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Leadership Columbus: Julie Miller


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Julie Miller works in the family services department at the United Way Center.
Jade Sharp|For The Republic
Julie Miller works in the family services department at the United Way Center. Jade Sharp|For The Republic

Julie Miller works in the family services department at the United Way Center.
Jade Sharp|For The Republic
Julie Miller works in the family services department at the United Way Center. Jade Sharp|For The Republic


Date of birth: Sept. 17, 1979.

Place of birth: Elkhart.

Title: Executive director of Family Service Inc.

Has lived in Columbus for: Seven years.

Education: Bachelor’s in psychology from IU South Bend, master’s in social work from IUPUI.

Family: Husband, David; 4-year-old son, 9-month-old daughter.

Hobbies: Chasing my kids; family activities such as going to the park, walking, riding bikes; reading nonfiction (when I have time) and going to football games, as my husband coaches at Columbus East High School.

What was your first job?

In high school I worked retail at Old Navy and in an office of an importer/exporter.

What primary lessons did you learn from those jobs?

I learned that my education was going to be important because I wanted to work with people.

How did your leadership skills develop?

In my first leadership role, I helped build a boys and girls club in Nappanee, hiring staff, figuring out activities and reaching out to people to get their kids involved. At Family Service I initially worked as a clinical therapist but also managed our home-based providers.

What are the primary leadership lessons you’ve learned?

Being in a leadership position does not mean that you know everything. A lot of my staff knows more than I do, so leaders have to realize that everyone can educate everyone else. It’s also important to stretch yourself and go outside of your comfort zone to develop professionally. I think as a leader it is important to help support and guide your agency and employees in making sound decisions that are in the best interest of the agency, clients and community. Also, having passion toward the work we do, our mission and agency, is very important. Leaders should be confident in their decisions and compassionate toward their employees.

Q: What do you like best about your job?

A: The family atmosphere. We have a good group of people, a dedicated staff and our work, helping families reach their highest potential; and helping parents get their children back or providing them with the help they need to not get into the system in the first place is very rewarding.

Q: What do you like least?

A: Lack of funding. As a nonprofit, it is difficult to find the funds to make sure that the community’s needs are being met. We have several programs that would address certain needs in the community but lack the resources to implement them.

Q: What advice do you have for people who are just now starting out in their careers?

A: Try to find out what motivates you and incorporate that in your career. Also, it’s important to give back and help others. You never know when you might be the one who needs some of the services that are being provided.

Q: What’s your favorite place to visit and why?

A: Our lake cottage in Union, Mich. It’s away from home but near family.

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