'Imperfect' ProYo CEO inspires women to step up
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Posted by: Rufino Cabang
Jane Miller, CEO of ProYo Frozen Yogurt, shared her
personal success story
at the NEW Denver fall learning event.
"I’ve made more mistakes than things I’ve done right,” Jane Miller, CEO
of ProYo Frozen Yogurt told more than 80 NEW members and supporters at the NEW
Denver fall learning event, Oct. 29, 2015 at Wynkoop Brewing Company. "But
I never made the same mistake twice. Each one was a learning opportunity."
Miller shared her personal story during her keynote address "Career
Success is Not about Luck; How to Create Your Serendipity at Work." The
most senior-level woman at every company she has worked for over the last 20
years, Miller considers her poor single-parent upbringing "lucky" —
noting it's one of the reasons she received a full college scholarship — and
admits that she didn't get to the top by being perfect.
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Once under the impression that she had to be a superhero, Miller now
counsels women to leverage their strengths. Instead of feeling pressured to be
right all the time, or know all the answers, Miller tells leaders to "do what
you’re good at and you’ll be passionate and engaged."
Miller recommends creating a network that functions as your personal
advisory board. "It’s important to get other opinions, but ultimately you can
decide what to do with the feedback," said Miller, who added that
"everything is a choice. Don't compare yourself to someone else."
As a mentor, Miller finds that most women don’t ask her about the business
side of her career. Instead, they want to discuss "interpersonal stuff,"
such as how to deal with a bad boss or a difficult coworker. Miller cautioned
NEW members against overreacting.
She once derailed a male-coworker's career over an insensitive comment
he made, which led to his firing. "It’s important to think about how your
reactions can impact somebody else," Miller said.
Time, and open conversation, nurtured the healing. "A year after the
incident, he and I had a chance to talk about what happened. It turns out he
didn’t even remember saying what he said, and I discovered this guy and I
actually had a lot in common. We ended up getting married.”
How you deal with setbacks and misperceptions can be a key to success.
After landing a prestigious leadership position at age 36, Miller soon learned
of a rumor that she had slept with someone to get there. It shook her
confidence, and she vowed to inspire strength in fellow women leaders by
writing a book about the experience: Sleep
Your Way to the Top (And Other Myths about Career Success).
Companies sending delegations to the event include Atkins Nutritionals
Inc., Boulder Brands, Frito-Lay Inc., King Soopers and WhiteWave Foods Company.