This story was written by Rawls Business Leader Michael Babick.
Angela Mitcham, vice president at Garrison Investments spoke with Rawls Business Leadership Program students on Friday, September 16. Utilizing stories from her professional, personal, and educational experiences, she discussed what leadership means to her.
After receiving a bachelor's in mathematics and minor in dance from Texas Tech University, Mitcham spent over 11 years in the sales, training, operations, and development of various limited service brand chains, including: Summerfield Suites, Residence Inn, Wyndham, and Marriott. Prior to her career at Garrison, Mitcham worked as vice president and hotel manager at the Gaylord Texan, a 1,500-room property, including 450,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, eight restaurants, a night club, spa, and pool/water park. During her time at the Texan, the hotel won numerous prestigious awards, such as Best Places to Work (multiple years), Most Creative Ideas for a Large Company, Best in Class Culture for Large Companies, Silver LEED Certification for new construction, Gold Key Meeting and Convention Award, Hottest New Night Club, AAA Four Star Award, and Most Environmentally Friendly Company.
In her current role as Garrison Investments, Mitcham's responsibilities include operational over site for acquisitions, sales, and financial performance for the hotel's assets. Some companies in Garrison's portfolio are Marriott, IHG, Hilton Starwood, and other independents.
During her time with RBLP students, Mitcham discussed the Million Dollar Hamburger Story, how to find a company you'll love to work for, how to get your employees to love the company they work for, and "Thank God You Fired Me."
The Million Dollar Hamburger Story highlights the importance of treating all customers and employees equally, in addition to ensuring that your organization is proactive at all times and ready to handle the task it may be presented with at any given time. In this case, a high profile guest visited the Gaylord Texan. Due to the organization's preparation and consideration for customers, they landed a million dollar deal. The guest made his decision to give the Texan the contract while chatting with a bartender that evening over a hamburger.
It is important that students who will soon be young professionals remember to look for a company they will be happy working for, as this is one of the keys to a successful career. Mitcham suggests a good way of finding these companies is by looking for and doing the following: "ask the bartender" or word of mouth, look for "best place to work" and "most innovative company" awards, exemplary training programs, and community involvement. It is also important to remember that without involvement employees have no buy in or interest.
Finally, Mitcham closed with "Thank God You Fired Me." She wants students to take the lessons of Captain Charlie Plumb, Harley and Davidson, Dan Patrick, Jack DeBoer, and herself. All of these individuals were either fired from their careers or had drastic career altering moments; all of these individuals were able to capitalize on these moments and move on to bigger and better things. Mitcham reminds students that being fired is an opportunity and not a hindrance, not to be a prisoner to their job, and do not provide anyone with a victim. A leader makes their own successful path in the world.
To view more photos of Angela Mitcham's time with RBLP, please visit the Rawls College's Flickr account.This supports the efforts outlined in the Rawls College of Business Strategic Plan. Learn more about the LEADER 2020 Strategic Plan and follow our progress on Twitter at #RawlsLeads.