Tamaqua native named to Forbes 50 over 50 list
Cindy Miller, president and CEO of Stericycle, a company which specializes in hazardous waste management and disposal, has been named to the first-ever Forbes women's 50 over 50 list.
“One of the things I am completely against, and I tell my team - we get all kinds of marketing requests that come in saying your company could be company of the year, or you could be CEO. … I always say, if it costs a dime - we’re not buying that type of coverage,” Miller said. “The answer is always no.”
But Forbes offered its inaugural contest at no contest. Miller said she was one of 10,000 original nominations, which then narrowed to 2,500, and then 300.
“When they got it to 300, supposedly, they brought in a team of people to evaluate the 300 to get to the 50,” Miller explained.
“It put it into a different perspective for me when I realized what all went into it. I was pleasantly very surprised and very humbled.”
Miller truly worked her way from the ground-up - the blue-collar, the Schuylkill County way. In 1988, Cindy started as a UPS driver and remained with the company for over 30 years.
“It taught me how important it is to learn what a business does - what’s the core portion of the business. Then when you get into management to make various decisions, it helps that you know what effect your decisions would have on the front line.”
And then, she worked on her college degree.
“I realized, not long after I joined UPS, when I started to get into management, that it would probably be a good thing if I got my degree.
Miller held many managerial roles within the company for almost two decades in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New York and Illinois.
She even moved overseas for a few years and became president of the UPS Europe region.
“There comes a point in a really big company where you start to see you’re almost the same age of executives who are also climbing the ladder. I realized that if I was going to have an opportunity to be responsible for everything and really lead a company fully, where I was the CEO, I was going to have to find that opportunity somewhere else.”
Miller retied from UPS in Sept. 2018 but begun her journey with Stericycle one month later as President & COO, and then transitioning to CEO in 2019.
“I love leading the disruption or leading the transformation. I’m taking a company that didn’t know how to be big and I’m disrupting its internal processes, so we can unlock a greater potential. That is so exciting to be able to be a difference maker to this degree, and that’s what excites me the most.”
Miller, a 1980 Tamaqua Area High School graduate, was always competitive growing in Schuylkill County and was well known as a local athlete, as a member of Tamaqua’s only girls’ state championship basketball team.
“I was kind of an influential person on that particular team. We won the championship in 1978 and we won quite a few district and Schuylkill League championships from ’77-80.
“Parades, football games and hanging out at Roma Pizza growing up - all of the different things that Tamaqua offered at that time. I proudly grew up there, my brother still lives there, and I get a chance to go back. It’s an accumulation of all of those things that make it very special.”
You don’t know, unless you try. And Miller welcomed every challenge along her corporate journey with open arms.
Miller resides in South Carolina, but visits home frequently, especially during football season, as a Penn State season-ticket holder.
“I think in my career, I said yes to opportunity far more often than I ever said no. There was never a job that I completed, or that I was going to, that I felt that I was ready for.
“You have to hope that you have the wherewithal, and the dig-deep-ish-ness to be able to dig in and master the next one and give it your best. Say yes, more often than you say no, and don’t be afraid to make a leap.”