Frances Cannon Mitchell – 20 Under 40

The Compass School of Texas

36 | Education: SMU and eCornell University

Frances Cannon Mitchell started her career as a financial analyst at ExxonMobil before joining her husband in Istanbul, Turkey, where she worked in accounting and back-office support for a start-up oil field service company.

After moving to London and then back to Dallas, she transitioned into human resources, supporting 13 operating companies domestically and internationally.

Now, she serves as a founding board member of The Compass School of Texas, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, independent school located on West Northwest Highway.

“As a mom, we will do anything for our kids, and as it turns out, that means even being a part of starting a school that we believe will inspire future leaders, resilient and kind people, and analytical thinkers,” Mitchell said.

She’s part of the school alongside Francis Harrison (also a 20 Under 40 honoree) and Caroline Harrison Loehr.

 “I joined (my) longtime friends … to help build a scholastic program in the heart of Dallas focused on an engaging and wholesome academic education,” Mitchell said. 

Mitchell also volunteers with Park Cities Presbyterian Church on the production team of the podcast Deep Light, the Cox Alumni Board at SMU, and the Highland Park Alumni Association Board. 

Her involvement also includes Kappa Kappa Gamma. She is co-chairing its Oct. 15 Kappa Tablescapes event with her two best friends: “This is an event that annually raises over $200,000 for amazing local nonprofit organizations doing incredible work across the community.”

What’s a fun fact that someone wouldn’t know about you? 

In my next life, I want to be a neuroscientist. The brain is so fascinating!

What was your “lightbulb moment” that led you to your career? 

I resigned from my corporate role and went through an executive management course called Stagen, where I learned a lot of powerful tools, including defining my personal values and writing my life’s purpose statement through a lot of work and coaching. My purpose statement is, “I exist to shine a light on the road to love, empowerment, and resilience.”

What (or who) motivated you to get involved in the community?

I feel so lucky to have the unwavering support of my husband and together, we feel it’s important to show our children they can make a difference, not just tell them they can. I believe education and resources for families are core to our future communities.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

My first job was as a summer intern with Ebby Halliday realtors. Ebby is famous for her work ethic and empowering people, especially women. She helped shape an entire industry in many ways and I am very grateful to have known and even celebrated birthdays with her. I learned the importance of being dynamic, driven, and operating with both grit and grace.

Where do you see yourself and/or your career 10 years from now?

I see myself being heavily involved in education with hopes of being a part of ensuring that life skills such as managing credit, effective communication, and even changing a tire, are essential to education and a part of the confidence a student graduates from high school with. I have a dream of carrying resources in education and a love for learning into adulthood with tools and relevant skills for an individual’s profession and purpose. I would build this platform to reshape the way recruiting works by more effectively training candidates and connecting employers with effective hires who continue to seek growth and impact. 

What is your favorite local restaurant or shop?

Forget Me Not (both restaurant and shop!) and Odelay (best margaritas and queso around!).

What’s on your bucket list?

Welding with one of my favorite people, George Tobolowsky, and barrel racing.

Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?

My family and friends! I feel so blessed to be surrounded by amazing people who reflect God’s love and shine with purpose, resilience, hope, and hard work. My parents who always set an example of giving and getting involved in so many ways across the community; my incredible and industrious in-laws; my husband/best friend who I lean on in every way; my children who I could not adore more; and my amazing friends who continually inspire and encourage one another.

How do you motivate yourself and others?

A humble reminder to begin with the end in mind. When you begin with the end in mind, you can take a step back, understand the ultimate goal, and put purpose before ego to move toward what is most important.

What would you tell an 18-year-old you?

Accept and appreciate your challenges with gratitude, grit, and grace. Choose joy.

What advice do you have for other young professionals?

Always come forward with a solution to the problem you’re presenting and never say, “that’s not my job.” Commit to a strong work ethic and be gracious to everyone you work with. Have a one year, five year and ten year plan; iterate on it as doors open and close, but write down your goals, pursue them, and accept no limits to how you can make an impact.

If someone made a movie about your life, what would it be called and who would play you?

And Yet played by (I flatter myself here…) Sienna Miller or Blake Lively.

Is there anything else you think we should know about you? 

I serve on the Snowmass Western Heritage Association Board which puts on the Snowmass Rodeo: 10 rodeos every Wednesday over the Summer in the Aspen/Snowmass area. Over the last two years, I have worked to grow our scholarship program and community impact. Additionally, I am excited to launch Toka Designs this year, a bespoke belt, scarf ring, and hat band company!

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