Candice Smalls, Bill Mitchell, & Chris Shade

Candice Smalls

Name:  Candice Smalls

Leadership Charlotte (LC) Class:  39
Title/Company: Product Management Executive / PNC Bank
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Education: UNC Chapel Hill, University of Virginia

Current personal or leadership goals: Continue to learn and enjoy motherhood, seek to keep learning about leadership and be the most inclusive, impactful and effective leader I can be

1. What program day stands out in your memory and why?
Justice Day stands out the most in my memory because of the hard truth that we have so many persons of color and poor persons in the system that would not otherwise be there, had they had the resources or support of those who do not represent that demographic – particularly for misdemeanors or non-violent infractions.  While our society may always hear about social injustice, seeing the result of it in-person was shocking and something I’ll never forget.

2. How did your Leadership Charlotte experience affect what you’re doing today?
My LC experience affected what I’m doing today by opening my eyes to the unlimited potential I have. Understanding my frame of reference, my biases, my personal accomplishments and setbacks was key to planning my trajectory forward. I learned to look at others’ view and perspectives with a much larger lens, which adds to my ability to connect and relate to people I wouldn’t have previously considered to be a potential connection.

3. What would you like to see Leadership Charlotte alumni get involved in and why?
I would like to see an LC Alumni project that involves all willing participants to solve or recommend a solution to a major Charlotte issue. With the level of leadership and networks LC alum have, I think there could be a major change that comes forth in Charlotte if this project team were to really utilize their network and resources towards one, unified goal.

4. What do you hope to be doing (differently) in five years? I hope to become even more engaged and involved in the Charlotte community in the next five years. As my children will be aging into the elementary school phase, I know my interests and focus will be on the school systems and all of the opportunities and challenges that come with having school-aged children.


Bill Mitchell

Name:  Bill Mitchell
Leadership Charlotte (LC) Class:  35
Title/Company: Retired Business Owner and Corporate Executive (VP of Operations at a multi-national, multi-billion dollar company. Then,  I was Owner/Operator of a private preschool with 200 Children under 6 years old. THAT was a GREAT job!)

Hometown: Pittsburgh PA

Education: BS in Education

1. What advice that you would you give to current Leadership Charlotte participants?
Leadership Charlotte is a great learning experience and a welcoming and safe place. So, open yourself up and take risks. Try things that you’re pretty sure you won’t do very well. Sometimes you’ll surprise yourself, sometimes you’ll learn from your failures, and the group will support you when things don’t go well. Also, talk to people in the program that you’d NEVER talk to you if you met them at work or at a party. You’ll learn some great stuff. Stuff about them, but also important stuff about YOU. And you’ll be a better Leader because of it.

2. If you could relive any program day, what would it be and why?
The Poverty Simulation exercise from one of the Program Days was eye-opening for me, and seemed to be for others, as well. It led me to do a lot of further learning about how people in that financial demographic see the world and survive, and led me to be more empathetic and to interact differently with people I encounter.

3. What would you like to see Leadership Charlotte alumni get involved in and why?
FIRST, make a monetary donation to the Leadership Charlotte Program. If every Alumni who tells people that this program really changed them would just make even a modest annual cash donation, the program could have broader and deeper impact on more participants, more organizations and in our community. Second, almost everyone who applies to Leadership Charlotte expresses their sincere desire to find a way to “give back” to the community. The program offers you some ways to do that, and introduces you to lots of additional ways to do so. It’s tempting to want to take a break after your Program Year, and to tell yourself you’ll explore opportunities to serve the community later. Don’t wait. What organization or cause or Program Day really connected with you? Go do something. Right away.

4. Greatest personal accomplishment and why:
Honestly, I had some pretty impressive achievements on my resume. But you know what I REALLY felt good about? A lot of people I worked with had a lot of career success. They sometimes found the path that had previously eluded them, or found work that they loved and had lots of great achievements of their own. Helping people to learn and grow and succeed-that’s the best thing ever.


Name:  Chris Shade
Leadership Charlotte (LC) Class:  39
Title/Company: Search Consultant, Coleman Lew Canny Bowen
Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Education: Bachelors in Education, Bowling Green State University; Master of Public Administration, UNC Charlotte.

1. What advice that you would you give to current Leadership Charlotte participants?
Find one obscure thing that you have in common with every person in your class. If you attempt to do this with even half, you’re likely to find out you’ve got way more in common with a few folks that you wouldn’t have thought to spend that much time with.

2. How did your Leadership Charlotte experience affect what you’re doing today?
Leadership Charlotte helped me to see the interconnectedness of the cities challenges and, as a result, have a greater appreciation of those leaders and organizations that are doing meaningful work to address these challenges. I think in some ways this knowledge likely helped me be considered for the role I find myself in with Coleman Lew Canny Bowen. It’s made me more effective as a search consultant trusted with helping some of these same organizations find future leaders for critical roles.

3. Favorite nonprofit or community organization in Charlotte and why:
I think Roof Above is a standard-bearer for our community. If there is ever the chance to end homelessness, this organization is doing the work that can make it happen. They’ve grown and innovated to rise to the needs of our community and serve as a thought-leader in this space. They’re not just the tip of the spear for Housing First in Charlotte, they’re a model of how it can be done at scale that organizations throughout the Southeast look to.

4. How has your life after Leadership Charlotte surprised you and why?
I joined Leadership Charlotte thinking about how it would build my understanding of the city’s innerworkings and development my own leadership skills. I don’t think I had any idea just how much I would gain in terms of the relationships I build through this program. As you get older it can feel harder to make new friends and life’s responsibilities can cause your ‘circle’ to shrink. Leadership Charlotte has been a unique opportunity to form bonds with folks I otherwise may never have met, not just superficially, but in truly deep ways. It helped me to slow down, enjoy the moments in between moments, to care about people enough to ask the questions that matter. I think as a result of this experience, I’ve been more intentional about how I invest as a friend, a husband and a father.

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