I met our Werk Crush Wednesday exactly a year ago while was at the University of Notre Dame for the Mandela Washington Fellowship! Karrah Miller is the Director of Public Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, and it was so inspiring for me to see a young lawyer playing this role in a world renowned institution and also in the community. We still owe each other night of tacos and chakalaka!
- I am the Director of Public Affairs at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN, USA.
Your practice areas:
I previously focused on Employment Law issues when I was the Director of the Office of Institutional Equity at Notre Dame (4 years). This included laws regarding harassment/discrimination, accessibility of individuals with disabilities and affirmative action equal opportunity programs.
The reaction when people find out you are a lawyer:
Some people are shocked, perhaps because they are not used to interacting with young, black females operating in leadership capacities at predominantly white organizations. However, as I have aged, people seem less surprised. Many older people in the black community are extremely proud and often share kind words of support and encouragement.
A major move in the last 5 years:
This past year has been a whirlwind! I have had so many positive major changes happening. Last October I got engaged in Dublin, Ireland to my amazing fiancé, Mr. Ray Herring. He is my rock. My life is so much more balanced now that I have his love, support and encouragement.
In April of this year, I made a career move. After 6 and ½ years of doing quasi-legal work in the Office of Human Resources at Notre Dame as the Director of the Office of Institutional Equity, I was named Director of Public Affairs at Notre Dame. This new role allows me to engage with our campus and surrounding communities in ways that will benefit both the University and city of South Bend. In this new role I am working with local city and state government affairs, the various school corporations, many non-profit organizations, and soon a team of us will be starting a diversity supplier initiative to help drive some of our contract dollars to small, women and minority businesses.
On top of all that, I am planning a wedding and my fiancé and I are building our first home together. I feel so blessed to be alive and doing God’s work.
Why you chose to study law:
I wanted to help my family and the black community gain access to support with and understanding of various contract, real estate, and taxation and business laws.
Something you wish you could change about legal practice:
I wish the expenses and debts students have to incur to become lawyers in the U.S. were not so burdensome. Additionally, so many of the major law firms and positions of influence in our government lack ethnic, racial and gender diversity. This creates challenges for women and people of color to get opportunities in those fields. We have to diversify the top and expand our networks!
What apps do you use to increase productivity OR apps you have to turn off to increase productivity:
- Instagram- I am currently working on a book and I have an LLC called Lucy Mina Consulting, IG helps me increase awareness of my business and skills. It helps me promote my work and events. However, when it is time to get busy writing or preparing to teach a class or lead a workshop, I have to shut it down.
- YouVersion Bible App daily for time with God to read His word and gain spiritual wisdom, guidance and encouragement.
- Netflix- I love the app! I am currently binge watching a show called Reign, every chance I get on the weekends.
- iTunes and Tidal- I am a music head! My sister and brothers are musicians. My brother was nominated for a Grammy a few years back and my sister is currently in Cameroon, Africa performing at a music event.
- Pinterest has so many wedding and house ideas. I’m addicted.
How do you network:
I attend a lot of community events, conferences for work and even when I am at social events or events with my siblings, I am mindful to keep business cards on deck and have my elevator speech ready to go.
Whats your “Go-To” beauty staple and closet item:
I must have Nivea lotion and Dove soap because of my dry skin!
As for my makeup, I am obsessed with Nars Cosmetics Concealers and Lipstick and Bare Minerals Powder. I am a Sephora VIB Rouge Member for sure. I could shop there every other day!
When stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do to refocus?
Church, prayer, family time and alone time! I also love running- that is a huge stress reliever.
A time you made a mistake at work and how you bounced back:
I misread a legal document which cost my company a little money, and got drilled by the head of our legal team. It was one of the worst experiences ever- but it created resilience and serious obsession with attention to detail. That never happened again.
A physical or spiritual practice you have adopted:
I read my Bible daily, I attend worship service every Sunday and I attend Bible study every Wednesday. My walk with God is the most important thing I have. I also tithe to my church FAITHFULLY! I need to increase my prayer life, and I that is something I am working on.
If not law, what would you be doing:
Writing and acting!! I want to write books, speak at conferences and act! I have always loved acting and performed quite a bit as school aged child. That is my passion and I would do it in a heartbeat.
Bad recommendations or assumptions about law that you often hear?
Lawyers lie for a living. That is simply not true. There are bad lawyers, but there are also bad doctors, and preachers and plumbers and chefs. No profession is without its flaws. Most of the lawyers I know are working hard to help their clients in ethical and legally sound ways.
Can you share something you are struggling with right now:
I struggle with people not liking me for no reason. Five hundred people could be cheering me on and supporting my every move, but I tend to focus on the few people who have negative things to say about me. I struggle letting those things go. When people harm me or offend me, I tend to give too much energy to those thoughts. If I had a magic wand I could wave over myself that would help me “not care what people think” or “what people have said about me that is inaccurate“; I would do it in a heartbeat. It is extremely hurtful to me when people misjudge me and I need to learn to let those things go.
The second thing I am struggling with is I have been single and independent for a long time. I have a great career, I own property and I have done well with accomplishing my professional goals. I soon get to merge my life with someone else (finances, homes, goals, etc.), and it feels a little scary. As a black woman, I never want to lose the ability to have my own success and accomplishments, but I must learn to be comfortable with my future husband taking the lead. This is scary for me. I’ll be honest and say haven’t been doing a great job at it, but I am owning up to that and learning to “be quiet” and let him take the lead.
The best or most worthwhile investment you have ever made?
I don’t know if it was “the best” thing, but getting my law degree was one of the smartest things I have done. It opened so many doors for me. I have a great career, which has allowed me to create a great life for my daughter Brianna and me. It has also allowed me to be able to give substantially to my church and other charities. And this great career led me to my future husband. All that has happened thanks to my law degree opening doors for me at Notre Dame. Ultimately, though, I know God is in control of it all, and I will forever serve Him because He has never failed me.
Major goal for the next 5 years:
In the next 5 years, I hope to be totally independent from any major organization and thriving as an author and entrepreneur.
Quote you live your life by:
I don’t have a quote I live by, but I have a scripture I live by, Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Where can people find you to say hi:
LinkedIn: Karrah A. Miller, J.D.
Instagram: Karrah_Miller Follow me!
Company Website: Lucy Mina Consulting, LLC: https://www.lucyminaconsulting.com/