Natasha Miller is an EO member in Los Angeles, and founder and Chief Experience Designer of Entire Productions, which designs, plans and produces incredible event experiences both virtually and in person. The company has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing, privately held companies three years in a row. Natasha recently shared how EO impacted her life and business:
As an entrepreneur, having an impressive arsenal of tools to pull from at any moment can be the difference between success and failure. Education, powerful connections, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences are all keys to entrepreneurial success.
But as a founder and CEO, where can you learn such skills while simultaneously hustling to grow your company? That’s where the Entrepreneurs’ Organization comes in. Throughout my years as a member, I have exponentially grown my business, achieved authority status through educational programs, and made lasting friendships with people all over the world.
I strongly identify with EO’s core value of Thirst for Learning and take advantage of every educational opportunity that comes my way. Successful entrepreneurs know that they will face fierce competition in the market and must stay up-to-date with the latest innovations and ideas to keep their businesses thriving.
I feel fortunate to have attended three high-level learning opportunities through EO:
- I attended EO with Harvard Business School Executive Education: Inspiring Entrepreneurial Strategy, with 95 other members from around the globe to develop groundbreaking strategies and skills in analyzing industry evolution that helped our businesses grow. At this exclusive EO Executive Education program, we learned directly from Harvard faculty in live discussions, participated in case studies and study groups, and attended guest speaking events that gave us a competitive advantage in the complex global economy.
- I was extremely fortunate to be accepted into EO’s Entrepreneurial Masters Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), along with 68 fellow members who are the owner, founder, co-founder or controlling shareholder of a company that grosses US$1 million or more annually. The rigorous sessions are held over four days at the MIT Endicott House, located in Dedham, Massachusetts, USA. The intense blending of practice and theory is designed to identify and bring together the next generation of entrepreneurial giants—the next Bill Gates or Richard Branson. Growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, I never imagined I would be in the same room as the next Bill Gates, let alone be considered as one. We have two more years left in the three-year class, and after completing the program, many classes go on to continue their studies as a group.
- The EO Global Leadership Conference (GLC) is a two-day, intensive training conference for EO members who volunteer to be leaders in their chapter or region. The high-caliber leadership content and unique experience of networking with other leaders make GLC one of the top entrepreneurial conferences of the year. The 2021 GLC programming and virtual conference experience were top-notch. I learned a lot via the content, met some new people, and also enjoyed being a sponsor of the event.
In addition to EO’s executive education and leadership education opportunities, the educational events that occur both at a local chapter level (in person and virtually) as well as regionally and worldwide are very impressive! Among the thought-leaders I’ve been able to see are Gary Vaynerchuck, Barbara Corcoran, Magic Johnson, Sara Blakely, Chris Do and Seth Godin. As the founder of an event production company, I might briefly encounter such high-caliber celebrities, but rarely would I get the chance to speak with them and ask questions and get valuable responses—as I do through EO learning events.
Perhaps the most impactful benefit of EO is its members. EO’s brand values summarize the membership experience beautifully: “We are committed to each other’s growth and well-being. We build deep human connections across rooms, cities, countries and continents. Our community is inclusive, and we value diversity. We are from different cultures, religions and backgrounds, but EO binds us together.”
EO is a non-solicit peer group, but when asked organically, we do a lot of business with each other. For example, my company, Entire Productions, has been referred to businesses by EO members, and when appropriate, we also refer business to EO member companies.
When COVID hit, I also hit a professional low point. My multi-million-dollar business came crashing down in a matter of days, and I had to make the gut-wrenching decision to permanently lay off six employees. Through EO, I was able to learn quickly about the US-based Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) from EO members such as Ami Kassar, the CEO of MultiFunding and an expert in small business funding, based on their experience and expertise. The PPP enabled me to keep a small but scrappy team; we dug deep to become the experts on virtual and hybrid events. We ended up doing over 200 virtual events in 2020 and finished the year with US$1M in profit―which is a miracle number given the circumstances.
Through my connections in the organization, I was also able to secure a PPE supply for one of our larger corporate clients via an EO member in New York City and sell surplus PPE to an EO member in Southern California. It was extremely meaningful for me to return the support I received, especially during such a turbulent time.
The gym, wine clubs, streaming platforms―these memberships may come and go―but as long as my bio says “entrepreneur”, I will remain a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. I’ve made a lot of investments in my 20 years of business, but none as impactful as the decision to lean in and commit myself to explore the opportunities and benefits provided by EO.
My company, like many others, is now seeing the light at the end of the COVID tunnel as social and corporate event requests start to roll in. Now, with my arsenal of tools supplied by EO, I am ready to take on whatever comes my way; new virus variants, cancellations and anti-vaxxers beware!