FACILITYCalgary publisher Mark Kolke, in conversation with Patty Miller
October 16, 2018
She describes her work/job, career – as a philanthropic role in some ways, she’s helping people. On the surface it looks simply an HR function, but clearly her heart is in it. Repeat clients are her measuring stick …
Connecting with people hasn’t changed much, but the tools we use has changed a lot – and one of those ways, LinkedIn, is how I met Patty Miller. I don’t recall who clicked what first or who reached out first, and soon a conversation began, led to a meeting and to this interview, learning about her business ventures – Miller HR Solutions and InfluenceGenius. In short, head-hunter, consultant, coach. But as I learned over a long lunch, there is much more to Patty and her businesses than first meets the eye …
In the beginning – born in Edmonton to entrepreneurial parents, second youngest of four children (she has three brothers) she learned to stick up for herself and be highly competitive from an early age. While being an average student graduating from O’Leary High, working part-time in retail sales, earning a Business Administration Certificate from NAIT she was swimming, diving and travelling the world with Kupalo Ukrainian Dancers. Strength, it seems, is built in many parts in many ways.
Patty moved to Calgary to follow husband-to-be Greg Miller (they have two sons). Her resume includes telecom sales, GE Software, TRS Staffing, David Aplin, Adecco, Hinz … and then establishing her own shop. “One of those jobs was won in an elevator pitch, another was won because I offered to create a new business unit without an office – from the backroom.” As she told her story the element that struck me most was her explanation of times at TRS when she was doing too-good-a-job selling (they were having trouble recruiting fast enough to fill assignemens she was winning) – she was told to stop selling and start recruiting. Then things changed. She really liked recruiting! When Hinz was bought by Rockwell her job would have moved to Milwaukee. She opted to start her own shop and hasn’t look back …
Patty’s start-up was swift – she began pitching her Miller HR Solutions business model – sent just 15 emails, which landed her first five clients. That was nearly nine years ago. She admits of having ‘hired thousands of people’ in her career – a role she still plays in various ways, but her eyes light up and she has a lot to say when it comes to discussing her coaching work, helping leaders be better leaders.
To say she is demonstrative/pushy would be overstating, a bit. To say she is confident, strong and direct would be more accurate …
Why are you successful? “I’m tenacious and I believe in myself. I bring lots of value and there is nobody else ‘just like me’ .”
What has held you back? “When I was very busy I didn’t see the need to diversify – and the recession hit me – but that experience, and the learning is behind me, and part of me now.”
How do you see your business – HR consulting, leadership coaching – going forward over the next quarter?
… business is very good right now – I’m starting to feel slammed. That’s a good thing, and a good indicator that things are getting better out there. Some of our clients are wanting more and they have a budget, so the short term is looking bright.
And over the next five years?
… we are all using more technology tools – but the basics won’t change much. My work will continue to be more involved with leadership development and coaching. One field, for example, which can’t be automated is sales – so I see growth in that arena …
What qualities distinguish your preferred colleagues, collaborators and suppliers?
… I challenge my clients to choose people who are good at what they do and can come to grips with solving problems. I’m economical – frugal with my clients’ money, as I am with my own. I shop on sale!
What distinguishes you that causes people to choose Patty Miller/Miller HR Solutions, and why do they do business with you, why have they hired you, over your competitors?
My enthusiasm doesn’t just mean happy times – my experience is really broad. I’m effective, I love to stretch and I call it as I see it. My clients like that. I add value and my rates are fair. Professional, personality, dedicated to my craft.
How would you describe your leadership/management style?
… I want everyone to be empowered, to feel fulfilled – to have ownership in their work. Firm and fair.
… I feel I do. I work for a great boss – me, and she lets me take ski-days!
What do you lose sleep over, what do you worry about?
… I don’t have a lot of stress. I’m concerned about my husband’s new business launch, and seeing our kids launch, but I wouldn’t describe it as worry.
Who or what influenced you most – that has made a difference in your life, or that was a major turning point?
… moving to Calgary – leaving family behind and forging a life and family; having to fight for my candy with three brothers made me strong – but I hated the hand-me-down clothes! And, my parents had a bankruptcy – that had a huge impact on me, learning to start over and live frugally. There is no ‘princess factor’ in me. And I’m a #metoo person, like so many women – I was sexually harassed in a job when I was very young.
… run, bike, downhill ski, scuba – we go to Bonaire in the Caribbean.
What do you read?
… lots of leadership books; love Good to Great, GRIT, YouTube and TedTalks – audio books too, and on my Kindle.
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