Psi Chi experienced a tremendous amount of change and growth over the past 13 years, but there was always one constant during that time—Paula Miller.
In 1994, while a student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), Paula began working for Psi Chi by filling supply orders for chapters. After becoming a Psi Chi member in 1996, and graduating with a bachelor's degree in psychology from UTC in 1997, she was hired by the late Kay Wilson as the Director of Activities. Paula went on to serve as the Director of Member Services and Finances from 1997-2003, and also earned her MBA from UTC during that time. When Executive Officer Kay Wilson passed away in 2003, the Psi Chi National Council recognized the leadership and talent Paula possessed and hired her as the next Executive Officer/ Chief Operations Officer, the role she served until 2006.
Paula is a wonderful person, a kind and supportive friend, and an inspirational leader, as well as a dedicated wife to Brian and mother to Olivia. Paula was especially helpful to Psi Chi during the difficult time of Kay's death and the leadership transition that followed.
Psi Chi would like to recognize Paula Miller for her exemplary contributions by printing a few memories
[see below] from several National Council members and colleagues who served Psi Chi alongside Paula. From all of us at the National Office, we thank you and wish you all the best!
—Ginny, Scott, Amie, Susan, & MelissaVirginia Andreoli Mathie, PhD,
Executive DirectorScott Gast,
Information Systems ManagerAmie Austin Hearn,
Director of Membership ServicesSusan Iles,
Director of PublishingMelissa Strickland,
Director of Finance/AwardsContributors:
- Michael Hall, James Madison University
- Chris Koch, George Fox University
- Dorothy Mitstifer, Association of College Honor Societies
- Betsy Morgan, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
- Slater Newman, North Carolina State University
- Vinny Prohaska, Lehman College, CUNY
- Jesse Purdy, Southwestern University
- Joe & Vicki Stablier, The Trophy House
- Scott VanderStoep, Hope College
- Ken Weaver, Emporia State University
- Robert Youth, Dowling College
- Martha Zlokovich, Southeast Missouri State University
Paula Miller has been an invaluable asset to Psi Chi for the past several years. From my perspective, Paula played a critical part in helping to guide the organization through a tough transitional period in its development following Kay Wilson's passing. At that time, I was a new member of the National Council.
I couldn't help but be a bit surprised about the array of things that Paula was already responsible for, as well as the decisions that we were making that would just further add to those responsibilities. In retrospect, it is a testament to Paula's abilities that her job description continued to expand.
The fact that Paula did all this work with a friendly attitude, a smile on her face, and a laugh at the ready is even more remarkable. She always maintained a positive outlook no matter the circumstances.
Psi Chi should recognize that this is the kind of employee that you cannot replace. Thank you Paula for all that you did to help me as a council member, and thanks especially for all the things that you have done to help make Psi Chi a better organization than when you arrived.–Michael Hall, PhD
Psi Chi Western Region Vice-President, 2003-05James Madison University (VA)
Although Paula had worked for Psi Chi longer, I really started working with Paula closely about eight years ago on the Psi Chi awards. During my term as president, I talked with Paula almost every day. It was a pleasure seeing how much she achieved over that time. Paula started in the National Office as a student worker from UTC and even served as a model of Psi Chi merchandise. While she worked at Psi Chi, she completed her MBA and was in charge of the awards and finances. Paula then became the Executive Officer. In many ways, I think Paula's story is a great example of what Psi Chi can do. Paula became involved as a student and had an excellent mentor in Kay Wilson who taught her, encouraged her, and helped her develop as a professional in the field. On an individual level, Paula's attention to detail, willingness to grow and learn, and loyalty to Psi Chi were just a few of the qualities that made her such a valuable asset to the organization and part of the reason Psi Chi has been so successful in recent years. Although Paula's move is a loss for Psi Chi, it will be a tremendous gain for her next organization. I will miss working with her and wish her all of the best in whatever she pursues.–Chris Koch, PhD
Psi Chi National President, 2004-05George Fox University (OR)
This tribute recognizes the contributions of Paula Miller to the honor society movement and to the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS).
Paula represented grace in a difficult time during Kay Wilson's illness and in the interim before selection of a new Executive Director. I know Kay had great confidence in Paula, and she surely had a good teacher/mentor. ACHS appreciated Paula's participation in an Annual Council Meeting and our efforts to remember Kay.
I was the consultant for at least two Psi Chi Board Training sessions, and I give much credit to Kay and her staff for identifying the need for an outside, but interested, person to facilitate development of the organization and exploration of board policies. I have no doubt that Paula was part of the long-term planning in order to strengthen the organization.
