Innovation and Leadership in 21st Century Media

Nov 16, 2012

So you want to be an innovator and a leader: How can you make your internship/job application stand out? How can you use social media to develop your own leadership skills and to mentor others? Get some tips and out-of-the-box ideas from this hands-on discussion with Doug Mitchell.


JENNIFER OTTERSON MOLLICK: Good evening. My name is Jennifer Otterson Mollick, and I would like to welcome you all to tonight’s Carnegie New Leaders program with Doug Mitchell.

Before we begin, I would like to introduce tonight’s moderator, Sylvana Rochet-Belleri. Sylvana is the associate director of programs for the Flying Eye Hospital [FEH] at ORBIS International in New York. She focuses on developing sustainable processes and tools to maximize the impact of the FEH’s capacity-building and medical training programs, while strengthening relationships with partners in developing countries. Sylvana was previously with the American Cancer Society, where she led public health campaigns and capacity-building initiatives in North Africa, Latin America, and Sweden.

Sylvana, thank you for moderating tonight. I will now hand the floor over to you.

SYLVANA ROCHET-BELLERI: Thank you, Jennifer. Good evening.

I'm going to introduce our very special speaker, Doug Mitchell. Doug Mitchell is a consultant and project manager at National Public Radio, NPR, and a career coach at He is also chairman of the National Association of Black Journalists Media Institute. Mitchell has worked at NPR for 21 years, mostly as a producer and director for each of the organization’s national news magazines.

In 2000, he founded NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a hands-on media training program targeting college students. Mitchell was previously a Knight International Press Fellow, a grantee for the U.S. State Department Visiting Professor Program, and a 2007 William S. Fulbright scholar. Each of the fellowships was to Santiago, Chile, where he helped launch an Internet radio station.

Doug, through the lens of working with young people who have impacted the direction of media in the 21st century, let’s hear your thoughts on developing a new generation of leaders. Tell us about what has changed today in the way that leaders get developed, where they’re coming from.


DOUG MITCHELL: Thank you, Sylvana, and thank you to the Carnegie Council for inviting me here today.

I want to start out by putting something back on you. This is a discussion about leadership. I’m going to see what kind of leaders you are.

There’s a question I want you to answer. This came from a colleague of mine at the Online News Association. He’s based in Washington, D.C. As it says here, he’s writing a blog post for students, and he wants to feature five to ten industry leaders. So here’s the question I want you each to answer:

With internship and scholarship deadlines quickly approaching, what’s the number one thing students can do to make their application stand out?

Now, I’ve been answering this kind of question for a long time. There are a million answers. He wants one. I’m going to actually go around the table. I want you to tell me, if you were doing the hiring, if you were in charge of a program and you were looking for a certain kind of person, what’s something that you would actually look for in an application?

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: The number one thing I would look for is someone who clearly wrote an application for my program, that was really tailored to the description that I had put out and really spoke to what we were looking for.

DOUG MITCHELL: So you’re interested in the narrative part of it.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Right, and that there’s a narrative fit and match and thought behind that, for me.

DAN BOBKOFF: That is mostly what I was going to say. I do think that there is a sort of balance in knowing the audience that you are applying to and maybe even communicating to them when appropriate. And if you have some sort of connection and you actually understand what they are doing and you can connect what you want to do to what they do, they might understand why you would be a good fit. Otherwise, it’s sort of like the common app for colleges, where you’re just changing the words. I think most employers now can see through that.

DOUG MITCHELL: So the one thing is what?

DAN BOBKOFF: The one thing is to know your audience and be able to tell them why you fit there and you can add something there.

ANNE CASTELLANI: I guess in my line of workI do public international lawit would be language skills, because that’s such an important aspect of what we do. We do a lot of work in the Middle East and North Africa.

But as a general matter, I think, depending on the experience level, I would look for someone who has been at a place for a little while. I think in this day and age, people move around so often. I think it’s good to have an opportunity where someone can really develop skills in one environment.

EDDIE MANDHRY: One I would suggest is for them to be able to demonstrate critical thinking skills, critical analysis, being able to look at things from different perspectives. Kind of connected to that is having a global competencyso knowing what’s happening, not just within their own environment, but around the world.

REZA AFSHAR: I’ll just keep it really simple and say enthusiasm has to jump off the page, I think, with anything you do. It’s important to tailor things to the audience. It’s important to show that you know what the job is about, et cetera, and that you have thought about all of that. But all of that is kind of derivative of having enthusiasm for the job. You need to see that someone is really keen on it and is willing to give their all.

