Attributing much of her success to the emphasis that she has placed on continuing to learn and grow through her career, Sheila A. Mixon embarked on her professional path in 1972 when she joined the Ohio State University. She went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in business administration and finance in 1976. After working in a number of smaller roles, she attained the position of senior sales representative with Huntington Bank from 1990 to 1994 and served as vice president of CitiFinancial from 1994 to 2002. In 2003, she worked as an operation manager for the CIT Group before becoming the project manager of the Valley Learning Center from 2005 to 2008.
In 2008, Ms. Mixon obtained certification as a FastTrac facilitator and joined the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio as a business coach. Within the league, she rose to become the director of the Ohio Small Business Development Centers in 2010 and senior vice president of development and entrepreneurship in 2012. She also become certified as a GrowthWheel facilitator in 2012, which give her access to a virtual platform that allows for easy communication and collaboration between business advisers and entrepreneurs. She achieved the position of senior vice president of the Greater Cincinnati Urban League in 2014.
In her work with the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, Ms. Mixon is involved with the three units that make up their business development and entrepreneurship programs. These programs encompass the Ohio Small Business Development Centers, where she works with the team of four that runs the Small Business Development Center in Hamilton, Ohio, as well as the Economic Empowerment Center, which is the base location for the African American business development program and the Resiliency Fund program. The African American business development program is a seven-month program that provides financial aid for Black-owned business looking to grow and the Resiliency Fund program provides grants to minority owned businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also in 2014, Ms. Mixon became the executive director of the Women’s Business Enterprise Council Ohio River Valley, also known as WBEC ORV, which was established in 2009. She serves as the executive director to a team of eight as they work with a variety of women-owned and operated businesses across the public and private sectors. Furthermore, she joined the leadership council of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council in 2015 and the board of directors for the Ohio Women’s Coalition in 2021. She is also a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners, where she sits on the programming committee.
Ms. Mixon has always been involved with numerous civic endeavors outside of her primary career responsibilities. Since 2013, she has been a member of the Cincinnati Small Business Advisory Council and, in 2015, she joined the advisory group of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the board of directors and entrepreneur assistance committee of HCDC, and the supplier diversity advisory council of the Cleveland Clinic. She went on to join the Cincinnati Economic Inclusion Advisory Council in 2016 and became a resource partner with the supplier diversity advisory council of the MetroHealth System in 2018.
Standing out in her field for ability to assess and provide the right kind of guidance for each unique situation, Ms. Mixon was named to the Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity by DiversityPlus Magazine in 2020, which came on the heels of her being honored among the Career Women of Achievement by the YWCA Greater Cincinnati in 2019. In 2017, she had been named to the Women of Influence by Venue Magazine and the Lead Tribune Media Group and inducted into the Women of Color Foundation Hall of Fame. She was named a Woman of Excellence by the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance and a Women’s Business Champion by the National Association for Women Business Owners in 2016. Early on, she was also presented with the Service Excellence & Innovation Award and named a Minority Small Business Champion by the Columbus District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2013 and 2010, respectively.
Above these accolades, Ms. Mixon considers the most gratifying part of her career to be getting to know and networking with the business owners she works with. In 2016, she endowed the Sheila A. Mixon Women’s Entrepreneurial Start-Up Fund with the Women of Color Foundation. Looking toward the future, she is planning on retiring in December of 2022 and is currently working on her succession plans in her various roles. Intending to remain active as a consultant for small businesses even in her retirement, she also hopes to be able to travel and devote her time to charity. Inspired by the strong women who have stood by her side over the years, particularly her mother, who was a nurses’ aid, Ms. Mixon hopes to leave her own legacy as someone who was trustworthy, transparent, honest, and, above all, authentic.