Emily Miller began her career in Walgreens Store Operations in 2002, as an intern in Colorado, and has worked her way up since then to her current role, leading the growth and development of Walgreens’ $1.6B beverage business. Emily and her husband are parents to twin 6-year-old daughters whose level of curiosity, much to Emily’s surprise, has now surpassed her own. Emily has been on The Working Lunch Leadership Committee for the past two years.
1. How were you originally introduced to Women Employed?
I was introduced by one of my coworkers, Amy Mason, who mentioned she was a member of the Advocacy Council, WE’s young women’s activist group. At that time, our team was working on finding new ways to be more present and impactful in the community, and Amy talked about the amazing work WE does to help so many women and asked if Walgreens had contacts that would be interested in joining us at The Working Lunch. Fortunately, many of our associates wanted to join us at the event, which helped our team strengthen our engagement and build on these beneficial partnerships.
2. What about WE’s work attracted you to raise critical funds for the organization?
Women Employed advocates for issues that I hold close to my heart, such as fair scheduling and equal pay. With my experience in operations, I am fully aware of how challenging it can be to create employee schedules for an entire store. However, there are a lot of tools out there to help create fair schedules and if you make sure to also make it a priority to respect an employee’s time outside of work, it’s very possible. I am a mother of two small girls and I know what it’s like to get everyone out of the house and to their destinations, to arrange pick-up, plan meals, etc. We have to consider how scheduling childcare can be really taxing on an individual and a family, and I can’t imagine what it’s like for those workers who have to travel long distances on public transportation just to be told they’re not needed to work their full shift. We can do better for our employees and other Illinoisans, and I believe WE helps make that world possible.
When it comes to equal pay, sometimes it feels like we’re fighting blind because most salary and pay information is not public. That’s why WE’s work with employers and their work to win laws and policies — like the Equal Rights Amendment and No Salary History — is so beneficial. Those wins release a positive momentum that helps overcome any feelings of discouragement.
3. You and your team got pretty creative when engaging your business contacts. Can you tell us more about that?
We thought of a way to engage that would benefit all parties involved. So many people call on Walgreens to meet with us, but there is not enough bandwidth to connect with everyone. We used the day of the luncheon to give our business contacts an opportunity to meet with us, discuss competitors, and most importantly, become better educated on the issues facing working women today — using our time and money to help improve the lives of all working women. That day we checked so many boxes simultaneously!
4. Any advice you can give people who want to ask their company and/or their networks to financially support WE?
We often compartmentalize our home life, work, and the values we care about. I’d encourage people to intermingle their ideals and values with their work, because it makes life more satisfying. It isn’t often you get to contribute to something that helps employees, employers, and customers — and the luncheon provides that opportunity. Women Employed is a great resource for everyone. Employers can use WE’s expertise when crafting workplace policies and to better educate ourselves on what’s important to working women. Employees can learn how to advocate for themselves at their job and can help pass better laws. Think outside of the box and figure out how to use the luncheon for your business and to make things better for all of us.