DIANA SANTANA: To back up that, direct experience of what you have done and how it relates to what we need, having that clearly outlined. I’m somewhat of an advocate of going for competency résumés rather than historical résumés. Then, instead of having your work history listed as chronological order, go ahead and pick out the main skills necessary for the role and show exactly what you have done for those particular skills and what your achievements have been that relate directly to that.

BRETT BUCHNESS: In my case, I’m primarily looking for someone who truly has demonstrated outside-the-box thinking. Certainly, people come from all different walks of life. They may or may not have been able to travel internationally, for example. But in everyone’s situation, everyone has problems. Every community faces problems. For me, it would be how you would go about fixing those problems that is not just what is currently being done.

I really think that a lot needs to be changed in the way that we’re tackling problems, because more of the same isn’t really fixing a lot of the problems we face, not just domestically, but internationally. Personally, when I’m hiring, I’m always looking for that outside-the-box thinking element. Even if the ideas are not necessarily feasible, I like that element of a candidate, because I think eventually they are going to strike gold on some idea.

NOAH KLINGER: I spent a very tense summer applying for work, sending out about 200 applications and having 30 interviews, before receiving an offer.

It struck me that all the people who are hiring want to feel special and want to feel like you’re just the right person for the job, whereas you, as a person who needs a job, want a job that you can tolerate that you think you would be good at. So there’s a bit of a mismatch in expectations on either side.

I think the most important thing is just being able to articulate how your goals, experience, personality fit in with what they are looking for.

LIANA STERLING: I guess I agree with everything that has been said. What I would add is that I think demonstrating true curiosity is really important, and I think it’s lacking. Often I interview candidates, and there is not that “tell me” or “why this,” “why that.” I think that’s really important.

The other thing I would add is focus, the ability to really spend time thinking about a problem and wrestling with the fact that it’s complicated and the solutions are not readily apparent. We live in a very fast-paced time. I think people are used to the idea of multitasking. I think that focus and dwelling is still really importantspending that time, being able to have your mind focused on something for a while.

VASILEIOS KANELLOPOULOS: I’m originally from Greece, so probably I’m the first and the only non-American in the room. The number one thing for me would be cultural understanding. It took me a couple of years to understand the nuances of the American society and try to find my way into American society. So the number one thing is in today’s world, the 21st century, where everything is so interconnected, we need to think globally, not locally. You need to make your ideas and your messages cross throughout different cultures and backgrounds, number one.

Number two is what Brett said, the out-of-the-box thinking. For me, I would say more like innovation. One of my personal motives, what I’m thinking about every single day, is not where the hockey puck is, but where the hockey puck will go in the future. So we need to think in terms of the future, of the 21st century and the next decades.

The third one is pragmatism. Sometimes especially folks of my ageI’m 25 years oldtend to think of the terms of Plato’s realm of idealism, what we would like the world to be, and not as it is right now. Sometimes we need to think of the tools we have in front of us and how we are going to act on major global issues.

MARY-ROSE ABRAHAM: This might seem kind of silly, but for me, spelling and grammar are huge. I have seen a few applications where something is misspelled or the wrong tense is used. I have to say teeny-tiny little points disappeared because of that. Perhaps it’s not the number one thing in everyone’s book, but for me, it’s something important.

JENNIFER OTTERSON MOLLICK: I would have to say, if these are students applying for scholarships and internshipsI understand that, as you mentioned, many people don't have access to international experience, to travel abroad, but if they are still in a position where they can take advantage of it, I would encourage them to do it while they are in school, to study abroad, to take advantage of internships abroad. I would want to see that on a résumé in the future, because I think international travel, an international city can’t help but change your perspective on the world.

SYLVANA ROCHET-BELLERI: I would say everything that everybody has said, and I would maybe addthis is hard to put in a letter or in a CV sometimesanything in their personal life that is unique. If your parents were not doing well financially and you had to put yourself through university, or if you are from Bulgaria and you applied for a crazy scholarship that only five people in the world get and you got to go study in Europe because of your personal, unique characteristics, that is something worth noting, and you should bring that up, to stand out.

DOUG MITCHELL: Great answers from everyone. You all, I’m sure, will be hiring. If you’re not doing it already, like some of you are, I think you’ll be doing it soon.

Thank you all for helping me answer that question, because I have until Thursday to write him back.

There’s one signature question I would ask. This person had to lead 40 to 50 overachievers. Everybody was top of their class at their school, and now you’re around 40 or 50 other people who were at the top of their class. The person who had to lead that group had to have a narrative, for me, so that I knew something about them. There was one question I would always ask them.

