Michelle Miller, VP and Chief Counsel, employment law, Medtronic, Inc is this year's winner
This past Friday night, I had the pleasure of presenting the 2019 James Dallas Leadership Award to someone who has made a tremendous difference in my life and in the lives of so many others--many of whom have no idea that she did. They don't know because Michelle never seeks the spotlight; she does all of her work behind the scene, as does her outstanding husband, Al Miller, one of the initial members of the NBMBAA (National Black MBA Association).
They were the first to welcome me and my family to Minneapolis when I joined Medtronic. Michelle has been with Medtronic for over 20 years. She has been the voice of the voiceless and has made visible the unnoticed. Michelle was also the first person in my office letting me know whenever I had good intentions but was going about things the wrong way. Given how hard-headed I can be, Michelle used very descriptive adjectives to make sure I understood her message. The picture at the end is us reliving one of those moments. I will always be appreciative of her frankness. I was never offended because I knew what she was saying was in my best interest.
Speaking of appreciation, frankness, and making a difference, I also want to thank Geoff Martha, Medtronic's incoming CEO. It was in 2006 when I asked him to become the executive sponsor of Medtronic's African American Affinity Group (ADN). I did because I knew Geoff was a man of action. He has made a tremendous difference! He is the first to acknowledge more work needs to be done but he has and is moving the needle.
To all of my Medtronic teammates, keep on living the Medtronic Mission of "Alleviate Pain, Restore Health, and Extend Life!"