I would like to express thanks on behalf of the Association of College Honor Societies for her commitment to the honor society movement, and specifically to Psi Chi.–Dorothy I. Mitstifer
Executive DirectorAssociation of College Honor Societies
Every now and then you have the pleasure of meeting people with whom you feel you "click." Paula is such a person. Warm and intelligent and committed to Psi Chi—what is there not to like? In addition, it turns out EVERYONE feels that way, and then you realize it is Paula who is the unique and special one. Best of luck to Paula and her family. [P.S. The world of Psi Chi fashion is taking a GIANT leap backwards with the loss of Paula.]–Betsy Morgan, PhD
Midwestern Vice-PresidentUniversity of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Paula Miller has done outstanding work during her entire tenure at Psi Chi. In all of my contacts with her, on the phone, via email, at regional and national meetings, she has been wonderful to work with and to be with—gracious, pleasant, helpful, professional, effective—acting always with the best interests of Psi Chi and its members at heart. We have all been marvelously served by her and for that I, and I am sure, many thousand others of us say "Paula, thank you very, very much!"–Slater E. Newman, PhD
Psi Chi National President, 1997-98North Carolina State University
With everyone writing to sing the praises of Paula and her contributions to Psi Chi, it is necessary that someone provide a measure of balance. So I am going to write about the "dark side;" the difficulties that Paula's extraordinary competence have caused both Council members and chapter advisors. As a Council member, ask Paula a question or request information, and she will get back with an answer almost instantaneously. This is not optimal, when the whole goal was to procrastinate. Many times I have asked questions or requested information assuming that Paula would take a few days to get back to me so that I would have time to relax and take a few extra naps before acting. Paula's efficiency has cost me much rest. Advising was easier before Paula too. Chapter supplies that I sold to students consisted of graduate cords and medals, plus a few pieces of jewelry. Now, in addition to those items, I also have stoles, caps, t-shirts, sweatshirts, padfolios, and more. And my chapter members actually want these things! I actually have to be organized to fulfill their orders. Similarly, don't we all miss the simple Eye, without its modern look and color photos? (Okay, so Kay started this process, but Paula could have stopped it and returned us to copied black and white pages.) Finally, Paula has made the search for her successor unbelievably difficult by setting such high standards of performance and excellence. Sorry Paula, but someone had to balance the hype.–Vinny Prohaska, PhD
Psi Chi President-Elect, 2006-07Lehman College, CUNY
It is a pleasure to contribute to this special tribute to Paula Miller. I was elected Southwestern Regional Vice-President in 1994, the same year that Paula was hired to keep Psi Chi's finances in order. I served as vice-president from 1994-98 and then as National President-Elect, President, and Past-President from 1999-2002. During these years, I came to fully appreciate Paula's value to Psi Chi and why every year Kay Wilson would note with enthusiasm and pride Paula's contributions to Psi Chi.
You see, Kay Wilson had seen something of herself in Paula and she knew that Paula was capable of great things. To that end, Kay served as Paula's mentor and groomed her for the leadership positions she would later hold. Kay helped Paula realize her potential by giving her more and more responsibilities from managing the finances of Psi Chi to serving as an editor of Eye on Psi Chi. At these tasks and more, Paula excelled. She learned to handle the logistics of the annual business meetings of Psi Chi with grace and style. She learned the value of commitment to an organization and took ownership of its policies and its actions. Paula pushed for programs that would have the greatest impact on the members of Psi Chi and that would foster the ideals of Psi Chi to produce an organization that was true to its mission and purpose. Like Kay, Paula was one of Psi Chi's best ambassadors.
I mention this close connection between Kay and Paula, because I believe that Kay saw the great potential in Paula before Paula did. And I believe that Paula exceeded Kay's high expectations for her. What better tribute is there to a person than to say that she lived up to the standards and expectations of her mentor Kay Wilson, who in my opinion, played a critical role in making Psi Chi the organization it is today. Psi Chi will miss Paula's influence, and we all wish her well.–Jesse E. Purdy, PhD
Psi Chi National President, 2000-01Southwestern University (TX)
My wife Vicki and I have been a part of the Psi Chi and ACHS family for many years. We met Paula, as a new Psi Chi member, at an ACHS convention. As part of the ACHS convention experience, we take our customers to dinner on Friday night. We always have a wonderful time because we have, over the years, become friends along with the customer/vendor relationship. This particular year, Paula was attending the Friday night dinner for the first time. We were all to meet in the lobby of the hotel and drive together to dinner. Paula met us downstairs, and she was quite upset. She had left a young child at home and received a phone call that her child was sick. She was unable to accompany us to dinner because of her concern for this sick child. She proceeded back to her room to spend her evening alone. We have three children and know well the concern you feel when your child is sick, but especially if you are unable to be there. Our hearts went out to her for her worry and also because she would be alone rather than enjoying dinner with all of us. I decided to send dinner to her room as a surprise for the evening hoping she would know that we cared about her situation. We became friends and moved forward to a working relationship. I am forever reminded in my travels and association with people that in all the ways we are different, there are many ways we are the same. Family and friends are always a reminder of our sameness.