I would say, “Tell me about the most difficult thing you have had to decide in your life. And are you still comfortable with that decision today?”

Depending on how they answered that question is whether they got hired.

Interestingly enoughthis is all hindsightof the 15 different executive producers I hired, 13 were women. It was very interesting. When there was an opportunity to step up, the women stepped up and the guys did not, which I thought was very interesting.

I got that email about an hour-and-a-half ago. So I decided, “Let me just throw that out there and see what would happen.”

So the new paradigm on leadership: I want to have a conversation about the election. I got this from The New York Times. I have to use the attribution [shows a series of slides].

One of the great things I noticed about the election is that, with all the data mining that’s going on, the chance to figure out where the next generation is coming from, where the next new leaders are coming from, is really actually quite simple. As you can see, we have more women voting than men. That has been a trend for quite a while. This is from 2008 to 2012, but that has been a trend for quite a while.

I thought this was also interesting. You have slightly higher numbers of younger people voting. Thirty to 44 went down, people in my age group went up, and then seniors remained the same.

You remember all the commercials where they talked about “seniors this and seniors this and seniors this,” but the voting numbers never changed. So was the emphasis right? Was the emphasis wrong? Should we focus on younger people? Younger people didn’t get talked about very much, did they? I don't remember.

Single men, single womena large increase in each.

Clearly, whites are still the largest proportion of those voting, but the numbers are shrinking. African Americans were about the same, and they say that Asians and Hispanics were the ones who carried the day.

So tomorrow’s leaders: Younger, female, unmarried, and soon non-whitenot today, but soon.

This was another article: "No longer your father’s electorate,” which means it’s not your father’sor your grandfather’s, I guess, in your caseit’s not your grandfather’s leadership development anymore.

For you, how do you get there? I write a blog on Knowledgewebb, as Sylvana pointed out. I’m going to walk through a couple of things here.

I talk about the jagged résumé. We talked about out-of-the-box thinking just now. To me, there needs to be an out-of-the-box résumé, too. I focus mostly on medianot so much journalism, but mostly media. But I do try to write things in a way that they apply to just about anybody. I think today, especially with the upheaval that happened in the economy, if you show me a résumé where you have gone here, then here, and then here and then here and then here, if I can see that you are actually moving in some direction, other than just laterally, that’s okay. I think many employers are going to be forgiving of that.

I have three jobs that I work. But that’s okay, too. It really depends on what it is that you’re working on and also that you have an understanding of what you are applying for. If those skill sets are working for you, I think the chances are going to be higher that you will be able to find people who have a variety of skills that can fit inside the culture of your business.

Also a big trend is that there are people who are deciding not to go work for the big, monster company that has you sitting in a cube and you have to report to 30 people and they have this order in which they do everything. There are people who are walking away from that. Some are pushed, but some are walking away, and they are owning their own decisions. They are deciding, for example, to start their own company, start their own business. They call them entrepreneurs. They need to find money like everybody else, but they are more inclined to own and develop.

Another part of this is, what is your ecosystem? Who belongs in your system? Who doesn’t belong there? I think LinkedIn is a great place to really connect with people. It’s 150 million, 175 million people there. Somebody’s doing something right. I think it’s much more effective than any other social network. It has really grown. You can join groups there, too.

Who are your references? Who are the people that support you? Who are the people that, when you need somebody to say something to you or for you, you will listen to?

There are a couple of other things I wrote down here: "Openly discuss mutual interests and challenge conventional thinking." There’s a phrase that says, “When thinking becomes conventional, it needs to be challenged.”

Number two: Provide some form of friendship or support, respectfully discuss and even disagree on some thingsa lost art form these days, to be sure. In fact, this afternoon my dad started a political discussion on Facebook with somebody who’s a rock-hard Republican. They got all worked up and he got out. I thought, well, that’s not helpful. You’re not doing anything other than starting a fire. My parents are all into politics. It’s over; you can stop now.

Distributed information is sharing. A lot of the social networks are talking about sharing information. I think you should, as much as possible, and also connect to people for one another’s mutual gain.

Evolving and fluid networks: There are companies that still have ascension, which means the CEO decides to step down, the person who is number two becomes number one, the person who is number three becomes that. But I think, with all the new companies that are out there, you have one person who is going to be leading, but then everything else is going to bubble up from under.

