We had the incredible opportunity to speak with Tammy Miller, a talented and intelligent woman in IT. Not only is Tammy the Global Director of IT of Elkay Interior Systems, but she now has her law degree. What a huge accomplishment. She graduated from Purdue University Global with an Executive Juris Doctorate degree. Tammy was previously working at Aspirus Health for 21 years in various impactful roles such as System Director of Applications and Information Technology Epic Manager. Tammy is simply unstoppable and her career says nothing less!
Q&A With Tammy Miller
What really gets you excited when it comes to your work?
There are many things that excite me about work. To find a career where you can be passionate about technology and learning, whether it’s yourself or providing opportunities to the team. It’s an environment of achieving and setting goals where you make a positive impact on the business. Every day is different, figuring out solutions to problems such as reducing technical debt. We IT people are good at solving problems. If you can’t solve problems, you shouldn’t be in IT.
Who is a person or who are the people in your life who most inspire and/or inspired you?
My parents because they have always inspired me and taught me if you don’t work for it, you don’t deserve it. Not only that but, I am a farm girl. Work ethic is ingrained in me. Growing up, my days were filled with chores, sports, and being respectful.
My husband and a very close friend, who are my other inspirations. My friend is always a step ahead which pushes me and drives me to keep going. She teaches me how to get to the next level. My husband is a fabulous business wiz and unabashedly non-technical. When I told him I may need a home office, he knocked down walls, build me a custom desk and in 2 days I had an office.
Tell me about one of the biggest challenges in your life or one of the most challenging times in your life and how you overcame that challenge.
The first was going through a period where my career was taking off while going through a rough divorce. I was launching into a career raising two young kids being a single mom. I remember right after the holidays I had 27 cents to my name. That moment made me never want to be in a position like that again. I decided I was going back for my master’s degree. I somehow balanced business, school, and career. I leaned on my family and friends. Everyone talks about their side gig; I took that as a huge motivation.
Second moment – Pivoting out of a career that no longer offered advancement. My husband and I both pivoted – three days apart. We realized we both deserved better opportunities.
The question that kept me going was, what are you willing to sacrifice? The only thought I could think of was, you must be comfortable being uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable when I left my job, but it took me out of my comfort zone and helped me go even further.
Back to my parents – when we told them, their response was “Oh my goodness! You need food! We will run to the grocery store!” Food is a love language in my family.
What was the last book that you read that really inspired you and why? Title and Author:
The most impactful thing I read – learning how different countries embrace cyber security. The technological world is small; understanding the implications of data ownership and security as it traverses the globe should be required reading for any technology leader. For example, you cannot have a social media presence and claim privacy. I love the educational and networking value of LinkedIn, but realize the inherent vulnerability that results, both personally and professionally. All business needs to have expertise in cyber.
As great as technology is, users need a level of distrust of technology as well. Having a social media presence doesn’t mean you can claim your privacy, sadly.