We had the good fortune of connecting with Margery Miller and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Margery, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
I want to be remembered as a woman who consistently worked to grow, learn and change and by doing so, inspired and encouraged women of all ages and backgrounds to do the same. I believe that women are the most powerful forces for change in the world, When we stand up, speak up and engage in an authentic, vulnerable and honest way, we give those around us the space and freedom to do the same. I want people to remember that I truly cared about the plight of women and girls around the world. And even though my main focus has been local, I believe that when we shine forth and speak our truth and take positive action to include and support others, it has a ripple effect that reaches far beyond our borders.

I am so grateful that I have lived long enough to see women of color being recognized for the value they bring. I am seeing the momentum of change for the break down of white supremacy and the patriarchal systems that have long prevented all of us from creating a society that works for ALL people, not just the privileged few. This may sound too political for you, but I’m talking here about humanity, not politics. We all have a responsibility to care for our fellow human beings and I want to be remembered as one who participated in that endeavor throughout her life. Encouraging others to shine and show up fully is my dream job in life.

What should our readers know about your business?
My primary business is the business of being Margery Miller. I have expressed that in a variety of ways: I started out in life wanting to be an actress, so studied drama and improv for many years. In 1967 it became evident that the Viet Nam war and racial injustice were the 2 most important issues of that time, so I joined the radical movement (Students for a Democratic Society) and engaged in all sorts of actions to move the needle. By 1971, I had become disenchanted with “The Movement” believing that violence wasn’t the way to promote change, so went to school to become a Montessori teacher.

After 6 years in Montessori, I went back into the business world to help my then husband file invoices in the manufacturers’ sales agency he and his father owned. (We sold heavy-duty commercial foodservice equipment) Within a year my father-in-law retired and I found myself building a business to support my husband, who was a great salesman, lousy businessman. I used my Montessori principles to build a business that empowered employees, encouraged growth and took great care of our customers and the manufacturers we represented. At the same time, I had started a coaching practice on the side and continued doing that as what we now call a “side hustle” with individuals who wanted help in seeing life in a more holistic way. I had started studying metaphysics during my Montessori training and continued seeking out teachers to help me continue my own spiritual growth. I learned to utilize my own intuitive insight to help others find their inner voice and grow.

In 1985, while still running my sales agency, I started doing business coaching, team building and people development with entrepreneurial companies–my first clients were my own doctor’s offices, and even customers of my sales agency who were fascinated with how I was able to build a company that really worked, where the employees were empowered and loved their jobs. I gradually realized that I was much better at management than doing outside sales of equipment, so I kept hiring the people who became the stars of the company and took a backroom approach to running the business and supporting them. By 1988, it became clear that my husband didn’t want to keep working in the company, so we divorced and by early 1989 agreed to a buyout. I continued to grow the business, and was able to also grow a successful coaching and consulting practice on the side. I taught hundreds of people how to build a business that runs itself, showing them how to work ON their businesses instead of IN their businesses.

By 2006, after 29 years, 2 of my sales guys decided they wanted to buy me out and came to me with a plan that felt workable and viable. I believed in their abilities and took a 10 year payout of 10% of their gross revenue each year, and was able to walk away from the stress of meeting payroll and dealing with relationships with manufacturers. It was a great opportunity for me! By that time, I was already consulting with Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, and continued that work along with other clients. I spun off my PeopleBiz Inc. program into a separate corporation after the sale of Miller & Associates and have been able to support myself and continue to travel, study and help others grow themselves and their businesses.

So, today, as I am 73, my business of being Margery includes more leisure time, more space, but still involves very meaningful work. I let go of the team building/people development work, and concentrate on doing individual and group coaching. I am able to volunteer my time with groups like the Dallas Entrepreneurship Center and do a weekly group coaching session for entrepreneurs. And as I mention in another question, I’m very involved in helping grow Count Me In Revival.

Was it easy? NO!!! When I started working in the commercial food service industry in 1977 the only women in that field were secretaries or order takers. It was quite challenging to be told that I was too aggressive or pushy when I was merely trying to service my customers. I was definitely an anomaly to the men who were used to being part of a good ole boy’s club in that industry. Fortunately, I was raised by a thoracic cardiovascular surgeon (my father) who taught me as a child and in my first job (in his office) that patients/clients deserve to be taken care of as if their situation were life or death–which in medicine, it frequently is! I learned to navigate conversations. I learned how to communicate in their values to get them to help me get what I needed. When I had a very difficult sales manager who consistently violated what would today be common business practices (making overtly sexist comments, accosting my sales women, etc.) I tried getting help from his superiors. When I was rebuffed (in 1991) I figured out how to be firm with him and not react to his immature behavior. I would get very quiet and say very little that would get me into conflict with him, but still get the results I needed.

