Becoming Comfortable in the Uncomfortable

Image by Christa Neu

Lorraine Barber-Miller ’96

Gruhn lecture series features CMO Lorraine Barber-Miller ’96.

Lorraine Barber-Miller ‘96, executive vice president and chief marketing & e-commerce officer at Philips, shared her career journey at the 2023 Donald M. Gruhn '49 Distinguished Finance Speaker Series at Zoellner Arts Center this past October. Barber-Miller was interviewed on stage by Professor Andrew Ward, management department chair, about lessons she’s learned along the way and the impact of her Lehigh Business education in marketing.

Barber-Miller spent 21 years at IBM before moving to ADP. She was hired at Philips in February of 2020 to change the focus of the organization and to make it more data driven. A task made more challenging in the face of a worldwide pandemic, she says.

Early in her time at IBM Barber-Miller says she volunteered to go abroad. “It taught me to be comfortable in the uncomfortable,” she remembers. “Learning to do things I’d never done before. I developed a learning agility and curiosity.” 

When asked about the role of AI in marketing, Barber-Miller stresses being prepared to leverage it, but says, “it will not replace our work” of creating the deeper relationships marketers strive for.

She gives credit for her successes to her education.

“Lehigh taught me critical thinking, resilience, perseverance, determination and hard work,” Barber-Miller says. “It also taught me multidisciplinary collaboration.”

Barber-Miller urges the students in the audience to look for career paths that give them exposure to learning opportunities and to seek out organizations that will invest in their development. “Your career is a marathon, not a sprint,” she explains. “You want to have longevity and you want to be marketable.”

Watch the Gruhn Lecture.