You'll have to forgive Elaine Miller if she seems a bit distracted.
After all, how focused would you be on being interviewed if you were reclining on a hotel balcony in Jamaica, eager to get on with the vacation that you recently earned?
“I won second prize from RCMA in the Member-Get-A-Member Contest,” she says. “Coming from Michigan, you can't help but enjoy this weather. I'm sitting on a deck, looking at the ocean. It's all because of RCMA and my relationship to God. That's made me what I am today.”
What she is is executive director of events and planning for New Mount Moriah Baptist Missionary Church in Pontiac, Mich. It's a job she has held since retiring from General Motors in 2002 after 30 years.
But Miller is hardly new around the church; she was its first administrator — as a weekend— when New Mount Moriah formed 17 years ago, eventually moving into event planning. “We have about 1,200 active members on any given Sunday; we have 3,000 to 3,500 on our rolls,” she says.
Jamaica, incidentally, is not the first trip Miller has won by turning folks on to RCMA. A year earlier, she earned first prize in the contest: a seven-day biblical trip to Turkey. She plans to take that one sometime in 2007.
This is a devoted RCMA member.
“I let them know that RCMA is a religious organization that gives you knowledge about event planning and hotels, and there are classes to give you information,” she says. “There are vendors you can build relationships with. I can get good rates from them and negotiate good prices.”
At General Motors, Miller began as a secretary and rose to work in engineering as an administrator with operations. “I retired from GM to do ministry,” she says, “but I use a lot of the technology and administrative skills I learned at GM here, such as how to deal with people, how to understand people, what makes people tick. Understanding the real personas, as opposed to the pretensions. I've grown a lot, helped the church to advance with technology, people skills, training, and development. My objective is to train other people.”
In her role as executive director of events and planning, Miller plans all her church's events, including conferences, meetings, and special events. Her menu of 10 events includes two big ones: the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Regional Summits and Full Gospel Baptist Church State Conferences.
She is responsible for planning, getting speakers, and confirming engagements.
“And I support marriage retreats and women's conferences; men's conferences; and intercessory prayer conferences,” she adds.
Although she has been a factor in the development of New Mount Moriah Baptist Missionary Church since the beginning, Miller says that her life has dramatically evolved since she joined the operation full time in 2002.
“It has changed tremendously,” she says. “I travel much more. I've had a chance to network with the international ministries and meet Christian people in other states doing what I do. I've gained knowledge. I benchmark against other ministry conferences. My pastor, Bishop William H. Murphy Jr., has had a very important role in my development and in my efforts to gain knowledge. We're a team. My whole goal is to look at other ministry church functions and how they do programs. I want to be on the cutting edge of what's going on in ministry development.”
Born and raised: Liberty, Miss.
Family: One of seven children; mother of two children
Education: Business administration degree from Alcorn University in Michigan; studied psychology at Michigan State
Inspiration: “My mother was instrumental in instilling the morals and spirituality of my life. She helped me understand people and life. She's my hero.”
Hobbies: “I love golf, I love traveling, cooking, and meeting new people.”
On the Side: Miller is pursuing CMP certification. “It's a distinction that's recognized across the market,” she says.