Education: Business leaders and employees alike must get educated on experiences not of their own to prime their minds for relating with people that come from a different background.
As part of our series about ‘5 Steps We Must Take To Truly Create An Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society’ I had the pleasure to interview Kevin Miller.
Kevin Miller is the Co-Founder and CEO of GR0 and The Word Counter. He is a growth marketer with an extensive background in SEO, paid acquisition, and email marketing. Kevin studied at Georgetown University, worked at Google for several years, is a Forbes contributor, and has been a head of growth and marketing at several top-tier startups in Silicon Valley.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to ‘get to know you’. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
I grew up in Daytona Beach, FL and I have 3 other siblings, including a twin sister. My father was/is an entrepreneur and so I became accustomed to the road less traveled from a young age.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Shortcut Your Startup: Speed Up Success with Unconventional Advice from the Trenches, by Carter Milliken Reum and Courtney Reum — This book provided a tremendous amount of insight into entrepreneurship that helped me give my business a competitive edge. The unconventional nature of the advice given by these well-seasoned vets helped me understand the major keys needed for scaling my SEO agency upwards and fairly quickly.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?
My favorite life lesson quote is to “treat others the way you want to be treated”. My mom instilled this into my mind as a kid and I have found it has served me very well and stood the test of time. I attribute a lot of my success to this motto; because I have invested good treatment into others, I have gained so much good in return.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership means unwavering dedication to helping others grow and make progress no matter the risk or challenge. As a business leader, I have had to invest time, money, and energy into developing myself as well as the people on my team. Being a leader means fronting the cost of guidance and development, figuratively and literally.
In my work, I often talk about how to release and relieve stress. As a busy leader, what do you do to prepare your mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meeting, talk, or decision? Can you share a story or some examples?
In order to prepare my mind and body for the stresses of work, I make sure to get good sleep, I try to work out 3–4x per week and I pray. I have a decent spiritual practice that helps me put things into perspective and have a glass half full outlook on life. I find that without these practices, things become very, very difficult and so I try to maintain that perspective on a daily basis.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This is of course a huge topic. But briefly, can you share your view on how this crisis inexorably evolved to the boiling point that it’s at now?
I believe the pandemic has been a time of deep reflection and realization that all life is precious and should never be demeaned or taken for granted, regardless of your station in life. As we all have had to face the very real threat of a health crisis while quarantining in our homes, a lot of people have had the time to step back and understand how much more progress needs to be made in order to achieve a genuine system of equality and equity.
Can you tell our readers a bit about your experience working with initiatives to promote Diversity and Inclusion? Can you share a story with us?
Regarding diversity and inclusion, I find it almost ironic to have that be a newer trend as this is how I have always operated. I grew up with friends from vastly different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. It helped me understand how different people think and that there are many different schools of thought and all deserve my respect. I treat hiring the same exact way for my company and I feel it has paid incredible dividends.
This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?
Having a diverse team gives you an edge amongst your competitors because versatile backgrounds yield a vast array of approaches and perspectives you can leverage into helping your business stand out. Hiring from a similar pool of talent may establish consistency but it also sets you up for a rigid set of approaches. Talent from differing backgrounds provides variety that will keep you colorful and even youthful.
Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. You are an influential business leader. Can you please share your “5 Steps We Must Take To Truly Create An Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society”. Kindly share a story or example for each.
Step 1 — Education: Business leaders and employees alike must get educated on experiences not of their own to prime their minds for relating with people that come from a different background.
Step 2 — Tolerance: Fostering the spirit of tolerance in the workplace will inspire everyone to be accepting of the differences and celebrate them.
Step 3 — Sharing Perspectives: Everyone deserves a voice especially those who might be underrepresented. You should practice allowing everyone to provide their insights and views to promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace.
Step 4 — Safe Space: You must create a community where every person from different walks of life can feel comfortable and, more importantly, safe being their genuine selves.
Step 5 — Accountability: it is imperative that your company implements holding each other accountable for their beliefs and actions in a constructive way.
We are going through a rough period now. Are you optimistic that this issue can eventually be resolved? Can you explain?
I am always on the side of optimism but generally, especially as a leader, you have to somewhat live in realism. While we all have seen tremendous strides in our society, inequality and intolerance are ingrained in the fibers of our society. Our only hope is to dismantle and disempower systems of oppression as well as do the day to day work of exhibiting tolerance and respect of all life.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
My person would be the late and great Larry King. He was a legendary news reporter and has had thousands of conversations with the world’s most interesting people. I would ask the 10 things he learned from all these individuals.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!