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Name: Deborah Joyce Mitchell

Business: Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, a multi-media management company

Industry: Arts & Entertainment, Other — TV Production and Social Media Management 

Location: New York, New York, U.S.

Reason for starting: May 2015 will mark five years since I was terminated from CBS network, a sudden end to a successful 25-year career in daily television. I was thrown into a whole new world of communicating. Communicating in a language of the social & digital media arena that I didn’t understand but had to learn, fast. I knew it was time for a career change, a time to create a life that was manageable where I could still use my producing skills and have a more balanced life. Television news is a lot of things and manageable is not one of them. Your life is not your own. Social media was the answer. I quickly understood that social media was going to change the way we communicate and do business.

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How do you define success? I define success as having control over my professional destiny. I’ve made lots of money but had limited control of my life. Getting fired unexpectedly was a perfect example. Success is loving my job, career or business so much that you would do it for free. Yes, free. I was fortunate as a new college grad to meet Oprah Winfrey, who told me to make sure to be passionate about whatever I do. And years later, I have to agree with her. When you are building a business, the money doesn’t come right away. Just like producing a television show you have to look at the big picture and work hard to put all the elements in place. Over time, you will see the production come together. There is a lot of sweat equity that goes into building a company.

Biggest Success: My biggest success to date is to look up five years after leaving CBS and still be in the grind of building a business. There have been days when I wanted to walk away from the grind. But realized that I prefer to invest my hard work into Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, something that I own, and no one can take away from me. Unless, they want to buy it (hahaha).

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What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My top challenge is money to fund my entrepreneurial pursuit. When I decided to hang out the Deborah Mitchell Media Associates shingle after losing my long-term job a few years ago, I knew that I would have to fund my business. Since I do not come from a family with money, my years of savings and investments were going to have to do. For me, that money included my savings account, a few stocks, and my 401(k). Now that the company is up and running, I think about growing the company and ways to continue funding it.

Who is your most important role model? My important role model is Rita, my mom. As I child I watched Rita start more than one brick and mortar businesses that didn’t thrive the way she had hoped. But she never gave up and always encouraged my brother and myself to have a business. Of course, I didn’t listen to her and chose a career in television. Thirty years later, I finally started a business. So the seed was planted at a young age. Mom is very happy now!

Twitter   @SocialTVDeb 

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Edited by The Story Exchange