Etiquette as a way of life
August 8, 2012 by Robin James
Expert on civility teaches jail inmates
As the CEO of your own small business, you need all the help you can get. One locally based African American woman is taking charge by arming herself with top credentials and, through her work, looking to educate both youths and adults on the beauty of business etiquette.
Juliet Mitchell is the owner and CEO of Eagles Wings Career Preparation and Workforce Development, LLC located in St. Paul. She is also the first African American entrepreneur from Minnesota to graduate from the prestigious Emily Post Institute’s Business Etiquette Train the Trainer Program.
With a select group of national and international business professionals and entrepreneurs, Mitchell attended the program in May 2012, which she describes as “a lifelong dream come true.” With her certification, Mitchell helps spread the word about the importance of civility in building and strengthening personal and professional relationships.
The program was held in Burlington, Vermont. The five-day intensive training with Peter Post, great-grandson of Emily Post and director of the Emily Post Institute, along with other members of the “Post family” provided Mitchell with education on 11 etiquette modules.
Communication, business and social dining, professional image, and workplace etiquette were among the key principles of the training.
Mitchell is also the principal consultant and facilitator for Eagles Wings Career Preparation and Workforce Development. Mitchell’s professional work experience spans more than 25 years in customer service management, workforce development, life skills training, and business and social etiquette consulting.
In addition to her role as CEO of a small business, Mitchell holds a MA degree in human development from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota. Currently, she is an adjunct professor for National American University in Bloomington, Minnesota where she teaches classes in human development, strategies for success, career management and customer service relations.
The MSR spoke with Mitchell (JM) recently and asked her a few questions about the Emily Post Institute and her business.
MSR: What led you to take part in the Emily Post program?
JM: I took part in the program for three major reasons: one, to learn new information that would help me to improve and enhance my work around business and social etiquette; two, to confirm what I already believed to be true, and three, to meet other people who have a shared passion for learning.
Since I was a young girl I have had a genuine interest in etiquette. I have known about Emily Post most of my life and have long admired her work. Seeking out information on how to be and what to do in certain situations is more than a hobby to me; it’s a way of life.
I have always included civility and appropriate behavior in my work, but I did not call it etiquette. It was just my way of doing things. Three years ago I was contracted to conduct a series of social etiquette workshops for Dakota County Jail. What started as a “social etiquette” class evolved into a series that I titled “Social Education and Life Etiquette.”
MSR: What was the one major highlight of the Emily Post program for you?
JM: The program was very intense, yet enjoyable, every step of the way. One of the main highlights that set the tone for the week was the living accommodations. We were lodged in the Willard Street Inn, a quaint, family-owned bed-and-breakfast run by an excellent staff. We got a chance to practice our “manners” right there at the Inn.
The entire institute was quite impressive; I am sure that I will use most, if not all of what I learned. Although it is somewhat challenging to narrow down the aspects of the institute that really stood out for me, there is one highlight that is the most memorable.
The session on presentation skills was most helpful in that each participant received tips and strategies for more effective presentations. We also had an opportunity to make a presentation to the larger group using Emily Post training material. The presentations were video recorded, after which each participant received constructive criticism and feedback from the group.
MSR: Through your work with your companies, Eagles Wings Career Preparation and Workforce Development, what are some of your future goals for growing your business?
JM: As I continue my work with Dakota County Jail, I am seeking to secure opportunities with other correctional facilities.
Because I work with a lot of young people and those who have had life challenges and therefore missed some of the early life lessons, my goal also includes securing contract opportunities with colleges and universities.
The third major entities that I seek to work with are corporations, focusing primarily on corporate new hires and those who are seeking advancement and desire to enhance their interpersonal, communications and business etiquette skills.
Robin James welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeking out information on how to be and what to do in certain situations is more than a hobby to me; it’s a way of life.