Over the years, the definition of leader has drastically changed, from just being a prominent figure in the company to a multi-skilled leader. To meet the current demands and need of the market, a leader needs to on his toes 24×7. With diverse industry background and experience in product management, business development, marketing and communications, Ilissa Miller, CEO and founder of iMiller Public Relations wants to take her passion and help many more companies find their corporate message and key differentiators to propel them and get their fair share of voice in the market.
Our team of Mirror Review interviewed Ilissa to further understand her role as leader and about her company. Below are the excerpts from an insightful interview.
In the highly competitive market, what is that unique quality that makes you as a company stand out from your competitors?
Firstly, I would like to brief you about my company. iMiller Public Relations (or iMPR) is a public relations and marketing B2B consulting firm focused on the communication infrastructure sector. Coming back to the question, I feel it is impossible to differentiate your message and brand when you don’t have a unique perspective. There are many ways in which, we as a company are different from others. Our expertise and our dedication to the ethical standard are the two unique qualities. Too often, we see other firms representing multiple companies that sound very much the same. The relationship with your PR and marketing firm is sacred. Companies share insights into strategy, vision, and competitive game plans. I feel, if a marketing firm is representing a competitor and doing the same thing for every company, your share of voice and message will immediately be diluted, and no one will know who your company really is.
Listing Top Five Items to Accomplish In the Day
So, being a CEO and founder of the iMPR, how you describe your daily routine?
Absolutely! It’s tough to be in the CEO’s shoes, especially when you have to manage everything and keep cool. To keep my clear head, every day I create a list of the top five items I want to accomplish in the day. It could be a project, task or new initiative that I am working on. I find this to be a great way to accomplish what I know the company and its clients as a whole need, rather than having more individual tasks dictate how and where I spend my time. I have a running list of projects and initiatives at all times, which allows me to shift priorities based on the needs of the business and communicate these with my management team regularly on our weekly calls. It also helps me knock out the items I need to without distracting myself with new initiatives. I am about completing the task – not simply starting and creating new ones.
Focuses on Execution
It’s tough to be in the leader’s shoes. Please share your experiences on leadership and have any of your personal experiences helped you to become a good leader?
As both a leader and an individual contributor, I believe that my individual contributions are stronger than my ability to lead. I focus on listening, understanding, clarifying and then executing. Typically, I am unable to effectively execute something if I do not understand what is needed. So, I must take the time to understand the goal of a project when I have my clients and team available to be sure I leverage that time wisely. Many people make assumptions on initiatives, which as a result slow down the ability to execute if the assumptions made are incorrect. Teaching this to my team is one of my leading passions. It helps with everything we do from time management to effectiveness and ultimately the purpose – why are we doing and what we’re doing?
Celebrating Milestones of Every Individuals
A good company culture lifts the morale of the entire company. It motivates everyone including the leaders. Please help us to know about your company culture.
Our entire company is remote. This makes creating a company culture quite a challenge. There are a few things we do that help bring us together. For example, we celebrate milestones for individuals in the company by hosting virtual video parties! Everyone is notified and invited and encouraged to make them festive (dress a certain way, prepare a certain type of food or drink, put up a fun background for their video chat, etc.). We have happy hours, baby showers and more. Providing the team with tools for personal and professional growth is also a passion of ours. We are in the process of offering video-based stress relief yoga two times a week to help provide the team with exercises – even just for five minutes a day – to remind them to take breaks and to focus on themselves.
Embracing Failure With Continues Evaluation
The great Albert Einstein once said, “Failure is success in the process.” As a leader of your strata, how would you embrace your failures and what is your learning from it?
This is a great question because failure is inevitable. I embrace it both by continually evaluating and working to our firm’s strengths and ensuring we as a company continue to provide services that leverage the collective team’s capabilities. We pride ourselves on not being everything to everyone – nor can we with our strong ethical responsibilities to our clients. This means identifying where our insights and capabilities may not be, or have not been, of best use to the client and being transparent about those while delivering strong outcomes in all other areas and continuing to hone our skills. Being honest about change and conscientious about how we adapt is a key way that my team and I work to embrace our failures and ensure we are continually offering our best and most strategic work to those that entrust their brand to us. It helps us learn where we may not be as strong as we previously were while ensuring we set in place best practices to empower new opportunities moving forward.
Publishing the Best Practices
To end the interview, please tell us about the future plans of the company.
By running my business over the past eight plus years, I am aware of all of the initiatives we have done and continue to do to help the team grow and learn daily. We regularly revisit our training and communications materials and tools to strengthen the team’s capabilities and amplify goals to the team over and over again. This process and the materials that are generated from it have created an opportunity for us to share our experience and insights differently with the market. As a result, we are going to publish all of our best practices and make them available to our clients as a transparent tool. It will take the mystery out of our approach while providing insights into how we think and approach our clients’ needs. The market will be able to purchase these both for their own use and to help them know what to hire us for.