Kim Miller is the chief executive officer of Boutique Brands, a holding company established to support online boutique retailers selling unique, fast-turning women’s apparel across a variety of platforms. In addition, Kim is a Women in Retail Leadership Circle member! We asked Kim some rapid-fire questions so you can get to know her better.
- What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
“Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson. I found this to be a challenging, thought-provoking narrative that forces us to re-look at race through a glaring lens.
- What’s a tip you have for productively leading a team while working from home?
My best advice is to combine empathy and flexibility with clear communication. It has been vitally important that, as leaders, we support our teams through one of the most challenging global crises of our lifetime. All of us are juggling multiple complexities in our lives right now. Making sure we provide flexibility and support is critical to our collective well-being. That said, I think good communication is a way of caring. Staying in touch with the team on a regular cadence has been vital to making sure everyone is OK, everyone understands expectations, and we are all clear on the business objectives.
- What’s a mistake you made early on in your career?
Not advocating for myself. I thought that letting my work speak for itself would be enough to move my career along. I’m relieved to see that the next generation of women are less apprehensive about asking for what they feel they deserve.
- What’s the toughest part of being in charge?
I feel a deep sense of responsibility for my team, which isn’t “tough,” but it’s an ingrained part of how I manage, and I take it very seriously.
- What’s the best way you motivate team members?
I care about my team, and I hope I show them that every day. I think the lessons from 2020 have really crystalized — for me at least — that caring and clarity are great foundations to keep the team engaged, learning and thriving regardless of the macro issues at hand.
- What woman inspires you right now and why?
My friends inspire me every day.
- What are you looking forward to the most for the retail industry in 2021?
Retail employees getting back to work. People are a huge asset to retailers, and making sure we get our employees working again is critical.
- What’s one thing you look for when interviewing a potential job candidate?
I always look for evidence of self-learning, curiosity and a sense of humor.
- What’s something that you learned about yourself in the past year?
That I need to see people (and not on Zoom)!!!!!!!
- What’s your favorite podcast?
The Hidden Brain on NPR by Shankar Vedantam
- What values are most important to you as a leader?
Integrity, honesty and showing up like you mean it every day.
- What’s the most important thing people should know about you?
I take my job very seriously, but I don’t take myself very seriously. I find that if you take yourself too seriously, you’re likely in for a rude awakening somewhere along the way.
- What is one habit you adopted while working from home that you’d like to keep with you as you return to the office?
Exercising every day.
- How would you describe yourself in a single sentence?
I’m a parent with a fantastic career and a great sense of humor.
- What’s your favorite app?
New York Times Crossword Puzzle
- What do you do to recharge?
Exercise and reading
- What is your biggest accomplishment?
Raising two amazing boys
- What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Advocate for yourself and have a good sense of humor.
- What gets you up in the morning?
Coffee and knowing I’m making a difference
- How would you describe your leadership style?
Adaptable. Different organizations need different styles. I’m fortunate to have had a few great bosses in my past who modeled flexibility in style based on what the teams needed. Not every company culture is the same.