Volunteer Spotlight

Ericka Miller

Ericka is WomenVenture's Small Business Essentials real estate trainer, she also consults with education and loan clients in search of space. She's been such a valuable resource for many of our clients and is skilled negotiator to make sure WomenVenture business owners get a good deal. We're very lucky to have her on our Volunteer Team and that's why we're recognizing her as our Spotlight Volunteer!

Tell us a bit about your work history

I’ve spent about 20 years in various roles in commercial real estate from local companies to global. Diving into commercial real estate in 1997 as a real estate paralegal at Doherty, Rumble & Butler in St. Paul, MN, I soon realized that while I loved commercial real estate, I found other sides of the deal more exciting. So I moved from paralegal work to wear multiple hats over the years, from financial analyst to positions in development to corporate real estate and real estate outsourcing for a global Fortune 100 firm.  Most recently I settled into a small but very experienced, certified women owned, brokerage, project management & development consulting firm here in the Twin Cities called KimbleCo and we bring a broad perspective of commercial real estate to our clients. 

How did you first get involved with WomenVenture?

Late in 2016 I received a call from Jessica Tabbutt of WomenVenture letting me know that the previous real estate lead, Linda Zelm, a wonderful friend and mentor to me, had given my name as a suggestion to lead the class on commercial real estate for the Small Business Essentials. I was really hesitant at first – while I love to learn, I don’t always feel I am a great teacher!

Miller Family

What surprised you the most about volunteering with WomenVenture clients?

While I knew I'd likely get more out it than I brought to it, I was surprised by the energy and optimism I felt when I left my first class! I barely slept the night before (nerves - that teaching thing!) and was tired going in, but hearing all the brilliant ideas and feeling their excitement about their businesses really affected me. Now I am always excited to go to the classes to learn about the next great businesses I can look forward to visiting. 

Tell us about someone who has influenced your decision to volunteer with WomenVenture

Linda Zelm was who initially influenced my decision to volunteer with WomenVenture but it is the women themselves who continue to influence my decision to volunteer! Linda has always been an advocate for women and an advocate for me. She is retired now but I try to keep in contact with her. After many successful years with larger firms, she started her own business with a focus on small business which I love. 

Miller Family Pups, Howie and Colby

What do you think will change about women entrepreneurship and women owned businesses in Minnesota’s future?

I think overall we are seeing a move toward self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship. Women are on the leading edge of this

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering with WomenVenture?

Volunteering with WomenVenture is really inspiring. While volunteering can sometimes seem daunting considering the fight for one’s time, you absolutely get more than you give. WomenVenture truly cares about seeing women succeed and it’s such a great resource for women who want to start their own business – why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I have been out of the running game for a while now but I’ve run 5 marathons! I have loved running since I was a kid (I do some of my best thinking there and have met some of my best friends doing it), and, as a young adult, I was bored and needed a challenge. So in 2000 I joined a group called ALARC (a/k/a American Lung Association Running Club) and spent one night a week and each Saturday training for 13 weeks with this group. I did a marathon almost every year for the next 6-7 years and while Grandma’s in Duluth is probably my favorite, New York City was amazing. Now that I think about it, I should probably get back to it!

Ericka and Julie Kimble

Interested in learning more about volunteering with WomenVenture? Call Jessica Tabbutt, Volunteer Manager at 612-224-9557

Volunteer Opportunities

Are you looking for a meaningful and impactful volunteer opportunity that leverages your professional business skills? Become a part of our mission driven community to support passionate women launching and growing inspiring and successful businesses!