Sheree Mitchell On Women and Success

North High pays tribute to Women’s History Month by inviting Sheree Mitchell to discuss her experiences in the business world as a woman.

On March 14, North High’s Times Up Club introduced an inspiring woman to discuss and pay tribute to Women’s History Month. Sheree Mitchell, the president and founder of Immersa Global, was interviewed by juniors Shayna Hagooli and Kyleen Kalimian, and spoke for a brief period about her personal successes and opinions on women’s equality in the modern day.

Sheree Mitchell speaks to a large audience about her achievements (Credit: Immersa Travel)

Students first heard about how and why Mitchell got started in the travel industry. Her company, Immersa Global, is the only American-owned travel agency in Portugal. 

“I’ve always traveled and explored other languages and my dad would send me to Costa Rica to learn Spanish in a language academy,” Mitchell said. “One of my professors found a position for me to lead a study abroad program in Costa Rica. It was my first experience in travel as a profession” she added.

Mitchell is admirably dedicated to her efforts. Her professional career began teaching in Florida, where she created study abroad programs for children. “I created programs to Costa Rica that became very popular. These programs made me think about how in the next phase of my career I could go into entrepreneurship and create my own company that specializes in travel” she said.

Her company is now extremely successful, and Mitchell she has spent ten years expanding and improving upon it — Forbes Magazine even deemed her a “superstar” in a recent interview.

But Mitchell’s journey has not been one that she has endured alone. Over the course of her life, she was inspired and guided by a multitude of women. “There have been very strong women that have helped my professional and personal path and I’m very grateful and tell all my female mentors I thank them and hope I can be as helpful as them” she said.

Mitchel spoke to North High students via Zoom (Credit: Ava Assaraf).

When asked about her thoughts on whether it is necessary to celebrate women, Mitchell offered a brilliant response: “Until we can get to a point where we’re not discussing the inequalities between women and men, then we should keep fighting for equality. If women are consistently making less money, we have to keep raising awareness and it is absolutely necessary that we continue to celebrate women,” she said.

“We live in societies where these equalities existed for so long. We still have a long way to go. Society has taught us that we (men and women) have different positions, so these are the things we are still working on,” she explained.

Mitchell discussed her personal contributions towards breaking the bias that exists towards women in the workplace. “My goal is to employ as many highly qualified women as possible because their earning power at my company is higher than working for a Portuguese company that does the same thing I do,” she said. “I strive to give women the economic opportunities they deserve.”

Sheree Mitchell working from home (Credit: Sheree Mitchell).

Mitchell also shared a personal experience in which she experienced blatant gender bias. “I had a meeting with a small Portuguese family that produced wine a while back. I enter the meeting and an older man was sitting with his son, and before we could talk about what I wanted to propose, they asked me if my husband was okay with me traveling so much and if my husband was supporting my business or involved in it, even though I don’t even have a husband” Mitchell said.

To young women experiencing similar issues, Mitchell offered several strong pieces of advice: “Act as if you have no obstacles whatsoever and create a support group that believes in you as much as you believe in yourself. Know that obstacles exist but don’t let them condition how you move.”

Students at North were especially appreciative of Mitchell’s words.

I usually don’t enjoy assemblies, but this one was really captivating and inspiring,” said Junior Gili Gavriel.

“Mitchell did a great job explaining the issues of gender discrimination and I am so happy I was able to ask her questions on behalf of the school,” said Junior Kyleen Kalimian, who interviewed Mitchell. 

As Mitchell repeatedly says, the road to equality is “a work in progress,” but it is interviews like these that will inspire a younger generation to continue striving towards a tangible sense of gender equality.