Tony’s Story – A Lifetime of Transformation

Transformation has been a theme that has resonated throughout Tony Mitchell’s life, literally since birth. Given up for foster care by his birth mother as a newborn, Tony was in the foster care system for two years before being adopted by a caring yet impoverished family.

His parents stressed the importance of hard work and perseverance. His family managed to meet almost all of their needs from what was produced on their small farm, leading Tony to define “wealthy” as being able to buy anything from a store.

Through hard work and determination, Tony overcame his disadvantaged background, becoming the only member of his family to go to college and earn a degree. In sociology class, Tony says, the instructor taught about “classes” in society, noting rarely does anyone from a generation rise more than one or two class levels above the previous generation. “To be honest, that was the first time I realized the level of poverty I was in and the tremendous challenge it would be to get out of poverty” Tony recalls.

How, then, does someone from such a disadvantaged background not only earn an honors degree in accounting and become a CPA, but advance to hold a number of C-level positions with prestigious corporations, as well as serve on boards of companies and non-profit organizations?

Through transformation.

For Tony this process took on several forms, including such simple steps as learning how to properly use silverware at a dinner table, listen carefully in personal conversations and business meetings, and to build a stronger, professional vocabulary. His path to transformation included gaining understanding of the differences between a non-business vs. business environment, black vs. white culture, and rural vs. urban settings.

From childhood, he found himself asking, “How am I going to fit into this new environment?” Later, as a professional Tony adapted that question to, “How will our business fit into a new environment?” The result has been a process of constant transformation, not only in his personal life but also his professional pursuits. Now he is applying decades of growth and experience in helping others – both corporately and individually – discover the benefits and rewards of ongoing, intentional transformation.

“Growing up, I learned being ‘just like everybody else’ isn’t a requirement. At least it doesn’t have to be. The challenge becomes finding out how to be relevant in a new environment”

Growing up on a farm, in the country, taught him important principles about the transformation process. “You have to know where you are, where you want to go, and ultimately, how you’re going to get there. You also need markers that show where you have been so you can orient yourself to where you’re going. Without those markers, it’s easy to get lost.”

In this process, he has discovered four critical transformation steps:

1) Vision. “For me, that meant getting out of poverty. In eighth grade my teacher said I was good at math, so I studied the subject even harder, knowing it was my ticket out.” In a business context, this has meant clearly defining what the organization wants to be when it “grows up.”

2) People and relationships. “You can have the greatest vision, but it won’t achieve anything without people. Relationships are what help bring the vision into reality. A lot of great people helped me along the way.”

3) Strategy. “You can have the best vision, and work with the best people, but you still won’t get anywhere without a sound strategy – and that’s true whether you’re a company or an individual. From the time I entered college and then the professional world, I followed a very specific, well-thought-out strategy for transforming my life, and the organizations where I’ve served.”

4) Execution. “Even with great vision, people and strategy, if you don’t execute the plan, you’re wasting your time. You’ve got to have results. This is true in both life and business.”

How does Tony’s experience help you?

You gain the benefit of Tony’s remarkable life and career experience. Tony is passionate about helping you achieve a rewarding and successful transformation – in business and in life. “I’ve been blessed, and that’s why I am focused on giving back and helping others.”

Contact Tony