Nobody puts Rosa Miller in the corner and if anyone dare try, she’d more than prove that her aspirations and resulting end goals are never too far apart.
That’s the message that Miller delivered at the last Women In Business (WiB) lunch in Prince Rupert.
Miller, the soon-to-be past president of the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce, and project controls manager for BG Canada’s Prince Rupert LNG project, delivered an inspired tale of her determined climb to the top of the business ladder — and how she is still climbing.
“I cannot tell you how many times I was told, ‘You can’t do that, you have kids’. I’m well aware of that fact,” Miller said with a just-watch-me expression.
Her family is the backbone of her success, and the reason she does it all. Her husband of 20 years and counting supports her ambitions.
Between the two of them they sorted out a schedule where she could work during the day, he would take care of their two boys, and then she would take over in the evenings when he worked.
“At the end of the day, being proud of what you’re able to do and having people behind you that are proud of what you can do is absolutely amazing,” she said.
At the beginning of her career, when she was working as a legal secretary and bookkeeper at the credit union she caught wind of the Chamber of Commerce.
“I was very curious, what do they do at these meetings, this secret old boys club? What can I do to get involved, what can I do to help the business community?” Miller said.
She started attending the chamber lunches and when the opportunity arose to grab a seat on the board, she went for it. But she was irritated when it seemed that the men were simply allowing her to be on the board because no one else wanted to do it.
“I wanted to run the show after that,” she said. “Maybe it’s because they said I couldn’t do it, maybe it was because they said I shouldn’t do it, or maybe its because I knew I could make a difference.”
It didn’t take long. Within six months she was on the executive and then she became the first vice-president of the chamber.
Then last April, she became the sixth female president in 108 years. Miller demonstrated to a room full of women, and Keith Lambourne, who is taking over as president on April 20, how she embraced her role as a business leader.
Over the past year she said she worked hard to make sure she was taken seriously.
One of the highlights included a trip to Juneau, Alaska for the Southeast Conference with Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain and other community leaders.
She spoke with pride of being a contributing part of the conversations on the Alaska Marine Highway, trade and business opportunities with Canada’s neighbour. She also met with the Governor Bill Walker and transportation commissioner.
Miller also joined the Rotary Club, an international organization that tries to create positive change in the community. In March, she was given the Paul Harris Fellow award for her contributions to the community.
She is also an executive member of the newly formed Women’s Leadership Network, which aims to achieve gender equity and to encourage women to be active participants in the Northwest.
Confident, sassy and seemingly full of boundless energy — even with a cold, Miller summed up her year as president with a hint of what she might set her sights on next … since 1910, there has only been one female mayor of Rupert, she stated.