Baylor Line Preview: Why I Want to Be an Alumni-Elected Regent (with additional Q&A)

April 16, 2017

The Baylor Line Foundation invited the three candidates for the open Alumni-Elected Regent position to answer a series of questions about their backgrounds, the role of the Alumni-Elected Regent, and the challenges facing Baylor and what they bring to the table to help address those challenges.

The process for the election of three Alumni-Elected Regents was created as part of the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the university against the Baylor Alumni Association. Alumni-Elected Regents serve three-year terms, and the first group were assigned staggered one-, two- and three-year terms. Julie Turner was assigned the one-year term and is up for re-election.

The three candidates are:

  • Melissa Purdy Mines ‘90, Austin, Texas: Mines is the head of brand content for Cisco Systems. She also earned an M.B.A. and Master of Public Affairs from University of Texas in 1996.
  • Steve Mitchell ‘92, Tulsa, Oklahoma: Mitchell is CEO of Argonaut Private Equity, a private equity and venture capital with more than $2 billion under management. He also earned a J.D. from University of San Diego Law School in 1995.
  • Julie Hermansen Turner ’67. MSED ‘68, Dallas, Texas: Turner is a former full-time instructor at Baylor and several other institutions and a longtime community volunteer.

Here is a link to the article in the new issue of the Baylor Line, which should arrive in your mailbox later this month. But should your voting information arrive before then, here’s some additional information that may help you decide how to vote. Just click on this link

And here are some personal questions that we didn’t include in the article:

Melissa Mines

Which student organization/activity had the greatest impact on your professional journey and why?

Mines: Student Foundation had the biggest impact on my professional journey. Being trusted to go out and speak with and hear from alumni while raising money for scholarships for fellow students was an incredible gift. I learned the power of sharing stories and connecting at a human level with alumni in many different professions.

Mitchell: I was active in my fraternity and it was incredible to witness and participate with 100 young men attempting to operate as a solvent, responsible and productive organization both independent from the University but also within Baylor’s oversight. I learned how situations that looked like total chaos at times could be rectified though wisdom, vision and strong leadership.  I learned a great deal about leadership and group think, as well as when to speak and how to deliver a message as a part of that micro community. We made it work in all aspects of the fraternity experience- rush, pledge education, intramurals and social events, while never forgetting that we were at Baylor to get a world class education.  However, I can’t leave out my time as a Baylor Yell Leader.  In 1990-91, I served as the football ‘Mic Man’, charged with getting the student section, particularly the Baylor Line, fired up and into the game.  Spending time with the other yell leaders, traveling to away football games at places like Nebraska and being so close to the game on the field left me with some great memories.

Turner: This is a difficult question to answer unless I return to high school where I was elected the first female to be Student Body President of my high school. Perhaps this was the beginning of my leadership roles. At Baylor, I was elected to serve on Student Congress and in my professional and community life I have had many leadership positions.  I would assume that these combined circumstances have led to my desire to serve on the Board of Regents.

Steve Mitchell

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received (and from who)?

Mines: My best advice was from my father. He refused to have me blindly accept any belief or opinion because it came from him, my mother, my history or any institution. He pushed me to seek, to ask and to find because truth ultimately can withstand the questions we ask and it is always found when we step outside of ourselves and into the lives of others.

Mitchell: Happiness is not an outcome, it is a choice, regardless of the circumstance. And it is a choice you get to make every day.  My dad told me this whenever I whined or complained as a child.  It took a while for me to realize how right he was!

Turner: The best piece of advice would be that “anything worthwhile takes time”.

What lesson did you learn from your biggest personal or professional failure?

Mines: I’ve had many failures. They hurt, and my initial reaction has been to want to deny, hide or find ways to protect myself from the consequences. But each time I fail I realize there’s something to be learned. My biggest professional failure came early in my career. I was given a position that I wasn’t ready for and for which I lacked experience. My pride got in the way and when challenged I thought I had to fix it myself and have all of the answers. I interpreted asking for help as a sign of weakness. The harder I tried, the more I failed. And I did fail. It hurt and took time and some really good mentors for me learn that leadership is knowing how to build a team of diverse skills and experiences and to bring in others who are smarter and more capable than I am.

Mitchell: I learned that failures will occur.  Nobody bats 1,000.  But regardless of whether you are winning or losing, act with honor and integrity at every turn.  Nobody will give you a pass for your actions just because you were in a crisis. After every failure, take the time to ask yourself “What did I learn from that experience?”  I’ve learned far more through my failings than through my victories. And finally, get up off your back, wipe the blood, sweat and dirt off your face and get back into the fight!

Turner: Learn from it, make appropriate changes, forget it, and move on!

Julie Turner

How do you define success and has that definition changed over the years?

Mines: I suppose like others I admit I often have defined success by a series of fleeting ideals, largely shaped by what I suppose others wanted of me, or by my thinking that the end goal is money, prestige, recognition and the power that flows from such achieving these.  But the longer I live and the more I listen to the lives of others, success is being reshaped and refined. Success often happens when others don’t ever see it. It is found in the meaningful connections that I see when we step out of our comfort zones and into the lives of others. As cliché as it sounds, success is leaving this world a little nicer and more loving than when we entered.

Mitchell: Success means being able to spend my time doing the things that are important to me and not what someone else tells me I have to do.  That doesn’t necessarily mean financial independence; sometimes, it means having enough experience to recognize what’s worth an investment of time and what isn’t.   Clearly, my family and my faith are at the top of that list but as I’ve faced new and different challenges during my life, I’ve had to constantly re-evaluate what is important and how can I best invest my time in those things.

Turner: My definition of success has not changed over the years. I have never evaluated a person’s success by their material or financial standing. Success is being happy with yourself and happy with where you are in life and happiness is based on your relationship with God.

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