During her time as chief development officer for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Janet Miller saw the creation of 93,000 new jobs and the recruitment of some 275 companies to Nashville. Janet Miller is now the CEO and Nashville Market Leader for Colliers International. She tells Brand Wise why Nashville is hot, and we are not talking chicken here!
1. We have heard you say that Nashville is a powerful brand. Why do you think so?
I do think that Nashville is a powerful brand, and I think it is one of the few cities in the country that have such a powerful – and AUTHENTIC brand. Where ever you go around the country, when you tell people that you are from Nashville, they break out into a smile. People love this place. And the Music City image is an amazing brand to have, and serves us well, even if we are ‘pitching’ the city for other things like business relocation. Because people recognize that at the root of all things Nashville is creativity – companies and people crave creativity. And Nashville has it in spades
2. Do other powerful brand associations make our city brand stronger? What are they?
There are literally hundreds of other powerful brands that call Nashville home that reinforce that authentic, creative, genuine spirit of Music City. Brands as widely divergent from each other as Jack Daniels, Goo Goos, the Grand Ole Opry, Gibson Guitars, and the Bluebird. And in recent years, you have enormous international brands like Nissan, Bridgestone, even Beretta who are calling Nashville home. The common theme – authenticity, quality, not trying to be something that we aren’t.
3. Tell us a little about the amazing growth that is going on in Nashville.
So Nashville has been a bit of a rocket ship for the past three or four years. We have led the nation in job growth for three of the past four years; over 30,000 new people every year decide to pack up their lives and their dreams to move into this place. And we continually rank in ‘top tens’ – no matter what the category. Friendliest cities; best cities for careers; best travel destinations; best cities for young professionals; best cities for tech jobs; even “manliest cities in America”. Not too sure about that one, but we’ll take it. Oh – and best looking cities in America. We just ranked in the top ten for that one too.
4. What has made Nashville and Janet Miller such a good couple? How has Nashville shaped your career?
I am a big believer that if you can find the intersection of what you are passionate about, what you are good at, and what you can make a living at – that your life will be successful. And my life has exceeded my wildest dreams because I found a job for 21 years – heading up economic development for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce – that sat right in that sweet spot. I moved 4 months ago to become CEO of Colliers International Nashville office – one of the largest commercial real estate brokerage firms in town and in the nation – and, shall I say………lightning has struck twice. I cannot think of a more fun, challenging way to impact Nashville’s growth than being in the thick of the real estate development wave.
5. Is Nashville a good place for working women?
My belief is that if you are smart and work hard as a woman in Nashville, the sky is the limit. My role here at Colliers is a pretty non-traditional role for a female. In fact, a lot of media noise was made when I moved to this role because it really hadn’t been done in one of the large brokerage firms here before. But this is a town that embraces hard work and creativity, and I can name 100 amazing women right now who are SHAPING this city. It is super exciting to be in the midst of that.
6. What excites you about your career at this stage?
Every day I am learning something new in this new position, and I get to be part of building an amazing culture. I care about making Colliers the place in town that people are banging the doors down so that they can come to work here every day. And that excites me.
7. What makes a good vacation for Janet Miller?
Pure relaxation, the ability to get unchained from my “handheld device”, the companionship of my husband, a good bottle of wine, a great bed, and perhaps the sound of the ocean crashing outside the window. I’m headed to Mexico soon, and plan on seeking out every single one of those items, and maybe even, a shot or two of good tequila.