Keep On Rockin! With Fender’s Tina Miller
By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Despite earning three degrees at Bellevue University, Tina Miller still has a hole in her liberal arts education. She does not know how to play guitar, but is on her way to learning since joining the sales team at Fender – one of world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers.
Fortunately, Fender is more than willing to tap into what she did garner in those three degree programs — a Bachelor of Science in Business Management (2006), a Master of Business Administration (2010) and a Bachelor of Science in Project Management (2012). Miller earned Magna Cum Laude honors in both bachelors’ programs.
A 1990 graduate of Bellevue West High School in Nebraska, Miller made the jump to Fender in March 2016 as the Director of Customer Success and was promoted in January of 2017 to Vice President of Customer Support and Inside Sales.
In her role at Fender, Miller helps manage and support the American sales region, the consumer relations team (online sales), as well as the inside sales team. Additionally, she is helping implement a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, Microsoft Dynamics.
“I’m responsible for making sure that tool is in a state that allows those teams to be collaborative and drive sales,” Miller said.
Miller accepted a position at Fender’s Scottsdale, Arizona headquarters after climbing the corporate ladder at Omaha companies Hayneedle and Moody’s Analytics. A former manager at Hayneedle, Tammy VanDonk, preceded Miller at Fender and helped facilitate the move when Miller was ready.
“She’s the one that has afforded the opportunity and allowed me to take on this challenge,” Miller said. “She knows my background and knows what I can bring to the organization. Within a year her trust has allowed me to get into the world that I’m in today.”
A passionate employee base has made working for the iconic guitar maker idyllic.
“The moment I walked into the door I felt the passion. You could just feel the energy,” she said. “The people just have a passion to make sure that every customer, anyone that enters the door, any vendor, understands why Fender is so important. They literally love their product. They love their guitars.”
Miller had earned some college credit, but had not completed a bachelor’s degree when she began researching Bellevue University. The accelerated nature of the Business Management program caught her attention. Once enrolled the support of former Professor John Leber was key.
“He was probably the most supportive professor that I’ve ever had,” Miller said. “If I didn’t understand something, he would stay after class. He wanted me to be successful as much as I wanted to be.”
While Miller recognized the impact that earning an MBA could have on her career, her true motivation was more inward.
“After I got my first degree I was very proud of myself. I was a single mom. I was able to do that while working full-time,” she said. “I really wanted to push myself more. The concentration that I had in marketing worked very well with what my position was at Hayneedle at the time.”
Her career continued to evolve and project management duties began to come her way at Hayneedle and Moody’s.
“I started dabbling a little bit in the project management world,” she said. “When I was at Hayneedle we started implementation of a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. I was given the opportunity to be a part of that project. As I continued to go through that, project management was very intriguing. I’m very intellectually curious. I love to learn, love to do things.”
That includes learning to play guitar.
“I do have a guitar. My intentions are to take lessons,” she said. “We’re working on some digital learning tools at Fender. We also have a lot of instructors here in the building. Some people that work here have been playing the guitar for 30 or 40 years.”