UW-Madison’s Mitchell named young professional of the year

June 20, 2012

by Stacy Forster

Everett Mitchell has a simple — and compelling — reason for why he gives so much of his time doing community service work.

"Because somebody gave it to me," he says.

Photo: Everett Mitchell

Mitchell

Growing up in inner-city Fort Worth, Texas, Mitchell, now the University of Wisconsin-Madison's director of community relations, says the reason he made to college and in to a career was because of people who took time out to help him get ahead.

"I'm successful today because along the way I always had people who just took time," says Everett, who was recently named "Young Professional of the Year" by the Urban League of Madison. "I figure that I'm responsible for giving that back to others. Some of them aren't even alive any more, but they sowed a lot of time in to me. I respect that and need to give that back."

In his role for UW-Madison, Mitchell represents UW-Madison to local units of government, and develops relationships with local leaders and organizations.

The Urban League of Madison gives the award each year to a young professional who is making a difference in the lives of others through community service, a commitment to diversity and demonstrated leadership potential.

"What's unique about Everett is that at a young age he appears to have found his calling," says Mark Richardson, vice president of economic and workforce development for the Urban League of Greater Madison. "His education and skill sets have afforded him many different opportunities, this community is fortunate that he is so invested. It's that kind of commitment that makes a real difference in people's lives."

Tommie Jones, a close friend of Mitchell's and customer communications coordinator in the Income, Sales and Excise Tax Division of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, says he nominated Mitchell for the award because the work Mitchell does on social justice, education, and youth and families mirrors the work of the Urban League.

"Everett is one of the most hardworking individuals that I know, and he finds time to make an impact in every organization he's involved in — it's not small or intangible," Jones says. "And every day he does it with a smile. That's just who he is."

During the eight years he's spent in Madison, Mitchell has been involved with a number of community service groups including 100 Black Men of Madison, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, Big Brothers, Schools of Hope, United Way, the Madison Homeless Housing Consortium and the Dane County Criminal Justice Planning Group.

Mitchell came to UW-Madison in May from the Dane County district attorney's office. Before that, he spent six years as associate director of the Madison-Area Urban Ministry, where he worked to help people prepare for lives outside prison, as well as with restorative justice programs for ex-offenders.

Mitchell also serves as pastor at Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church on the east side of Madison, where his wife, Mankah Mitchell, a UW-Madison doctoral student, helps him in work with young women.

He has a bachelor's degree in religion and mathematics from Morehouse College, a master of divinity and a master of theology from the Princeton Theological Seminary and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Mitchell says it was humbling to be recognized for his work, but adds that he doesn't do it alone.

"Any kind of work you do, when you're transforming people's lives, you work with people who are just as committed as you are," he says. "You don't do this work by yourself."