to schedule some sort of get-away – even if it was just for a day – with my daughter once a quarter. This was particularly important when she became a young teenager and had more questions than answers. You have to be available to them during these times, listening for their voice and being available to them when they’re ready to open up. We used to have the best talks about life, love and God during our car rides home from these trips late at night. I treasure these “dashboard conversations” as times when we were really honest with each other and drew closer together.

My husband and I also made a promise to our kids once that one of us would always be present at their activities. Both our children ended up in sports – our daughter in competitive and school cheer, and our son in football, basketball and baseball. So we were pretty busy burning up the roads taking them to competitions. I used to get a lot of work done during these trips by taking my laptop and cell phone and working from wherever we were. Thank goodness for technology that allows us to do so – and I did, just as long as my daughter wasn’t on stage or my son was at the plate!

Looking back, both our kids say these years we spent together with them on countless trips were some of their favorite memories of their childhood, so I’m glad we could find a way to be present for them while still keeping all the balls in the air at work. I wouldn’t trade a single moment of being there for them whether they were celebrating a great victory or finding their way back from a tough loss. Priceless moments for us as parents too – don’t miss them.


God asks us to do our work with excellence and unto Him. What are some ways you stay goal-oriented and drive toward accomplishments without overdoing it?

There are lots of ways to soften the edges of your ambition without losing sight of your goals. Of course your first priority needs to be making time for family — and while I don’t believe there is such a thing as work/life balance, I do believe you can find ways to blend the two so there is greater satisfaction in both places. Peace at home makes work far better, and vice versa. There are also times your family needs you more than others, so you must stay attuned to the changing seasons of their lives and be available to them when they need you most.

Another way to balance your single-minded focus on achievement is to involve others in your pursuit, especially people you enjoy working with and can learn from. Working in high-performing teams is far more fulfilling and makes the drive toward the goal more memorable. Fellow journeyers keep you sane and help you laugh when you’d rather cry.

You also need to make time away from work and all the devices that tether us to it to pursue hobbies that bring you joy and make you a far more interesting person for your family and friends to be around. I love to run, to ride a motorcycle, photography, entertaining friends – these are a few of the things that bring me great pleasure and are simply meant to be experienced, not accomplished. I don’t think my husband married me because of my goal-orientation. He wanted to be with someone who was not only fun and interesting but a companion who could find the joy in a life together.


What do you hope to accomplish in your faith at work journey?

I never set out to build a big company, although it became far bigger than I ever dreamed. I just wanted it to be the best—in terms of expertise, naturally, and with a healthy balance sheet. But one that also made a difference for others, created value for its clients, and was in it for its employees and its community, too.

That has been my destination since I started Mitchell Communications 20 years ago. That is my “there.” To have this be my faith-at-work legacy would be one of the greatest accomplishments of my life, and something I continue to strive for every day.


Did you like what you learned here? If so, be sure to subscribe for more faith at work content. You can also join us at FUSE this Friday, Sept. 11, in Rogers, Ark., where she will share more about making the journey matter.


Elise Mitchell Headshot Nov 19 2012 030 Final PRINT ONLY Elise Mitchell 
CEO, Mitchell Communications Group
CEO, Dentsu Aegis Public Relations NetworkElise Mitchell is the CEO of Arkansas-based Mitchell Communications Group. She helped build Mitchell into one of the top 10 fastest-growing firms globally and a two-time agency of the year winner, honored by PRWeek and The Holmes Report. She has received numerous awards, including being named PRWeek Agency Public Relations Professional of the Year and a Top 50 Power Player in PR. Learn more about Elise here.