Who do I follow on Twitter? These are the people I follow:

  • I don't know if you have heard of Brazen Careerist. She’s a blogger. She writes really long blogs, and they are very personal. She puts all her business out there, which I would never do. But it works for her, because there’s always a narrative, there’s always an understanding. I like people who share what it is that they have learned about lifenot just about work, but also about life.

  • The Atlantic. I have been a subscriber for many, many years to the magazine, and now they have really understood that they can actually push stuff out over Twitter. I actually read it more effectively now by finding the link on my Twitter feed than I do the actual magazine, which comes, I think, every two months.

  • Montgomery County superintendent of schools. I have teenagers in high school. We just got a new superintendent, and he immediately got on Twitter. He tweets in the morning, which I thought, "What? Oh, okay." I don't really send him any questions, but I like the fact that here’s a guy whohe didn’t have to set up a Twitter account. Usually a county superintendent is so afraid of ticking anybody off that he won’t. But he does. And I actually like that.

  • Celeste Headlee is a fill-in host at NPR. She used to be co-host of The Takeaway at WNYC. She was a student of mine. She tweets constantly, and she is very opinionateda little more so than she really should be. But that’s okay.

  • The Web Journalist is a guy I know through the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He’s such a geek. I don’t know half of what he’s talking about. He has a web chat that he does every Wednesday at 8:00 PM Eastern time. It’s a Twitter chat. He posts a question: "Question 1: What’s the next coolest tool for data visualization?" Everybody throws their answers out. There’s no organization to it whatsoever, other than they post a question. He has probably a few hundred people on there, and they are all answering at the same time. I hosted one of those one time. It was maddening, because I’m not used to that. I’m used to some order. Anyway, he’s a guy that I follow and I really enjoy watching it.

I follow them because I believe them. They are credible. They challenge conventional thinking. I’m forced to challenge my own thinking. And lots of other people are there, too. So I must be following the right people.


EDDIE MANDHRY: Thank you very much for a really compelling presentation. I just want to piggyback on something you mentioned, a question that you tend to ask a lot of people you work with: What is the challenge that you have overcome in your career in trying to achieve what you have achieved?

DOUG MITCHELL: So you’re asking me that question. I didn’t expect that question.

I would say, fundamentally, I always want to have fun with what I’m doing. I think it's really important to have fun. I think it’s important to have joy in work. Finding joy in work and lifeI have found that they blend together.

The big challenge is, with everything that has changedand I’m in media, so with everything that has changed there, the biggest challenge has been to make sure that I grow, I learn, I have fun, and I bring people with me. What I mean by that is that when I get an opportunity to do somethingI always say one good turn deserves another.

So whatever I can do to pay it forward, if I can help anybody else, chances are it’s going to turn around in some sort of return. We call it a return on investment. There’s no money exchanged. It’s all good will.

To sum it up, I would say I always want to make sure that I’m enjoying what I’m doing and I’m learning something and also doing things for other people.

DAN BOBKOFF: One thing I struggled with at the beginning of my career was the balance of being modest and also self-promoting. There’s this whole culture of social media and Brazen Careerist. I think I sometimes veer too much into saying "thanks" and not challenging people. Where is that balance, when it comes to cover letters or talking with superiors, of not seeming too, shall we say, timid or trying too hard and saying "thanks" too much, but also not being so full of yourself that you believe you’re going to be the boss next week, which seems to be a problem with people under 30?

DOUG MITCHELL: I would say the best place to practice is to join a couple of meet-up groups. I would go on a regular basis. I remember when I got my first fellowship and I went to Chile. My Spanish was not great. So I decided, I’m just going to go out and I’m going to sound stupid, and the only way to overcome that is to just sound stupid. After a few weeks, I was fine. I got better after that and got better after that.

The more rehearsal that you get, the more people you stand in front of, the more that you get your pitch“So, Dan, tell me about yourself.” Or the second questionthere’s a blog post I wrote about the second question, which I hate, because in Washington it’s all about the second question. They make decisions on you based on how you answer: “So what do you do?”

When they say, “So, Doug, what do you do?” I say, “Here’s what I’m working on,” because I prefer to cast it that way. I work on things. I don't do things.

If you can frame and practice, practice, practiceif you can frame it as to what you’re working on and things that interest you, I think you’ll be fine. But you have to practice. Go to as many meet-ups as you possibly can stand and work on, as I call itbring some hand sanitizer with you. We’re getting into the cold weather now. And just practice. You’ll be fine.

The radio thing is very helpful, I think, because you know how to talk, not just into a microphone, but you know how to present yourself to people. You mostly don't have them there when you’re talking into the microphone, but I think if you can channel that ability to talk into a microphone and deliver a story, you’ll be fine.

