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Brianne, Della and Lila Mitchell: “Leadership should be a way to inspire and support others to be the best version of themselves they can be”

I think leadership is defined by the leader. Leadership should be a way to inspire and support others to be the best version of themselves they can be. Great leaders put others before themselves, provide help and support when/where needed, and lead by example. As part of my series about “authors who are making an […]

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I think leadership is defined by the leader. Leadership should be a way to inspire and support others to be the best version of themselves they can be. Great leaders put others before themselves, provide help and support when/where needed, and lead by example.


As part of my series about “authors who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brianne Mitchell of the Della and Lila Book Series, authored with her two daughters.

Brianne Mitchell is the very proud mom of Della and Lila. She enjoys spending as much time with her girls as possible, especially when traveling.

In addition to working on children’s stories with her daughters, Bri works as a media strategist, is the host and producer of Local Productions, and previously taught college for seven years. You can also catch her on red carpets and press junkets, while working as a journalist. She holds an MA in Communication and a BA in English.

Bri has been named as one of Pittsburgh’s 40 Under 40, an Inspiring Women in Philanthropy Award Winner, the Observer-Reporter’s ExtraORdinary Person, and a Real Beauty Real Women Socially Conscience Fashionista Awardee.

She is rarely seen without a cup of hot tea and her iPhone.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up in a small town with my little brother and our chocolate lab, Fudge. We spent summers on the river, as our grandpap operated a boat marina. We fished, swam, boated, and played in the river. We loved our summers on the river. Our grandfather would tell us stories of the legends of our river — and I, eventually, told those same stories to my children — which is what inspired our book series. We spent a lot of time outside and on the water. Looking back, it was a magical childhood experience.

When you were younger, was there a book that you read that inspired you to take action or changed your life? Can you share a story about that?

In 4th grade, I read the book Julie of the Wolves, and was completely affected by it. I was amazed and inspired by the resilient, young protagonist. The story inspired a fierce want for independence in my soul. I wanted to always be able to help myself and I wanted to instill that same independence in my own daughters.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

One time I accidently deleted my entire website…… because I was wearing too many hats and doing too many things at once. After that, I learned how to delegate!

Can you describe how you aim to make a significant social impact with your book?

We donate all of our proceeds to a different nonprofit each quarter. We help local families through holiday drives, coat drives, back to school drives, etc. We make donations to national and international organizations that support children and families. We also started our own nonprofit, called The River Fund (of the Della and Lila Book Series), to help support these causes.

Can you share with us the most interesting story that you shared in your book?

In our children’s book we talk about the legend of the Monongahela Monster, whom is known to be a serpentine creature living in our local river for hundreds of years (very similar to Nessie, the Lock Ness Monster, of Scotland). Many people argue, that without a doubt, the Monongahela Monster is VERY real. In our book we talk about what it means to be called a “Monster” and that the Monongahela Monster really isn’t a Monster, he is just misunderstood.

What was the “aha moment” or series of events that made you decide to bring your message to the greater world? Can you share a story about that?

We had an “aha moment” when we saw the reaction of our young readers really loving this story about their hometown and the people and places they knew. Seeing our young readers resonate and recognize characters and settings in the story was such a beautiful experience. They got so excited when they read the book and looked at the illustrations. Of course, the story was told by a 5 year old (I only wrote it down) and so, the way the story was told/presented, really seemed to hit home with the young readers. A kid’s book, written by kids, for kids.

Without sharing specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

We got to see a family of 6 receive a huge donation of holiday gifts, food, and necessities as part of an organization we work with. They didn’t know the items were from us, or that we were involved in any way. But, seeing their reaction was such an incredible inspiration to just keep doing what we’re doing.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

Yes, we live in a very underserved community. Children and families in rural areas need access to outdoor recreation, healthy food choices (not fast food), and quality after school, educational opportunities.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

I think leadership is defined by the leader. Leadership should be a way to inspire and support others to be the best version of themselves they can be. Great leaders put others before themselves, provide help and support when/where needed, and lead by example.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1). Book publishing and distribution is a hard field to navigate.

There are so many intricacies that fall under the “book publishing and distribution” umbrella. I wish someone had told me “always have an alternate solution”. That would be have been great advice to someone just starting out.

2). A good graphic designer is worth their weight in gold. Not all graphic designers are created equal — find someone you enjoy working with.

We had some issues with book layout and formatting when we first started but, after we found our designer — she made everything so much better.

3). Keep your website up to date. As we all know — everyone looks for everything online. That being said, not knowing HOW to update your website is a problem. Make sure you, or your website designer, keeps your website up to date. If you’re not updating your online presence, make sure you are working with someone you’re comfortable with so you can provide updates, suggestions, and recommendations as needed.

4). It’s ok to change your mind and/or to keep evolving. It’s perfectly fine to evolve your mission or how you operate as an organization. In fact, it’s perfectly natural and, in fact, necessary to evolve.

5). JUST HAVE FUN! Sure, work is always work and success is a hard fought battle, but, it is also perfectly ok to have some fun and enjoy yourself on the journey.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?” asked the boy.
‘Help,’ said the horse.
‘Asking for help isn’t giving up,’ said the horse. ‘It’s refusing to give up.”
Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Too many of us forget to ask for help and that, when we do, it’s perfectly ok to do so. xo.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

YES! BILLY PORTER! I love and adore this man!!! He has truly created a space in his life where he honors who he is, supports others’ sense of individuality, and just seems to love unconditionally. His voice is so beautiful. He is an absolute radiant soul full of pure talent, love, and peace. He stands up for those who, often times, can’t (aren’t able) to stand up for themselves.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Our website is www.dellaandlila.com

Social Media Handles
FB @dellaandlila

IG: @ dellaandlila

Twitter @ dellaandlila

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Thank you so much for your time! We really enjoyed this interview!


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