Mitzi Givens-Russell is a Franchise Operations Manager for our California Region where she ensures compliance with our franchise obligations, manages external affairs and community impact funding and represents Comcast California in small claims court. She’s also a co-lead for the California Region’s Black Employee Network (BEN).
Tell us about your career journey at Comcast?
I started in an entry-level role 26 years ago as a cable store representative where I had a lot of face-to-face interactions with the public. There was an acquisition that moved me from that small shop to a much larger call center. The regional vice president at the time saw something in me that I hadn't recognized in myself and created a role for me where I would serve as a one-woman escalations team.
In that role, I responded to all the escalations for the East Bay community here in California. After some time leading those efforts, I was given the opportunity to explore different departments to determine what I was interested in learning more about. For me, it was government affairs. We had a government affairs director in the office, and I was really intrigued by her work. She took me under her wing and allowed me to shadow her, and I ultimately made the move to a regional franchising coordinator role.
How do you feel supported by Comcast?
I feel like Comcast provides a lot of growth opportunities. They provide tools for growth, educational assistance, and encourage you to learn not just your role, but to develop cross-functional relationships and learn about the business as a whole. You’re encouraged to reach out and shadow someone in a different department to get a better understanding of their job.
There’s also a real focus on social injustice. With BEN, we had the opportunity to create a platform for our frontline employees to speak comfortably about some of the things that are happening and the challenges with where we are as a nation right now. I'm proud to be a part of helping create a space that alleviates some of those stresses. I also reiterate with our employees that there are programs and tools that Comcast offers to ensure that we are in a good place… both mentally and physically.
What’s a risk you took that paid off?
Having a family at an early age and then moving into a regional executive role when my children were really young. I was focused on raising the children, being mom, wife, a franchise manager, and investing in my children's education at a very young age so that they were able to have different opportunities in life. The risk for me was not being 100 percent available to Comcast because the obligations at home were important to me. One of the ways I looked at the situation was that I'm definitely replaceable at Comcast, but I'm not replaceable at home. I didn't lead with that though, but it was always something that I reminded myself during the critical years of my children's lives. I was bold enough to present those challenges to my management team and say, ‘Hey, I'm all in for Comcast, but my all in may not look like an ideal 9-5; it may look like a 10-12, and then 3-7, and then maybe again picking up at 11 at night.’ So, my risk was asking for some lenience to be able to produce the quality work that Comcast expected of me.
What makes you feel positive or hopeful?
Young people. Seeing young people respect differences, recognize the need for change, and take the initiative of not backing down and still doing it in a respectful manner. I don't want to say that we're in a civil rights movement 2.0, but we're definitely in a movement, we're definitely in a shift, and I'm hopeful that we will see change — even if it's just two steps toward the results that we're looking for. But I am very hopeful when I see youth being respectful of all the differences in society and calling for changes that we need to see take place in the United States.