Things learned from Gail Miller, owner of the Utah Jazz

Gail Miller and her husband have owned the Utah Jazz for decades. After her husband Larry passed away in 2009, she assumed full ownership of their businesses: the Jazz, 54 car dealerships, and a movie theater. She sat down for a podcast with Jonah Keri last month. My notes are below:

— Being charitable doesn’t have to be done at scale. Giving one can of soup every week is enough to make an impact. That feeds somebody. It’s gotta be in your heart to want to help people.

— Always be hedged for a downturn/recession so you’re not caught off guard.

— After her husband passed away, she needed to find out who she was without him. They’d been together for 44 years.

— The Jazz way: consistency and longevity. Hire players/management that are good people, and the organization provides any resources they need to do their jobs.

— They provide breakfast and lunch for the team at the practice facility every day. It builds camaraderie to have a central space to bring everyone together.

— If you have to strip down and start over like the team did several years ago, communicate that straight up to the fans to properly set expectations.

— Primary goal of the Utah Jazz organization is enriching lives. They provide entertainment and possibly a welcome distraction for individuals in their community.

— Her personal mantra: Be optimistic. Things can be good if you put the effort into them.