In our Females & Finances series, inspirational women leaders from Madison and Milwaukee share their words of wisdom for women who are trying to manage their finances and own it in their everyday lives. Know someone who has a great story to share? Send nominations to Updates@summitcreditunion.com.
This month, meet Amber Miller, project director of the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), whose perseverance and hard work helped her get to the top, while empowering other women to do the same.
- What does “owning it” mean to you?
It means that I own my successes, my mistakes, my past and my future. Sometimes “owning it” can be scary because it might take you out of your comfort zone. Other times it might feel like you’re on top of the world because the team you lead exceeded their goals on a project. As my career advances, I find “owning it” becoming easier because I want to show that all my hard work is meaningful and impactful to my local community.
- Tell us about your personal and professional journey and how you got where you are today.
I grew up in a single-parent household where my mom had to work two full-time jobs to support my sister and me. It was her strong work ethic that got me to where I am today by always pushing hard and moving forward. I graduated with an undergrad and two master’s degrees within seven years while working full-time. It was hard at times, but I knew I really wanted to work with a company that was mission-driven and community focused. Starting at WWBIC in 2010 gave me the opportunity to work in the non-profit field, and within two years I was promoted to regional project director. Every day I get to support and guide our clients, and it’s the best feeling in the world, knowing I helped them.
- What are the most important lessons you’ve learned about finances?
Plan for the unknown! You never know when your car might need repairs or an unexpected emergency will come up. Always have a cushion in your savings account that you can go to, if needed. This will also alleviate any stress on you trying to think of ways to come up with the money.
- What resources/strategies help you manage your money?
I’m a Wisconsin Saver, which is an initiative through the Consumer Federation of America. This no-cost resource emails and texts me savings tips and resources, which have been very beneficial over the past eight years. I’m also a big fan of the “Needs vs. Wants” method. When I’m shopping and see something that I feel like I want to buy, I think to myself, “Do I need it or want it?” If it’s more of a “want,” I will give myself a few days to think about it and then make a decision to buy it or not. About 90 percent of the time, I don’t go back for it!
- What’s your favorite quote from an inspirational woman?
"One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself." - Lucille Ball