Anne Devereux-Mills is an incredibly accomplished human. She was the chairman and CEO of a number of ad agencies in New York City – which is a massive undertaking.

She then transitioned from the corporate world to non-profit programs such as helping start a school in Uganda.

She’s had a phenomenal life journey and faced many obstacles — including being a single mom of two while battling cancer.

Anne is now the Chief Strategy Officer for Lantern, a San Francisco based start up that brings mental wellness programs to underserved populations due to the stigma of mental health, access and cost.

She is also the founder of Parlay House, a salon-style gathering of over 800 Bay-area women who meet to pull each other forward through a combination of shared experiences, meaningful content and peer-to-peer connections

I wanted to connect with Anne to better understand how she’s been able to do so much in her life – not just in one arena, but so many arenas.

As a single mom parenting, running a business in a male dominated industry, blazing trails in Uganda, battling cancer– all of that is just an incredible effort and she’s been able to it in a world class way.

I hope you’ll be reminded from this conversation how important authenticity is — and how important relationships are — and how important it is to take risks and do the hard work.

“People often try to protect what they have rather than aspire to be something that they can’t even quite imagine yet.”

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In This Episode:

  • Entering the workforce in a tough economy and taking an insurance job because it was all she could get
  • Using her first job as a stepping stone to identify what she liked & disliked
  • Finding her calling in the advertising industry and working her way up through a male-dominated industry
  • How she dealt with difficult obstacles that arose including multiple battles with cancer and divorce
  • Why she used a “containment model” to survive her fight with cancer
  • The parenting method her mom and dad used which helped her become a leader
  • Importance of inherent fit between what you are good at/interested in aligning with your job
  • Coping with a “loss of identity” after being replaced at her company due to cancer remission
  • The positive and negative aspects related to persistence being one of her strongest qualities
  • Why she values committing to “small actions”
  • How she measures monetary success vs. personal happiness

 

Quotables

“You can’t have a public self until you have a pretty good idea who your own private authentic self is and what your own values are.”

“If you think you can do it, go do it.”

“As a single mom, I couldn’t die. It just wasn’t possible.”

“I can dish out the empathy but it’s difficult for me to take it.”

“Just keep saying yes until it’s so clear that you have to say no.”

“Small actions can create a cascade far beyond the action.”

What she would ask another Master of Craft: “When did you realize you were at the intersection of who you are and what you value?’

“I know what it’s like to have money without fulfillment and there’s no amount that makes it feel good.”

“I’m a risk taker. I lead with my heart.”

On risk taking:

  • “Look for the experience, not the victory. “
  • “You’re almost never going to drown. Worst comes to worst you drag yourself to the side of the pool.”

“My vision is that each of us feels empowered to create meaningful and positive change for the people around us.”

 

References

 

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Chief Strategy Officer at

After a successful career as the Chairman and CEO of a number of Advertising Agencies in New York, Anne Devereux-Mills is now the of chief strategy officer of Lantern, a San Francisco-based start-up that delivers mental health care through a mobile platform. Anne is also the Founder of Parlay House, a salon-style gathering of over 800 Bay-area women who meet to pull each other forward through a combination of shared experiences, meaningful content and peer-to-peer connections.