Liana Miller, the Marketing and Communications Planner at General Mills, first got our attention through her amazing online portfolio, lianatmiller.com. Her passion and drive are what makes her our #WCW:
1. What's your story? What makes you unique?
Born into a big fat Cuban family in Miami, then moved to California, Atlanta, South Carolina and now I'm here in Minneapolis. I have 3 siblings who are my ride or dies, a tremendous mother who taught me everything and then some, and a pet rabbit named North. I started college as a pharmacy major (??) and ended up falling in love with advertising during my senior year. I landed an amazing gig in marketing at General Mills, where I manage a few cool brands like Hamburger Helper and Progresso Foods. (Part of my personal story would have to mention the 800 pounds I've gained working at a food company; you thought there was a lot of free food in college?)
All of the places that I've lived have shaped me into who I am today; I've been a West Coaster, Southern, Cuban, Midwestern mama. I love how I've acquired a very eclectic taste. But I've also learned to embrace many kinds of people. Being the new girl opens your eyes to the first impressions you make and how likable you are as a friend or colleague...it's helped me refine who I am.
2. What motivates you?
Good ideas. There's nothing more exciting than a really clever joke, a business proposition, design or good music. When someone, or myself, comes up with a good idea, it's energizing to strategize the ways that one could make that idea come to life. Sometimes it's a puzzle to solve, other times it just comes to you...but I love the mental exercise. And I love to entertain; there's something invigorating about making someone laugh.
3. Who is a hero of yours?
*cliche* My mom. There's nobody's opinion that I respect more than hers. She's full of wisdom in every situation. So lame yet effortlessly cool. Selfless beyond compare. And I swear the woman doesn't sleep. My mom always pushes me to stay true to myself, and challenges me when I've begun to settle. It's the greatest thing anyone can do for you. People worry they're becoming like their mother, but I would want nothing more. She's also my biggest cheerleader, almost like Amy Poehler in Mean Girls video taping Regina at the Christmas talent show. Just far more intelligent.
4. What's your future plan? Your goals?
I suppose this is taboo, but I don't really have dreams of climbing a corporate ladder or going down in history. I am very passionate about advertising and visual branding; it's everyday art. A goal of mine is to be an integral part of creating a game-changing ad. Injecting emotion, wit or thoughtfulness into the mundane ads that we're practically required to watch these days is my idea of doing the world some justice.
5. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
"Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it"- Julia Child. There's nothing more satisfying than pinpointing what geeks you out or makes you unique, then centering your life around that pursuit. It takes a lot of introspection to identify what excites your soul or fuels your flame, and sometimes it takes a whole lifetime. But always chase after it. Maybe it's not your day job, but make it your side hustle.
6. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?
Culture. I am a major proponent for getting out and traveling, experiencing people, seeing different landscapes, eating weird foods and preserving the things that make us different in a good way. There's such a huge world out there; even within our own country, there's so much to witness. It blows me mind to think that humans have been living all over the globe, in huts or hotels, mansions or hammocks for thousands of years. There's endless variety within humankind and that fascinates me. With that being said, I am beyond proud of my Cuban heritage and feel strongly about keeping that alive.
7. What's one of the coolest things you've ever done?
For my 6th grade student council campaign speech, I made paper bag hand puppets (like the ones in the Fandango commercials) that looked like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast. I changed the lyrics to the theme song and rapped my campaign speech in front of the whole school. I was totally shameless. But I won.
8. Anything we haven't asked that you'd like to talk about.
Don't take yourself so seriously. Don't be afraid to laugh at yourself (i.e. my 6th grade campaign speech). And don't forget social media is all a facade...you're cool just the way you are. Hashtag no filter.
If you'd like to reach out to Liana Miller for mentorship opportunities, you can reach her here.