DAN BOBKOFF: A quick follow-up. The question I have is, at what point do you stop just being thankful for anything that comes your way and having the ability to challenge people more without seeming, as I said, like you’re getting a little too big for your britches? Where’s that balance when you are above internship, but just starting outfor somebody maybe in the first year of their career?

DOUG MITCHELL: I was laid off from my job in 2008. I said "yes" to everything in the first six months. Then I realized that I had spent a lot of years building a network. After about six to eight months, all these phone calls started showing up; again, social networking. You’ve got to let people know that you’re out there. You don't have to pepper them with “Anything yet?” “Anything yet?” “Anything yet?” You don't have to do that. I think if you use LinkedIn, have yourself out there, and then postyou should be tweeting. You should be active. You should be alive. You shouldn’t be tweeting, “So I’m having a glass of wine right now.”

You should also be following people who are interesting. I listed those people who I follow. I think they are really, really interesting people, for different reasons.

There’s no real one answer to it, I guess is what I’m saying. I think you have to find a comfort level that only works for you. But still, there is a line. My line is very different from your line. But you have to find a place where you are comfortable with who you are and what you do, and you are having a great time doing it. It will show when you go to the meet-up and you talk to people.

REZA AFSHAR: I don't think this is a very helpful question, but Eddie whetted my appetite a bit. I wasn’t sure whether he wanted you to answer the question that you were asking candidates. What is the most difficult decision you have ever had to make? Would you make that decision now?

I just want to hear someone answer that question.

DOUG MITCHELL: You really want to hear it? I had to tell my wife her mother died. You asked.

It’s not whether you do or not. It’s how you tell that. And you don't get any rehearsal in that. You really don't. And I'm comfortable with how I did that, yes.

DIANA SANTANA: My question is more about your role. Being the leader, you hire people to come in, but you’re also a part within the bigger organization. When you hire young people, they are interacting with digital media in ways that probably the leadership in the organization is not necessarily comfortable with, that they are not interacting with. How do you bring young people in or other colleagues in that have great ideas of how to use digital media in an interesting way that you think might be effective, but there’s a risk in that? How do you convince the rest of the organization to take that risk?

DOUG MITCHELL: Two answers. One is that I’m the agent. I’m sure my former interns can tell you that I have made a career ofwhen they send me an email that they have an idea and they want to do this, that, or the other, I write right back, because they are part of a group of people that I mentor. I think everybody needs an agent.

The second thing is thatABC maybe excludedthe media companies have gotten rid of so many people. The drive for digital is so pervasive now that I don't think, if you bring in somebody young, they are going to get squashed by somebody my age or older just simply because they’re just a little kid. I don't think so.

The biggest challenge is having younger people move into leadership positions with no training, with no ability or support“Well, you’re digital, right? You’re 30, right? Yeah, you know digital. So go do that thing, digital.”

That’s not helpful, and I think that’s where you have a lot of turnover. There are people I know who stay two years and then, “I see the grass is greener over there. I’m going to go over there.” I don't think that’s necessarily a slight against the company, even though it may be. I think it’s that everybody wants to scale. They want to move around, have that jagged résumé, and move up and demonstrateand stay happy in their work. I’ve read everything about Generation X and Y. They want to be happy, feel like they are adding value to something.

My dad taught biochemistry for 43 years in the same university. They’re still in the same house I grew up in. That was his generation. It is no longer that way.

Does that answer your question?


DOUG MITCHELL: I have a habit of doing this. Please feel free to follow up.

DIANA SANTANA: The other element is just if you’re in a risk-averse organization.

DOUG MITCHELL: Would you join a risk-averse organization?

DIANA SANTANA: Yes, I work for one, government, actually.

I have worked in the private sector, and I think the private sector is absolutely very much about innovation, creative thinking, outside-the-box thinking. But when you’re dealing with governmentI think Rachel Haot, for instance, when you talk about bringing in someone new, someone young, that was a great thing that I think the mayor did, bringing in someone so young and so fresh and very good at doing digital media.

But at the same time, when you’re talking about the mayor of the city of New York, he’s open to that.

DOUG MITCHELL: He’s different, though.

DIANA SANTANA: Yes. But there are other government offices that may not be so

DOUG MITCHELL: That’s why I think it’s on you and I mean “you” generally. That’s why I ask you, why join an apparatus?

