Lloyd Adams Mitchell (HRPBA 1957)

“I really quite enjoyed (the classes), I especially liked the ones dealing with people: the personnel management, time-and-motion studies, the puzzles and games”.

Lloyd Mitchell's first job after graduating from HRPBA in 1957 was in the sales department at Polaroid Corporation. Later she moved to a Director of Public Relations position with The Architects Collaborative in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She led public relations for architect John Carl Warnecke in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco and worked as a private consultant for numerous architectural firms before shifting gears and starting a successful vineyard and winery in Rhode Island with her husband.

Learning about HRPBA

I didn’t come out of Stanford with a real vision of where I was headed.  I went to see the Dean of Women, and she suggested the Program.  I will never forget her saying, “This is the beginning of the decision-making period for you - the chance to be in charge of your own life.”

There were five of us from my class at Stanford that came to the Program.  Three of us shared a room, and the other two were in a different house.

HRPBA & HBS Experience

I guess we all remember the Jackson case. It was the first case they gave us. It was quite a change from what I was used to. Instead of opening a lot of books and going to lectures, you had these cases. I like puzzles and games, so I treated most cases as puzzles and games.  I have never forgotten when the professor (I can’t recall his name) is going around the room asking all these charming, smart ladies, “What’s the nugget here? What is the real key to the case?”  And they didn’t get it.   When he got to me, I was almost embarrassed to speak, but I said, “It’s the waste.  It’s the salvage”. He said, “Yes!”   It just set me up for the whole year.

That did it for me.  I really quite enjoyed all the cases.  I really liked very much the ones dealing with people: the personnel management and the time-and-motion studies I didn’t love writing the WAC’s, but I didn’t mind it either.

Career

In the Fall of 1957 I went to work for Polaroid Corporation. I thought it was quite wonderful.  I was hired to help pioneer the transparency film which meant I was in the Sales Department reporting to the Industrial Sales Manager who was a perfectly charming guy named Kemon P. Taschioglou! His boss was my great favorite " a man named Stan Calderwood. These were exciting times for Polaroid.  It was definitely a growth industry.

Then one day I just walked into The Architects Collaborative on Brattle Street and left a letter with a resume and said I would be very interested in coming to work there.  They called me up, and before you knew it, I was there.  That was September, 1958.

From the get go I was in charge of Public Relations.  In those years architects were notallowed to advertise so the only way they got work was keeping abreast of the potential projects in the area, getting the work they had finished published in the media – both local and national as well a professional, and developing brochure materials that were attractive and well defined.  I did all that stuff, and I enjoyed it.  The firm began to grow. When I joined them there were 28 people, mostly partners and associates, and when I left 18 years later, we were 350.  It was big. As someone said, “It’s another growth industry”.

During this period I also had an offer I couldn’t turn down to work with an architect named John Carl Warnecke.  By this time Gropius had died, and TAC was changing. Warnecke was the architect for the John F. Kennedy Grave in Arlington National Cemetery, and he needed help with the press. It was a terrific challenge.  The firm also had offices in San Francisco and Honolulu so it was an chance to see the world.  I worked with Warnecke for two and a half years before returning to TAC in 1967.

In 1973 I married James A. Mitchell, a senior International Consultant at Arthur D. Little.  Since we had met and married later than most, we decided we wanted to work together on a project that would combine a land use and an art form in a small business. As a result we established Sakonnet Vineyards in Little Compton, Rhode Island which became the premier vineyard and winery in New England.  We sold the property in 1987 and retired to Camden, Maine.

Interview by Shirley Farmer, March 27, 2000. Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration Oral History Project, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.