12 Questions with Megan Miller
Welcome to 12 Questions, a Q&A series where we pose the same set of 12 questions to intriguing folks at the intersection of insurance, risk management, commercial real estate, and digital innovation.
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1. What is the most interesting idea you’ve encountered in your world lately?
Companies using charitable giving to entice action from their constituents. For example, Redhand Advisors, publishers of the well-known RMIS Report, advertised that they would make a charitable donation each time someone completes their survey. They previously had raffled off high-end items such as iPads but realized through a consultant that charitable giving can provide more incentive. Happily for Spencer, we’re one of the beneficiaries this year!
2. Where do you think no one is looking right now?
I don’t think enough executives are closely looking at what’s happening in the middle ranks of their companies, from a personnel perspective. This is where you have a mixed bag of good and bad management styles, deviations in corporate culture, and a leaky diversity pipeline. Closely followed metrics tied to compensation can really incentivize middle managers to get on board with the company’s stated goals.
3. If you had a magic wand, what would you change about your industry?
I would love to see more diverse leadership at the very top of the industry – and not in 20 years, but now!
4. What’s the most rewarding part of what you do?
It’s all about the students! It is so energizing to visit campuses and meet our scholars at events, or even attend conferences and meetings virtually with them. Spencer does so much to support talent coming into the industry – it is my job to ensure that these ambitious, driven students are encouraged to stick with us and become future leaders via our scholarship program and the experiential learning opportunities we support, such as internships. The future is certainly very bright for insurance and risk management!
5. What do you envision the next 12 months will bring?
I’d be pretty popular if I could accurately guess this one! I think we will continue to find our way in this strange new world, merging new habits with old ones and taking the best of both as we go. In my fantasy future, a time of healing and unity awaits, with everyone being a little bit kinder, and various factions accepting that what we think so deeply divides us is not insurmountable. One can hope, right? But if we could get everyone vaccinated and start to move on from the pandemic, I’d surely settle for that.
6. What’s your favorite building? Why?
One of the most beautiful buildings I have had the pleasure of frequenting is the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue in Rüschlikon, Switzerland.
I love the clean, modern design of the hotel rooms and meeting spaces. The restaurant overlooking Lake Zurich offers breathtaking, quintessential views of the Swiss countryside, with alpine mountain peaks dropping off into the lake. The best part: the entire complex is dotted with high-end espresso machines, bowls of Swiss chocolates, and baskets of the most delicious in-season fruits.
7. Please dispel a myth or misconception about your work.
That the industry as a whole is doing enough to develop new talent. There is still so much to be done!
8. What are the tools, apps, or gadgets that you just can’t live without?
I have four small children, so we need cameras all over the house along with apps to view them so we can keep track of everyone! I am still amazed by the amount of havoc that an unsupervised two-year-old can wreak in a matter of seconds.
9. What’s your biggest pleasant surprise related to remote work?
I had been working remotely for quite a while pre-pandemic. My favorite perks are: having no commute and the ability to throw in a load of laundry between meetings (remember the four kids!).
10. What’s your favorite productivity tip for staying motivated and getting work done?
I’ve realized my biggest reason for procrastinating is because I’m not sure how to start or approach a task. Setting up a conversation to bounce ideas off a colleague or board member usually helps me get unstuck.
11. What or who do you read to keep informed?
12. Nominate 2 people who should answer this next. Why?
Marya is the immediate past chair of Spencer. She created the Executive Director role at Spencer and actively supported my candidacy. Since then, she has really knocked my socks off with her work ethic, ability to fundraise, and her kindness. In her day job, she is SVP, Distribution & Broker Partnerships at RT Specialty, and the sky is truly the limit for her upward career potential.
I worked for Sylvain at Swiss Re and he sets a very high bar for inspiring his team to reach their true potential. A proud supporter of diversity, Sylvain put together a team well-balanced in gender, race, and age. He always showcased his team’s accomplishments and never took credit for anyone else’s work. I really cannot thank both of them enough for the impact that they have had on my career.
Thank you to Fred Kipperman, Managing Director of Archipelago for inviting Megan to answer 12 Questions.
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Written by Megan Miller
Executive Director at Spencer Educational Foundation. Megan previously served as the Executive Director of the Sasamani Foundation, the Managing Director at Beecher Carlson, and the Head of Sales Effectiveness North America at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.