DIANA SANTANA: I do think it’s a slow development within government. I think people are looking at it, possibly, asthey see it happening around them, but it’s just harder to, I think, implement those types of changes.

DOUG MITCHELL: It is. It definitely is.

DIANA SANTANA: I think this is something that has been of interest to me, to see how you can use the tools that they are comfortable with and try to make, little by little, that type of change.

DOUG MITCHELL: I think within an organization you have to find who the advocates are. They are not all going to be 30. Some of them may be 51. I think if you can find those people within it, you create your own advocacy group. You don't have to pound drums and pans and things like that. But I think most leaders currentlyagain I’ll talk about mediamost leaders of mediathings are changing so quickly, I think they might even welcome a collection of people sitting down with them and saying, “Here’s where things are. How can we help? We can help this organization. We can help you move into this area. I have an idea. Can you let us try it?”

I think NPR is becoming that way.

ANNIE CASTELLANI: I have a question about LinkedIn. This is a little bit of an ongoing discussion within the organization I work with. What are your thoughts on endorsements? There’s a big movementget as many endorsements as you can. Who knows who that person is who’s endorsing them to begin with? Do you think they are important? Would you evaluate who it is who is actually endorsing?

DOUG MITCHELL: They changed it. You used to have to ask: “I’m in this job. Can you talk about my experiences when I was in this part of my résumé?”

Now they have this feature that comes up and says “Endorse.” Each person has gone through and said, “I’m good at this, this, this, this, this, and this.” So this blanket thing comes up and you can endorse. You can click “All” and you can endorse them for everything. Then it says all these other people you’re connected to and you can endorse them. It’s crap, I think.


DOUG MITCHELL: An endorsement isit’s nice to see them. I have lots of them. But it’s kind of like, what’s that all about?

I would say, one, I don't put a lot of stock in it. I think it's good to have people who wrote you an endorsement. I think that’s more important than this randomit’s like a reference. If you have thoseyou don't need a thousand of them, like me, but you can have a few of them in a particular area, and that way, if they are looking at you, they can go to that person and contact them and say, “I noticed you referred so-and-so. Tell me a little bit more about them.”

The random stuff that they are doing now I put no stock in.

BRETT BUCHNESS: I play ice hockey, and five years ago I played for a team out of Hoboken. I had this wacky, wacky coach, who works in the insurance industry. I can tell you, I have not spoken with him in five years. The other day he endorsed me for fixed-income bond management. I didn’t even know he knew that I did that.

At what point does the number of endorsements become giving someone or not giving someone a job based on how many Facebook friends they have?

DOUG MITCHELL: I don't think anybody of any salt would look at how many people follow me on Facebook and how many people I have on LinkedIn and say, “Oh, god, I’ve got to hire that guy.” No. Unless you’re doing public relations or some field where it is important for you to have a very wide and large networkit is to me, but I don't connect to people I’ve never met, and I would not accept an endorsement from somebodyactually, no. Anybody who is endorsing, it doesn’t mean anything.

You could thank him. And you can take away that endorsement if you want to. It is your account. If somebody endorses you and it looks silly, then get rid of it.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: Obviously I know Doug well. But one thing that I have always been impressed about you and would love your insights on is that you are very good at kind of keeping your finger on the pulse of social media and everything that is evolving in the field

DOUG MITCHELL: I’m a nerd.

JULIA TAYLOR KENNEDY: But I think that a lot of people can get complacent. As we sort of mature in our careers, what advice you have for us to stay relevant and not get complacent?

DOUG MITCHELL: I think, one, if there’s an example out there that you can follow, you follow them. But I also think it’s important for you to set an example. I don't think complacency is an issue with anybody at this table. I think you all are very active.

But again I’ll go back to, who are you bringing with you? Who are you mentoring? You guys are interested in leadership. You’re all interested in leadership. Who are you leading? It doesn’t have to be an organized group, but if you have people who are, I’ll say, close to you professionally, is there one person that you are talking to, checking their accounts, checking their social media? If they are not spelling something properly, are you sort of like, “That’s not spelled properly. You might want to fix that.”

Going through one or two people’s accounts and résumés and making sure that they are okayI just do that all the time. But they are people I know.

I would actually put it back and say, what are you doing to help out other people? I think that’s how you can stay relevant, because then it will become important to you to stay up with what’s going on, on behalf of someone else.

SYLVANA ROCHET-BELLERI: Thank you, Doug, for sharing these insights with us that are based on your experience, but that apply across the board to all of us. Thank you for taking the time and being here with us tonight.

DOUG MITCHELL: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

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