We wish Paula and her family well in their new location. Working with her has been a pleasure and we know she will be successful in her new endeavors.–Joe and Vicki Stablier
The Trophy House
I will miss Paula Miller when she leaves Psi Chi. It was wonderful to work with her for the four years that I served on National Council. She worked hard to assist the council as they did their business. She was also gracious and helpful to students at conferences, on the phone, and in emails. Through circumstances that were fun and some that were not so fun, Paula handled her work with class and professionalism. I am sad because she is leaving, but I'm grateful for her years of service. Psi Chi is better because she was there.–Scott VanderStoep, PhD
Psi Chi Midwest Region Vice President, 2002-06Hope College (MI)
Someone labeled "the model of professionalism" conjures in my mind characteristics such as skilled, organized, efficient, polished, effective, attentive to detail, motivated to excel, thoughtful, and outstanding communicator. Paula, you possess all of these attributes, but neither this list nor the sobriquet does justice to your personal warmth, your caring about Psi Chi, your concern for the members' and chapters' success, and your friendliness.
Whether supporting students working the Psi Chi Hospitality Suite at an APA or SWPA convention, to planning the wonderful 75th birthday celebration for Psi Chi in Hawaii, to producing quality-after-quality issue of Eye on Psi Chi,
to strengthening Psi Chi's presence in American and Canadian higher education, Psi Chi has thrived under your leadership. You have filled the "big shoes" with competence, style, and grace.
Thank you, Paula, for all you have done for psychology and for the many students and faculty bound to this wonderful Psi Chi organization. Best wishes as you begin your new journey!–Ken Weaver, PhD
Emporia State University (KS)
One way to pay tribute to Paula Miller is to think about writing a letter of recommendation for her. I had the opportunity to work closely with Paula during the 2005-06 fiscal year in my capacity as Psi Chi National President. Here are some words that I believe reflect her value to Psi Chi.
Paula Miller is an individual that any organization would be fortunate to have as an employee. First, she is a very conscientious individual, and she is a highly motivated person who expedites work in a timely manner. She also is a fast learner and once she learns something, she never forgets to anticipate what has to be done in future situations. Paula is very organized, and she maintains records in a highly competent manner. In fact, there have been several times when she has actually held down more than one Psi Chi job at the same time.
Paula Miller is a person who has handled overseeing the operation of a National Office for an organization in a highly effective manner. She interacts well with employees, and she handles very well the interactions with psychologists who rotate in and out as members of a National Council (a job which is not always easy). Among the tasks that she has expedited very well are: (a) serving as the Chief Operations Officer; (b) serving literally as the Chief Financial Officer; (c) serving as the editor of the organization's quarterly magazine; (d) serving as the major meeting planner for the organization; (e) serving as the archivist for the organization; (f) serving as the day-to-day problem solver for the membership of the organization; and (g) serving as the major administrative person with respect to setting agendas, maintaining minutes, and maintaining policy records.
If I were to go though a list of phrases that I would use in doing a performance appraisal of Paula Miller here are some words that would appear. She recognizes the importance of accuracy, and she is meticulous with details. She excels in achieving outstanding project results. She manages paperwork efficiently and effectively. She handles research very well. She is prompt in responding to requests. She carries out tasks in a cooperative manner. She fully accepts all responsibilities and meets deadlines. She has always taken a strong position in advocating for the employees to the Council. She inspires subordinates to work to achieve their potentials. She is highly skilled in carrying out assignments without direction. She takes the initiative in solving problems. She recognizes the power of information. She displays social grace. She works effectively in high pressure situations. She handles well special assignments and she displays versatile expertise.
From all of the above, it should be concluded that I highly respect Paula Miller and that her leaving Psi Chi is a great loss to the National Honor Society in Psychology. I have been affiliated with Psi Chi for almost 40 years. The 13 years that Paula has been with Psi Chi have seen her grow from a young assistant to the Psi Chi Executive Officer into a highly competent leader in her own right. I wish Paula and her family all of the best for the future.–Robert Youth, PhD
Psi Chi National President 2005-06Dowling College (NY)
Paula, you will be missed by Psi Chi as an organization, as well as by Psi Chi members across the country. We have been so lucky to have benefited from your expertise, enthusiasm, professionalism, and above all unwavering dedication to the goals of Psi Chi. Over the years you worked at Psi Chi, you had a positive influence in every area you touched. May your future unfold in amazing and unexpected ways, maybe even leading you back to us one day! Thank you for your friendship and support.–Martha S. Zlokovich, PhD
Psi Chi National President 2003-04Southeast Missouri State UniversityPaula
(front row, first from left) and the 2004-05 National Council members celebrate Psi Chi's 75th anniversay at the Psi Chi/APA Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii. Paula
conducts a presentation on Psi Chi grants and awards during the RMPA 2005 conference. Martha Zlokovich
(Southeast Missouri State University, a Psi Chi Past-President), Vincent Prohaska
(Lehman College, CUNY, Psi Chi Eastern Regional Vice-President), Virginia Andreoli Mathie
(Psi Chi Executive Officer), and Paula
attend the Best Practices Conference in 2005.Carol Tracy
stops by the National Office to give Paula
a farewell hug.