Meet Gina Miller, Vice President & General Manager of Entertainment One Nashville, Music After a year long unique internship, Miller accepted a part time job as a radio and retail coordinator. From there, moving departments landed her experiences working: label relations, marketing, promotions, as a manager, director, then VP.
Miller now manages the day to day operations, signings, production, plus a growing publishing division. 14 years later, as Vice President and General Manager, Music / Entertainment One Nashville includes: eOne Music, Light Records, & IndieBlu Music. In this role, for any genre; only a handful of women currently, historically, African American or otherwise have occupied this seat. Gina is a member of many organizations including NARAS, SAGMA, and NABFEME. She gives her time presently on multiple boards and doing philanthropy work.
Success is such a personal concept — we all see and define it differently. How did you personally define your success?
Success really is a personal concept and should be defined by one’s corporate and/or personal goals and parameters. Success will absolutely be different [for everyone] depending on the differences in circumstances and tasks. Ultimately, I measure success by seeing if I reached or achieved what was desired or set for me to accomplish.
What advice would you give women who want to enter your side of the industry. What are your top three tips?
Be yourself. Be prepared. Be gracious.
I have learned that these three are applicable to every side of the industry and in life. Being myself is the best and only thing that I can be. My gender and color are obvious walking into the room, so number one, being my truest self eliminates the concern and stress of trying to imitate who I think anyone wants me to be. Who I am is enough, and if not or if they want me to be someone else that helps me quickly understand: I am not the person for the job. Know who you are and be that.
Number two — know what you can do and be clear about whatever has been assigned to you, or asked of you, and do that. If you walk into the room being prepared, then you can eliminate or surmise other issues that may be present. The bottom line is people want to know they have someone on the job who can do the job, deliver, and get results. Do what you say you can do, while being the best of who you are.
Be gracious simply means being considerate and kind. Sometimes people are more willing to give you a chance. Be patient when you make a mistake or [people may] consider you for a job that perhaps they had a different type of personality or talent in mind all because you were kind. Work can be time-consuming, stressful, and high energy. Most people would rather spend their time building with people who are — at least [be] pleasant and peaceful. Which should not be confused with passive. Be nice. Kindness sometimes goes farther than talent.
How have the personal and professional experiences in your life contributed to your success today?
Without a doubt, I believe that my experiences as a musician and vocalist, and knowing what it takes to be a performing artist, helps me to empathize with our artists — as professionals, creatives, and people. I knew our catalog before I started working here because it was music I owned and loved. I felt I had an advantage because not only do I know the artists and their music, but I had the chance to be a fan and consumer myself before being in the role of creating products for consumers. For generations, my family has been full of educators and entrepreneurs. I am an educator and entrepreneur, too. Teaching and treating our company (and artists’ business) as it’s my own is critical when making decisions. Both of those experiences personally and professionally have definitely helped shaped the executive that I am.
Can you share with us some of the challenges you’ve faced?
I have experienced life like we all do. One of the biggest things that helps you to have compassion is experiencing loss and understanding how those situations can make one feel. During my tenure here, I’ve gone through divorce, loss of family and loved ones, and being a working, single mother definitely has had its challenges. Of everything I can reflect on these things: dealing with and managing death, loss, hurt, sickness, grief, disappointment and losses from personal to business have been my toughest days. Other than that, sometimes our success is dependent on other people. Those are still disappointing moments — when you’ve done your part and the rest or the part that defines your success depends on someone else, and they don’t deliver. Those moments can be difficult, but you learn how to manage and handle them all.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
I would say the two most valuable lessons are: There will be disappointments. Clarity: People that you love, like, and care about will disappointment you. Sometimes knowingly or unknowingly. And secondly, I really try to be the best listener possible and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I have learned that every problem that is brought to me is not about me. Every problem might not even need a solution from me, but everyone who brings me a problem can be fully heard and expect sincere, undivided attention of me.
What do you think is the most pressing issue women in the music industry face in your region?
I don’t know if this is regional, or universal but I do think one of the biggest things I face as a woman, particularly as an African American woman who works in a niche genre, is that I am incapable of reaching or stretching past that. From opportunities to conversation, I don’t want to be limited to being an expert or wise in only that area, especially without the opportunity to express what I know or expand who I am, what I can do, or what you know about me. There are a lot of things that I know I can do and there are lot of things that I absolutely know beyond what I am paid to do. I believe in me, so what I need mostly is this: See me. Hear me. Respect Me. Include me.
Who inspires you, and why?
· Oprah Winfrey
· Tomeka Hart
· Cathy Hughes
· The Women in My Family — Mom, Sisters, Grandmothers, Aunts
You can learn skills, but you cannot teach passion. You can learn rules, manners, systems, protocol, policy, how to plan, but you cannot teach personality. It was the women in my family who helped me develop my personality, talents and gifts. It was those same women who modeled being passionate about their role in the world. Oprah, Tomeka, and Cathy are strong women who know who they are and get things done. The same goes for the women in my family…and it was those women who taught me everything I know and shaped a lot of what has made me who I am.
What do you look forward to accomplishing at Entertainment One in the next year?
I am looking forward to meeting the goals that my company has set for me. That is my priority first and foremost. Beyond that, I am enthusiastic and challenged to do new and exciting things with veteran artists, emerging artists, young executives, and women. For me, doing things that matter, while making history and being able to do more things that we, as women have not done or been considered to do. I am honored to be on a path, where I can create rules, platforms, opportunities, and be a resource that creates products and build doors and/ or houses that will potentially open up, introduce and be enjoyed by the world.
Tell us more about how you got involved in Entertainment One? What is your ultimate goal and what do you need to take it to the next level?
I am a musician and licensed music teacher, who holds a music degree. I walked in and asked to do a very unique internship. After a year of being an intern, at what was then our previous company name, I took a job as a radio and retail coordinator. Moving departments landed experiences for me in label relations, marketing, and promotions, as a manager, director, then VP. Today, managing the day-to-day operations, signings, production, plus a growing publishing division. It is 14 years, almost 15 years later, and presently I am VP & GM of Entertainment One Nashville, which in our division includes: eOne Music, Light Records, & IndieBlu Music. I am not sure what’s next or what the next level is. I am working really hard to maximize my now, inside my company and outside. I go to sleep empty every night. My ultimate goal is do the best work that I have ever done. I am in competition with me. I understand that what I do right now is also my legacy, not what will happen later. I am already very proud knowing that in my role, irrespective of genres; only a handful of women currently, historically, African American or otherwise have occupied this seat.
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