I learned to pay much more attention to what people DO rather than what they SAY. I still have an element of innocence and desire to believe in others. I have had to temper that through the years and pay close attention in order to not get myself in situations that don’t work for me. I apply those principles in all my life, not just business. I learned that when you want something from someone, you can’t actually see them, all you can see is whether they do or do not give you what you want. Instead, it works better if I don’t need something from them. I create strategic alliances with people, and if it works for both of us, fine. If not, I move on. That enables me to see others more clearly, from an objective viewpoint.

I continue to be challenged in life, because without challenges, we stop growing. I consider the human experience to be challenging and welcome the opportunities presented to me to continue to learn. I intend to be driving my car and living on my own well into my late 90s with a positive mental attitude that welcomes both challenges AND support in my life. I learned the value of true friendship and understand that it starts at home. I am my own best friend, and I love myself unconditionally. It took a long time to get to that point. Yet, from this place in life, I see myself surrounded by friends and wonder family of choice people that reflect back to me the love I feel within myself–and are available for me to love and care about. I understand that we choose to be happy each minute of each day, and we can choose misery just as easily.

I am a student of the Napoleon Hill school that teaches the only thing we have absolute control over in life is our mental attitude. And mine works FOR me, not against me. I started the Great Girls Network (www.greatgirlsnetwork.org) as a “give back” to the world to give women a sacred sanctuary of space to speak up, get support from each other and access their inner voices and trust and believe in themselves. I sincerely hope it is sustainable and part of my legacy. I started the Great Girls Network book series with my first 2 books (see pictures) and I hope to continue with more women contributing.

Lastly, I believe gratitude is everything. I created a principle many years ago that guides me through my life: Gratitude, Appreciation and Self-Discipline are the keys to Freedom. Gratitude for what is, as it is. Appreciation which enhances that gratitude and includes all the individuals and elements in the universe that brought forth that for which I am grateful. Self-Discipline: I pay attention to what goes in my mind and out my mind, in my ears and out my mouth. I have found that to be hypervigilant about what I’m thinking, saying and doing frees me up from being overly concerned or affected by the words and actions of others–especially if they feel detrimental or hurtful. In other words, I fully understand that your opinion of me is none of my business. Which is why I stick to the Business of Being Margery.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Actually, you’re asking that question in the middle of a Pandemic! We are starting to open up some, so a couple of times a month I go to my favorite restaurant, Ziziki’s and eat with a friend or friends on the patio. I LOVE White Rock Lake. I grew up in an older established area of Dallas called Lakewood which borders White Rock. I spent many hours walking around it, driving around it, having picnics and parties there. I tell my son to scatter my ashes there once I’m no longer here. Although I’ve traveled many places in the world, I still love it there. I miss dinner parties around my big round table–and if we were in a non-pandemic state, I would host a dinner party for sure, and invite some of my truly fascinating friends. Getting to know great people creates the best time ever as far as I’m concerned! And I would host some small gatherings in the same vein. We used to do our Great Girls Network “Track” meetings in my living room, and I look forward to doing that again! There is something so warm and inviting about casual gatherings where people get to visit, graze the food and laugh with each other, finding joy in commonality. We have a wonderful Arts District at the edge of downtown Dallas–The Nasher sculpture garden, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Meyerson Symphony Hall, The Dallas Theater Center, The Winspear Opera House and depending on their tastes, I would look for opportunities share those venues. And I adore the Dallas Arboretum, where, no matter what time of year, we can find beautiful plants, flowers and restful scenes to feel tranquil and in touch with nature at its best.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

At the moment one of my closest working relationships is with Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence. The Founder, Nell Merlino, has been my client and friend for 16 years. Together we fully launched the Make Mine a $Million Business program, which morphed into other programs that helped urban women business owners and women veterans succeed in creating and sustaining valuable organizations. We are currently building Count Me In Revival (www.countmeinrevival.org) which we launched to help women pivot when we realized the devastating effect the Pandemic was having on women and their businesses. It started with a competition for grant money and has grown into a program providing coaching and other valuable resources to enable these businesses to sustain and grow. In addition to Nell, Alexandra Merlino, Sandi Webster and Libby Ladu are still involved in building this endeavor into a viable organization which will serve diverse and dynamic women for years to come. It is an honor to be a part of something so meaningful and helpful to women!

Website: www.greatgirlsnetwork.org; www.countmeinrevival.org; www.peoplebiz.com

Instagram: margery4444; greatgirlsnetwork

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/margerymiller

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.