She Leads – With Ann Miller

Name: Ann Miller

Job Title: Client Solutions Manager, CAI

What would you tell your younger self? Do not be so worried about what everyone else thinks about you. Just do your thing and the others accept you or adjust. And NEVER stop learning!

What was your major in college? My major in college was Business Management, and I am currently working on a Master of Business Administration that my company supports. I started working in a salvage yard when I was 18 years old as a receptionist and I found the industry so interesting I pursued a career in it. The pursuit has taken me into many different categories of the business, from retail to wholesale, financing, administration, sales, and management. The best part of all my positions is the people I have been privileged to work with and for in this fascinating and evolving field.

What was your inspiration and what helped you become successful? How do you define success? My inspirations come from so many different people, but it all started with having loving, encouraging parents. I also looked to teachers and friends. Sometimes it’s the person sitting next to you on a plane, who shares a piece of advice that resonates. Much of what defines success to me is showing up every day with a great attitude and exhibiting effort in all aspects of what you do. Try to always improve what you do and look forward. Be a critical thinker. Make sure to show appreciation to others along the way! And have fun!

How do you balance your work and personal life? Often times one has more importance, and we’re curious to know how you’ve handled the balance. Handling a work-life balance is a continual process. You have to examine priorities on a regular basis. Time management is crucial, as well as sometimes having to say “no” to extra commitments. There is only so much of you to go around. I handle the balance by making sure I take care of myself first so I can take care of the people, animals, and things that matter most in my life. Think of the scenario when the oxygen mask falls from the ceiling of the plane. The instructions are to put the mask on yourself first, then the others around you. You do no one any good if you do not take care of yourself first. Figure what your “recharge” is and make sure to make time for it.

What is your favorite quote? “The harder I work, the luckier I am. :-)”

What’s your favorite part of your job and why? Ask me any day, and the answer will be the same. It is the people that make the difference. I am most rewarded when I help a client be successful in his or her business.

What is your favorite hobby? I love to trail run with my two dogs, Stinky and Layla. The activity recharges my soul and brings me closer to nature and my dogs. It also gives me “think” time. The world is busy, and I feel too often we are overstimulated by noise. The woods are quiet and peaceful, and allow one to hear oneself.

What advice do you want to give the next generation of women leaders? Read the book “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership” by Kouzes and Posner. It is based on the following: 1. Model the Way. 2. Inspire a Shared Vision. 3. Challenge the Process. 4. Enable Others to Act. 5. Encourage the Heart. Also, have a vision of where you want to go. It will help you to overcome obstacles in the way and hold on when times are tough.

What does leadership mean to you? My favorite style of leadership is transformational. The best definition I came across is as follows: According to Rouche (1989), “transformational leadership in terms of the ability of a leader to influence the values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors or others by working with and through them to accomplish the organization’s mission and purpose.” This style has helped me to tailor my own approach.

What’s your advice on mentoring? Listen more than you speak. Provide encouragement and opportunities, but the mentee still needs to find their own way.

What’s your favorite ice cream? LOL….it depends on the day, but I’m feeling pistachio today 🙂

Is there any other information that you think Girl Talk members would benefit from? One of the simplest, but most important things I have learned comes by way of my dogs. Every time I prepare to run them, they are excited for the chance to go. Why? Because every walk is an adventure! Life is an adventure, make every walk count.