Connie Newman Mitchell
Business Administration (1972)
Not much holds Connie Newman Mitchell back from achieving her goals. Growing up in Enid, Okla., Mitchell was determined to graduate from high school in three years. Between riding the school bus 20 miles to Carrier, Okla., each day and leading the Carrier High School girls basketball team, many students wouldn’t have been able to achieve this goal. But Mitchell did – and as a result, she earned a full scholarship to attend her Quaker church college. The day of graduation, her coach and superintendent refused to award her the high school diploma she had earned because they wanted her to stay another year to play sports. Determined to attend college that fall as planned she persuaded the college to admit her without her official diploma.
This was one of many displays of determination and resilience demonstrated by Mitchell over the course of her academic and professional career. Within four years, she married her next door neighbor Joe Mitchell, paid her way through school, and graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in business administration, plus certifications to teach English, history, and business on secondary and college levels.
Reflecting on lessons learned during her time at OSU, Mitchell notes the importance of learning to account for every penny through proper costing strategy. She recalls specific advice from OSU business professor and golf coach Labron Harris to dress for the position you want and not the one you have. Also, “Dean Richard Poole’s leadership example was to be available to students. He frequented business school common areas where he would introduce himself and offer students advice on a broad range of topics,” she says.
After teaching Business Accounting and Finance for 15 years, Mitchell and her husband started a company with five friends. Ultimately, Mitchell would serve as Chief Administrative Officer, International Board Member, and subsidiary President of their multi-billion dollar company which employed 8500 employees globally. Under Mitchell’s leadership, the company was named national recipient of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Technology and Communications.
Mitchell has now retired from the company and has assumed the title “Nana.” The Mitchells live on their Ten Triple X (10xXx) Ranch in Glen Rose, Texas. From the scenic 10,000-acre ranch, she contemplates her priorities and her passions.
“We have helped over 100 students obtain higher education degrees through philanthropic support and promoting programs in our various businesses. We start as mentors and then become so interested in our students’ success that they become like part of our family.”