S1E4: Jane Miller - Making Sweet Deals
Play • 33 min

You’ve snacked on the products that Jane Miller has helped bring to market.

Jane Miller, Leeds alumna and a member of the Leeds Advisory Board, has more than three decades of executive experience in the food industry, spanning start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. She was CEO at Lily’s Sweets and has held several other CEO roles in the natural and organic industry, including Rudi’s Bakery, ProYo High-Protein Ice Cream, and HannahMax Cookie Chips. She also worked at Hostess, which she helped bring out of bankruptcy, as well as HJ Heinz, Bestfoods Baking, and PepsiCo. 

And she’s generous with career advice. She wrote a book, Sleep Your Way to the Top (and other myths about business success), founded the career advice website janeknows.com, and is the co-founder of Haevn, which helps students launch their careers. 


On staying self-aware in business

[00:17:23] If you've ever had a great success, don't ever assume it was all because of you or the other side of that same coin. Which is, if you have a great failure, don't ever feel like it was all because of you. So, with Lily’s, you know, I was really blessed in the sense that we did have this huge macro trend that was going on. We did have a founder who had really created an amazing product. We were first to market. So, we had that sort of opportunity. And we had a team of people that just did some amazing things and aggressively went after sales and marketing. But we had very strong financial management. You know, in many cases with young companies, you don't have the right funding to be able to make the business work, and you're trying to really bootstrap it. So, you know, I think what I've learned over the course of my career, Is that, you know, every success I've had, I've had some role in it. And every failure I've had, I've had some role in. And if you take it for that, which is “What did you learn?”

On running your own race

[00:08:36] We all have this kind of pressure to figure out how we create in this world, the impact that we want to create. And run your own race, which I did get from Cheryl Strayed, was really about this idea that don't compare yourself to others. Set your own goals and compare yourself to what your goals were. And I think it's such an important concept because if you are very clear on what's important to you, then you can judge yourself against yourself. So when you’re trying to start a business, not going on social media and saying, “Oh my gosh, somebody’s trying to do the exact same thing.” Running your own race really starts with you being very clear about what’s important to you. 

On creating your own advisory board

[00:26:44] I think the core of developing a successful business is surrounding yourself, not with just a great team of people that you've hired, but people around that you can trust. So, a personal advisory board is almost like a board of directors you'd have for a company, but these are people that you have selected that can surround you, and you can go to for advice. It's really important because one of the things I've seen many entrepreneurs is it's, it can be kind of lonely. You feel like you're the only person that is dealing with the issues that you're dealing with when in fact you're not.


Guest’s Profile:

Profile at Leeds School of Business

Jane Miller on LinkedIn

More About This Guest:

Haevn’s Website


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