William “Bill” M. Mitchell has climbed the ladder of success and served in top leadership roles at major brands in the food service industry through traits honed during his military experience. His military journey started with UNG’s Corps of Cadets and aided in his decision to serve his country.
“I think it was learning servant leadership, being in the Corps of Cadets, learning how to lead, follow or get out of the way,” the 1986 UNG alumnus said. “The school was small but offered tremendous opportunities from a leadership perspective that truly prepared me for being a solid Army officer.”
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree, Mitchell served in the U.S. Army. His experience as an Army officer and being a key member of the Corps of Cadets developed qualities of structure and discipline that aided him in business.
“Those principles that I’ve taken in military leadership I’ve applied in business,” he said.
His business acumen has seen him lead three well-known food businesses. In May 2018, Mitchell became CEO of Cici Enterprises. Before that, he served as the president of Dunkin’ Brands International at Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. and Dunkin’ Donuts LLC, where he managed some 8,500 stores in 60 countries. Mitchell also previously worked at Papa John’s International in multiple positions ranging from senior vice president of domestic operations to president of global operations.
In his current role with Cici Enterprises, a company founded in 1985 that has 430 restaurants, Mitchell hopes to utilize the tools gained from other organizations to grow the brand.
“I believe we can transform the entire brand into a new image in three years or less, and we can grow it very quickly,” he said.
Mitchell hit the ground running. He passed an operational test given to him by one of the Cici Enterprises restaurants.
“I thoroughly believe you need to learn the business from the ground up,” he said. “I’ve held multiple departmental responsibilities, but nothing has been more important to me than running one restaurant.”
As a keynote speaker for one of UNG’s spring 2018 commencement ceremonies, Mitchell wanted students to understand the importance of practical leadership tactics and how his military experience correlated with success in the corporate world. He emphasized three main points: owning the heart, the mind and the wallet.
Mitchell stressed the significance of owning the heart of a business’s constituents and how a successful business is a chain reaction beginning with the consumer. He also emphasized owning the mind of stakeholders and constituents, which he describes as being “technically and tactically proficient. The first thing I’ve done in every company I’ve worked at is asked to run a restaurant.”
Lastly, he stressed the importance of remembering the wallet. He described his responsibilities when it comes to finances. “In-store sales, new units and earnings,” he said. “Those three things have to act in concert to get premium value for your investors.”