Kindness - an interview featuring Anne Devereux-Mills

Anne Devereux-Mills, Founder of Parlay House and Author of the soon-to-be-published The Parlay Effect.

Anne Devereux-Mills spent the first half of her career building and running advertising agencies in New York City as Chairman and CEO. When hit with the triple threat of progressing cancer, an empty nest, and an unexpected job loss, she took time to reassess her career trajectory and hierarchy of needs. In 2012, long before the #MeToo movement, she founded Parlay House, a salon-style series of gatherings which now includes over 5,000 women across the US, Europe and the Middle East. Parlay House’s objective is to provide thought-provoking content and a safe space for women to have intimate and authentic conversations that don’t happen in other aspects of their lives, and to connect with women outside their traditional social, demographic and career-influenced circles.

Her commitment to issues related to inclusion and empowerment run deep. Beyond Parlay House, Anne is a mentor for SHE-CAN, an organization supporting and grooming the next generation of female world leaders coming from post-genocide countries. An activist on issues related to social justice, Anne was a key member of the team that helped pass California's Proposition 36, which brought fair sentencing to thousands of non-violent inmates as part of California's Three Strikes reform. Following that victory, she was the Executive Director for the Emmy-nominated documentary film entitled, The Return and is currently Executive Directing two additional films, Mississippi Red and The Green Dress. Anne supported Stanford University by serving as the Executive Director of Healthy Body Image Programs.

Prior to her philanthropic ventures, Anne was Chief Integration Officer at BBDO and Managing Director of their highly successful healthcare unit. She then became Chairman and CEO of LLNS and TBWA/WorldHealth. She also served as CEO of Consumer Healthworks, a division of Merkley and Partners, as well as President of Harrison& Star. Anne also helped launch the iHUG Foundation, a not-for-profit school in Uganda supporting some of that nation's most needy children.

A 2003 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, Anne has been honored by a range of organizations including SHE-CAN, Advertising Women of New York, The All-Stars Foundation, Project Kesher and Worldwide Women

Q. What does kindness mean to you?

A. To me, kindness means having an awareness of others and the willingness to truly see them, to listen, and to act in a way that lifts them higher.

Q. How are you sharing 21 days of kindness?

A. I’m on a mission to create Parlay House, a global organization where women are empowered to have authentic and vulnerable conversations about topics that are meaningful to them and help them feel supported and connected to a diverse range of women.

Q. What will you do to share kindness today?

A. I’ll be mentoring a young woman who will benefit from having another supportive adult figure in her life, and I’m welcoming a newly-relocated executive to my home to help her get started in building a new community here.

Q. Favorite example(s) of how others can share kindness

A. Take advantage of things that come naturally to you – your super powers – and use them on behalf of someone else.

Q. Today I celebrated…

A. Having clarity about my value system and living them with small actions that are meaningful for others.

Q. I am grateful for…

A. The fact that I was able to re-direct my life after it all fell apart.

Q. Someone I would like to recognize for showing me kindness.

A. Julie Abrams, another strong and sassy Bay Area change agent who makes me feel supported on both professional and personal levels.

Q. What I do to appreciate myself

A. Forgive my imperfections.

Q. I am so glad that I get to…

A. Find the good in almost everyone.

Q. What do you do when your day doesn’t go as planned?

A. Look to see whether there is a silver lining – maybe my plan was wrong. Or if it was just a bummer of a day, I have a glass of scotch and know that tomorrow is another chance.

Q. I am inspired by…

A. The dreamers and the doers.

Q. A dream I am currently focused on fulfilling is…

A. Creating a global support system for women