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Olivia Millar

Managing Principal
Millar + Associates

Describe your industry experience:
Ms. Millar has over 15 years’ experience in the Real Estate and Design Industry.  She currently owns and operates a boutique interior design firm focused on corporate interiors.

As a Presidential Art Scholar at George Washington University, she earned an undergraduate degree in graphic design and economics and a Masters in Interior Design.  Ms. Millar worked in the DC-office for a nationally ranked design firm headquartered in New York.  She became the first designer in the firm to pass the green building exam and become a LEED Accredited professional.  This expertise steered her to a focus on Commercial Real Estate where she joined a large national real estate firm and launched their National Sustainability Practice.

Within three years, Ms. Millar was recruited back to her old design firm as the Managing Director of Interiors in the DC office.  Due to the economic downturn, the firm had fallen on hard times and Ms. Millar was tasked with rebuilding the studio.  Within 14 month, she had successfully revived the studio; however the resignation of the Managing Principal caused the board to vote to close the DC office.  This turn of events created the impetus for Ms. Millar to start her own firm.  Within two months, Ms. Millar and her team closed the defunct office and launched Millar + Associates, LLC.  The staff and clients that Ms. Millar had engaged during the rebuild all came with her to the new firm.  M+A has been thriving for almost four years creating award-winning spaces and doubling its revenue and staff within its first year of operation.  In 2014, Ms. Millar was recognized as one of the top 20 under 40 in the Mid Atlantic by the Engineering News-Record.

Describe your functional experience:
Due to Ms. Millar’s varied experience in all facets of real estate, design and business ownership, she has been exposed to most all aspects business at some level.  Specifically she:

  • Performs all the functions of a small business owner such as hiring and firing, compensation and retention, lease negotiations, insurance, IT protocol and redundancy, procurement and more
  • Manages marketing, business development, contract negotiations and fulfillment for all client work in the firm
  • Develops strategic plans and alliances for ongoing expansion and success
  • Has been exposed to the challenges of integrating acquired firms and developing new business entities that gained national attention
  • Is adept at interviewing, publishing, curriculum development and lecturing and other media and messaging skills

Describe your key business transactional experience:
Ms. Millar regularly deals in contract negotiations and lease agreements for M+A and their clients.  In the past she had also been tasked with the integration of acquired firms into a larger national firm where she worked closely with the new Principles to increase understanding of practice groups, initiate cross-selling strategies, and integrate resources for a more flexible workforce.  Additionally, in 2011 as part of her role of dissolving the defunct DC office of a New York headquartered design firm, she negotiated the transfer of work and resources to create her own firm, and engaged in contract negotiations and staffing agreements.

What is the most important skill you bring to a corporate board?
Ms. Millar has an understanding of all aspects of business and can integrate them into a larger strategic vision for the organization.In addition, she can drill down on issues and develop a deeper understanding of specifics to make solutions happen in a way that considers all options without unnecessary delays.As an artist and business owner Ms. Millar thinks differently about how to solve problems.She brings value to her clients, and to board positions, by hearing all perspectives and driving to solutions that meet client or organizational needs.Beyond that, Ms. Millar successfully articulates solutions to get buy-in from interested parties.Having worked in companies experiencing growth, as well as those that have dissolved, she takes a measured approach to risk mitigation.Lastly, Ms. Millar is committed to ethics and integrity which have been the foundation of her professional career.These values have served to establish the long-term credibility and brand value of all organizations she represents.