Rise to the top: Where were they at 25?

Success doesn’t happen overnight. 

For most people who make something of themselves in life, the adage holds true. 

If not overnight, though — when? 

Curious about the early work lives of notable central Ohioans, The Dispatch recently asked some of them a simple question: What were you doing when you were 25? 

A few were clearly more focused at that age than others. 

One was living out of a car. 

Regardless, each overcame the trials that lay ahead — eventually reaching the top of a chosen field. 

A sampling of reflections: 

Cameron Mitchell 

Age: 49 

Title: president and founder of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants 

Mitchell entered the restaurant industry intending to steadfastly rise through the ranks. 

“I treated my career like becoming a surgeon,” he said. “I was working 90 hours a week.” 

Three years out of the Culinary Institute of America, a 25-year-old Mitchell was a general manager for the 55 Restaurant Group in Columbus. In that same year, he bought his first Mercedes-Benz. 

Mitchell had joined the group two years earlier, in 1987, as a sous chef; a year later, he was promoted to executive chef. 

At 28, after his third promotion — to an operations manager — he left the company to pursue an “epiphany” he’d had. 

“I didn’t know anything about starting my own restaurant company at that time,” he said, “but I knew I wanted to be the owner of a restaurant company.” 

His first eatery, Cameron’s American Bistro (2185 W. Dublin-Granville Rd.), opened on Oct. 5, 1993. 

Twenty years later, Mitchell has 33 establishments nationwide to his name. 

Time had a way of changing another aspect of his life, too, he noted. 

“I certainly had a lot more energy at 25 than I do now.” 

May 20, 2013
The Columbus Dispatch
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