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December 13, 2016

United Way President Devotes Life to Ensuring Everyone has the Opportunity to Succeed

Everyone has a story. Many have a happy ending thanks to Lucy.

Dr. Lucy Miller believes in the potential of people—that ordinary people can do extraordinary things, and that everyone should be given opportunities to succeed.

Her own life is a testament to these values, and they have been instilled in countless others whose lives have been made better because of Lucy.

Growing up in poverty in Nova Scotia, Lucy Miller resolved in her teenage years that she was going to break the cycle of poverty. She knew the best way to do this was through education.

After becoming the first person in her family to graduate high school, Lucy set her sights on university. Swallowing her pride, Lucy reached out to the Dean of Women at St. Francis Xavier, asking for help in finding employment so she could afford to attend.

The Dean saw a passion and commitment in Lucy that couldn’t be denied. She intervened on Lucy’s behalf and secured three offers of employment – Lucy accepted all three!

Lucy Miller smiles while leading United Way's 2016 campaign kickoff at Olympic Plaza in downtown CalgaryLucy never lost sight of how the Dean giving her a chance changed the course of her life. The gift of opportunity became part of her value system and Lucy would go forward doing her best to ensure everyone had the opportunity to succeed.

A Visionary Leader

Determined to realize her full potential by the opportunity provided to her, Lucy went on to become one of the first female principals in Halifax, a professor at the University of Ottawa and Queen’s University, Chief Superintendent at Calgary Catholic School District, and President and CEO of United Way of Calgary and Area.

A prestigious career recognized with numerous awards have earned Lucy the reputation as a visionary leader; one who knows how to mobilize the community with the common purpose of building a city that’s great for all.

Known for her “get er done” mantra, initiatives such as All In for Youth, Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative, Financial Empowerment, and Community Hubs were realized under Lucy’s leadership during her five years at United Way. 

Lucy’s passion and compassion rallied the city around United Way, leading to four successful record breaking campaigns, and $301M dollars raised.

While strategic and visionary, Lucy distilled the importance of the work United Way does into real terms.

“Every day we don’t win on the social issues is another day people go hungry,” she would often say. A simple sentence that has served as a call to action by all who know her.

Leading by Example

Lucy is known for her genuine caring of people and leading by example.

Small in stature, Lucy is big in heart and actions. Her giving nature is contagious and brings people together to take action. 

Rallying cries are often heard through the office hallways to the tune of, “I’ve brought groceries in. Everybody come help me make sandwiches and deliver them to hungry people on the streets,” or, “It’s going to be very cold the next few days. Please bring in warm blankets and sleeping bags so people living outdoors can stay warm.”

In the belief that strong communities are built by taking care of one another, Lucy lives by the values she espouses. Whether it’s personally mentoring and befriending youth in her spare time, or searching the streets for a troubled woman she wants to help.

Calgary is a better city for having Lucy Miller as one of its leaders. Calgarians are a better people for having Lucy Miller care about their lives.

After nearly five years as President and CEO of United Way of Calgary and Area, Lucy Miller will retire at the end of 2016. 

Her pioneering efforts leave a lasting legacy that United Way will continue to build on. Thank you Lucy for the difference you have made in our city!