Curator Q&A: Dan Miller

Dan Miller Name: Dan Miller Title: Vice President/Group Account Director Joined Curator: September 1, 2011 Go-to Happy Hour Drink: 7 & Seven

Who was your celebrity crush growing up? Define “growing up,” because, frankly, I still am, so I’ll give you several answers. Let’s skip the ‘70s, because I can’t remember if I had a celebrity crush before I was seven. In the ‘80s, it was Heather Locklear, hands down. The ‘90s was the reign of Alyssa Milano. The ‘00s were dominated by Halle Berry, and the ‘10s are currently defined by Olivia Wilde, Emmy Rossum and Sarah Shahi.


Star Trek or Star Wars? Easy. Both. (A younger me would have said Star Wars in a heartbeat and the me of today wants to, as well, but Star Trek has grown on me quite a bit over the years. That series was my dad’s favorite and I have fond memories of watching old episodes on VHS with him, and many of my friends today are bigger fans of Spock than Solo, but if I had to base it on the number of themed toys and action figures I kept in storage for 30 years in the hopes I’d have a son to give them to…well, then Star Wars wins three giant storage boxes to nil.)


Did you go to school for the career you have now? Why, yes, I did…but I didn’t think this was going to be my career. In high school, math and science were my subjects. I still did well in English, but writing was harder for me than things to do with numbers, so, when I entered the University of Washington, I figured I’d be an engineer. Midway through my sophomore year, I took a class called Introduction to Mass Media, and I loved it. So, I took another one, where my “defining moment” happened – I’d been working for two weeks on a research paper that was worth 50% of my grade and two days before it was due, I came to my professor and said “I want to change my topic.” He thought I was insane, but my paper on the role of mass media being the 4th branch of government earned me a perfect 100 points. From then on, I knew I wanted to work in communications. I graduated just over two years later with a BA in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. (And my love of math still comes in handy for all of the budgeting, spreadsheets and company finance stuff Scott entrusts to me.)

What (nonprofit) organizations are you passionate about/volunteer for? My family is full of teachers, so I tend to gravitate to things where I can give of my time helping teach young people about, well, lots of stuff. I served six years on the board of directors of Island Cooperative Preschool, have been a four-year assistant coach for Bainbridge Island Little League, am in my third year as Cubmaster for Cub Scout Pack 4496, and spent 16 years as Chapter Advisor and now am in my second year as Regional President for my college fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha. I had great role models growing up and want to provide the same to my kids and their friends, so volunteering my time is what I find most rewarding.


What’s your workday routine and why does it work? I’ve always been a morning person. I’m up at 4 a.m., make coffee and the family’s lunches before I head out the door, am on either the 5:20 or 6:20 a.m. ferry and at my desk in the 6:15-7:15 time frame, depending on which boat I catch. The next 90 minutes is spent on Curator business, for the most part – submitting expense reports, organizing invoices for payment, approving timesheets, updating budget spreadsheets, calculating revenue for tax payments, returning vendor emails, sorting the evening’s emails and much more. This allows me to get most of my admin work done before the rest of the gang gets to the office so I can focus on client work throughout the day. I keep a running list of “to do” items on the computer, but use a sticky note that I keep next to my computer for the stuff that absolutely, positively must get done that day. Then, in between client meetings, strategy sessions, writing and editing, pitching, vendor calls, lunch and myriad other things we all do each day, I make sure those things on my sticky note get done. I generally leave the office around 5 p.m. in order to get to my evening commitments (see non-profit question above) and to hop on the ferry home (where wifi allows me to stay connected and have another half-hour of productivity during the ride) so I can spend time with my kids before they hit the hay. A couple of email checks and then I press the button on my UP band to track the next five-and-a-half hours of sleep before getting up to do it all over again.

What's a misconception about your role at Curator? That I’ll always be the first one in the office. Now, 99 percent of the time, that’s true, but if you show up without your keys one of those 1 percent days…well…sucks to be you.

What's your best resume tip? Candidates should truly understand that a resume and a cover letter are two different documents. Too often I get cover letters that say, basically, “Hi, I’m Fred. I just graduated from WSU with a degree in Communications. I had an internship at the campus paper and I’d really like to work with you.” Well, Fred, you’ve told me absolutely nothing in that cover letter that I can’t get from your resume. Use your cover letter to set yourself apart by telling me why you’re the right candidate. What makes you better than the rest? What insight about Curator or our clients or our way of doing business have you unearthed that shows me you’re a curious, intelligent person who can think strategically? What do you think about the marketing industry and where it’s headed and how does that related to you and us? Show me some personality in your cover letter and give me a reason to want to read your resume.