1. Please provide a one paragraph bio that summarizes your work history and current position.
Patricia Miller, CID, has over 27 years of commercial interior design and project management experience in central Virginia. She currently oversees in-house design services for the Brandywine Realty Trust’s Central Virginia Region, managing over 1 million square feet of Class A commercial office space. Her work encompasses all facets of interior design, building renovation and office product procurement and development, providing an integrated design approach to space visualization for Brandywine tenants, through to construction and occupancy. Patricia received her bachelor of fine arts in Interior Design from VCU in 1991, served as CREW Richmond chapter president in 2009, as well as, being nominated as one of the 2015 top 25 Women to Watch in Richmond Commercial Real Estate.
2. In your career, have you ever benefited from having a mentor?
ABSOLUTLEY! I was fortunate to have a phenomenal mentor, at the beginning of my career. Lucinda Kaucus Havenhand was Director of Design with Hummel Associates. She was pragmatic in her work style that fit me to a tee. I absorbed all I could while working with her. That’s where I developed my passion for Tenant Fit-up Design and Construction. Brandywine Realty Trust (formerly Childress Klein Properties) was our client back then. Through this passion, I retained them as a client and eventually developed the in-house design position. 27 years later, I can truly call it my “dream job.”
3. Have you ever been a mentor to a colleague(s)?
Funny you ask. I never pictured myself that way, but Ginny Johnston, CREW Richmond Past President put me on the spot last year and called me out. I was truly honored that she considered me one of her mentors. Ginny and I worked together at Commonwealth Architects. Our chemistry was amazing. She was bright, talented & just “got it.” She was a joy to work with and I learned as a leader (probably through CREW, LOL) that you should develop your associates to “put you out of business or take your job”…so you could retire. I’m thrilled at her professional growth and what she has achieved, as an interior designer, mother, daughter and wife. She is a ROCK STAR!
4. What first prompted you to look at joining CREW Richmond?
I describe myself as an extroverted introvert. CREW Richmond provided a more comfortable networking environment early in my career. There were/are so many influential women that I admired and enjoyed getting to know through more intimate, less structured, gatherings such as the dine-a-rounds, membership socials, board retreats and CREW Network events such as Leadership Summits and Convention.
5. What were your impressions of the organization when you first joined? What are your impressions now?
I’m glad I joined when I did…2001, I think. CREW Richmond was a little over a decade old, founded by some pretty amazing women in Richmond CRE. CRE was on an upswing and the economy was good. The CREW Richmond board continued to push for higher expectations to be the premier CRE networking organization. They established more fluid board transitions, higher profile meeting content and more connectivity to CREW Network. It’s nice to see the continuity of these goals with a new generation of leadership.
6. Has participation in CREW Richmond enhanced your business? If so, in what way.
I credit CREW Richmond as furthering my professional development and network. I now have the skills and relationships to seek out business vs. anticipating it to come to me.
7. Have you participated in CREW Richmond Leadership? If so, what roles have you undertaken, and what experiences did you gain by participating?
YES! I knew, early on, that the more engaged I became, the more I would get out of CREW membership and networking. I immediately jumped onto the Programs Committee, then to Community Service and had my sights on a board position. Started as secretary, moved on to treasurer, president elect & then President in 2009 and Past President in 2010. I took a 3 year sabbatical from membership after I had kids, moved & changed jobs. Once settled, I rejoined in 2014. Currently I’m active on the Past President’s committee and Programs committee, serving as director in 2018. I highly encourage every member to become active and engaged. Committee participation provides you even more opportunity to get to know your peers on a more personal level, as well as, understanding how they manage their time and resources.
8. Feel free to share any other thoughts on your career, work/life balance, CREW participation, etc.
I don’t recall a direct project lead that I attained through CREW, however, I am assured that the networking connections and professional development, offered by CREW, throughout the last decade, have provided me with confidence in myself and assurance that my talents will continue to be an attribute to the Richmond Commercial Real Estate Community. I am a better networker NOW…it’s more about what I can do for you vs. what can you do for me.
EDITORS ADDENDUM – By Kate Wagner
I met with Patricia for coffee after she had given me the above response to my request for a phone interview for her profile in the CREW Richmond Newsletter to get a little more background.
Patricia decided on interior design as a career choice as she has always had an artistic bent and fond memories of her father’s civil engineering firm. She benefited as well from a savvy art teacher in high school who quickly pointed out that Patricia’s initial two choices, veterinarian and architect, would both require eight years of post-secondary education. Being anxious to get on with things, neither option appealed to Patricia. The same art teacher guided her to interior design, and VCU.
Patricia feels blessed and lucky at times, and did not fully appreciate the choice of VCU, with its accredited program for interior design, until after she had graduated. Her degree from VCU enabled her to attain her CID (Certified Interior Designer) certification. I came away from my meeting with Patricia with a much greater appreciation for her work. It’s not just picking sofas and window treatments. It’s negotiating Life/Safety issues in workspaces.
Her support of the CREW Richmond Chapter is evidenced by her agreement to become a recycled Board member in 2018. She had finished her leadership activities in 2010 as Past President. But a change in employment for one of the Board member created a vacancy on the Board, and Patricia agreed to a short tenure back on the Board to complete the year. We benefit from her continued work with the Programs Committee.