We don’t have many memoirs and resources about keeping your business rooted in your values. Pushing back against that toxic capitalism can feel lonely. People will be out there telling you it means you can’t care about social justice and also charge your worth.  

But Dr. Mindelyn Anderson is out here running Mirror Group and doing exactly that. She isn’t alone. On a panel together, Mindelyn mentioned that every entrepreneur needs a Fab Five at their side.

I’m smiling and nodding in agreement but in my head I’m thinking What’s a Fab Five and how do I get one for myself?

I knew you’d wanna know too so let me introduce you to Dr. Mindelyn Anderson.

She’s the Founder and CEO of Mirror Group, an evaluation firm that focuses on data and equity, where, as a Black woman, she’s hired a roster of staff that are almost entirely women of color.

The thing I love most about her is that she’s really good at working on the business and not just in the business. From that perspective, she can now better recognize when her team gets burned out and set the conditions and resource the support to fiercely protect their time and energy. She’s a good boss and she can be a good boss because she isn’t trying to go at it alone.

Speaking about her support system, Mindelyn said “My Fab 5 has expanded fully into a Scale and Sustain Seven!”

Here they are, how often Mindelyn meets with them, and the biggest burning question she brings to each.

Supportive Loved One

Meets Daily/Weekly

Biggest Burning Question
To My Husband Donovan: When do we get to take a vacation? A grown up, just us and not our 4 children whom we love and adore vacation. In Paris, France! 🙂

To My Sister Dana: When is “auntie and uncle camp” open again? You missed the kids’ Winter Break, but Spring Break will be here before we know it. Your nieces pieces (our 3 daughters) and nugget (our son) miss you and their Mommy and Papi would love a break.

Stephanie’s Note Ok, so Mindelyn’s supportive loved ones have a specific role of pressing pause on life’s stressors and creating a space to breathe.


Meets Monthly/Quarterly

Biggest Burning Question
Restructuring takes a long time, and I know that is part of the rhythm of business as you told me all those years ago. I am starting to see the silver lining in all of this and I know there is more to come that you have experienced time and again. Tell me, what’s next just beyond the horizon? 

Mindelyn’s Clarification My mentors are seasoned folks who happen to be in the same field as me (evaluation, learning and strategy consulting).

These mentors provide guidance about our content area (evaluation), consulting (how we do the work) as well as leadership, and holistic work and life considerations when you are an entrepreneur/business owner with family and community obligations.

They range from 20-40 years of business experience and I remain grateful for their time and the mutual mentorship and support we have developed over time.

CPA/Tax Accountant

Meets Every 2 months or quarterly, more frequently during tax preparation and filing season

Biggest Burning Question
It’s tax filing season, so we have the usual things to do. Yes, I am gathering those documents and yes, I am placing them in the secure portal. Will we be able to profit share through the 401k again this year even though we did not meet our projected 2023 revenue goals? 

Stephanie’s Note Juicy question! Most of us only view our accountant as a bean counter but Mindelyn’s asking for strategic thought partnership here.


Meets Monthly or every 2 months, more frequently during an active risk management event (Stephanie’s Note OMG I want the tea on what “active risk management event” means.)

Biggest Burning Question
I adore you. You are always here for the contract reviews, risk management, mediation and more. Now that I am t-minus 5 months from fully settling into the CEO seat, is it time to start board development planning? Or am I getting too ahead of myself? 

CFO/Management Accountant

Meets Monthly or twice monthly, more frequently during budget prep and audits

Biggest Burning Question
I miss you. You were there to upgrade us from spreadsheets to an accounting system with charts of accounts. You created our first organizational budget with cost pools. You showed me how to “job cost” and ensure profitably while paying people equitably. You created that amazing workbook and always updated it and transformed it whenever I was bidding on a new project. I see we are no longer a “gazelle company” so what can we expect for our future financial trends and performance and how does that inform our FY 2024 budget?

Stephanie’s Note Reader, are you seeing patterns in Mindelyn’s questions? She’s consulting with her support system about the future. She isn’t seeking them out to reflect on past victories and mistakes. Mindelyn’s gaze is facing forward.

Business Coach

Meets Monthly, more frequently during surge periods of focused area of growth

Biggest Burning Question
I need you to help set out selection criteria for People & Culture vendors. And while we are at that, is it too much to ask you to join the vendor interview team?  

Mindelyn’s Clarification My business coach(es) came much later than my mentor. My first taste of these were as enhancements to entrepreneur cohorts that I participated in where they also provide short-term coaches.

I grew to love and really appreciate the insights that seasoned executives outside of my subject matter/content field could offer, especially regarding business operations. Many folks claim to be business coaches, but those who I work best with are entrepreneurial, have built from the ground up, scaled, and often sold more than 1 business, have not only been CEOs but also #2s to CEOs (e.g. COO, CTO, CIO, CFO).

They have the line of sight of ”been there, done that,” assurance that what I’m experiencing is a part of the journey, and a heads up for what’s likely to come next though remaining open for anything.

They have also been the most impactful to help me get out of my own way, have that mindset shift to not be in all the things, stop being the bottleneck in my business, and grow in comfort and readiness to create space for other dynamic leaders at Mirror Group.

Business Banker

Meets Quarterly, more frequently when actively assessing financing needs, seeking capital, and setting up new business banking accounts

Biggest Burning Question
Thank you for setting up that new vendor payment account for us. Accounting processes are running more smoothly and financial forecasting is more robust now that we can more easily segregate vendor expenses from employee expenses. Now, can you tell me more about contract spend-down and investment accounts?

Stephanie’s Note Mindelyn is clearly wearing the CEO hat (rather than, say, the subject matter expert hat) and focusing on sustainable growth in super strategic directions (profit sharing!) that align with her values.

And it’s really hard to do that all by yourself.

Everybody – Mindelyn, you, me – we all need a crew at our back that can advise us through our own thoughts and worries and hopes. I see too many entrepreneurs who rely on their employees or contractors for this advice. And that’s inappropriate. That’s not their role. In fact, it’s way beyond their pay grade.

You have to find an external posse, who has expertise in your particular area of need. Actually, in all 7 areas of need.

Who makes up your Scale and Sustain Seven? Do you have any gaps to fill?