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Brenda Miller-Fergerson

Strategic Advisor

A Bit About Me

Brenda Miller-Fergerson is a community-focused, results-oriented, servant leader with a reputation for aligning people and processes across departments to facilitate organizational effectiveness. Brenda is passionate about developing people and leading by example and demonstrates effectiveness in making challenging decisions in both the public and private sectors.

 

She is a well-rounded manager with a career characterized by success in roles with progressively increasing and diverse responsibilities. Brenda's leadership value includes experience as a Human Resource Director, Controller/Accountant, Communications Director, General Manager, Publisher, and Vice President. Master’s degree in Human Resources, Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, with PHR and SHRM-CP certifications and a Certified Public Manager (CPM) designation.

 

Professional History

 

CITY OF WEBSTER, Webster, Texas

2021-Current

 

Director- Human Resource Services

  • City-wide responsibility for $17.5 million dollar salary and benefits budget and 173 employees. Accountable for city-wide risk management policies and programs with a collective annual budget of $997,360.

  • Compensation Strategy: Created a new strategic compensation plan specific to individual departments and positions, eliminating the one-plan fits all approach. Resulting plans minimized wage compression in public safety (Police and Fire) and improved recruitment across departments.

  • Policy Development: Developed and implemented a new city-wide personnel policy manual, including the elimination of conflicting or duplicitous departmental policies. The engaged leadership team in the process of building trust and improving communication across the organization.

  • Performance Management: Created and executed a new Performance Evaluation Process, customized to each department. Created city-wide core values, position-specific key competencies, and a supervisor training manual with examples specific to departmental roles.

  • Recruiting Strategy: Streamlined recruiting, application, and onboarding processes via digitization and cloud-based technology. Developed new onboarding program and shifted focus from pushing paperwork to building an organizational culture focused on people and processes.

  • Risk Management: Organized and centralized risk management functions, including insurance and liability policies for city property and vehicles, as well as city-wide programs for safety, professional development, and employee engagement.

  • Training and Development: Implemented online training resources and certification programs to facilitate increased employee development across multiple facilities and departments.

  • Leadership Development: One of 20 women in Texas selected for and graduated from TCMA Women Leading Government Institute in 2021. Earned Texas Municipal League Leadership Academy Fellow designation in 2022.

  • Industry Service: TCMA Ethics Trainer; TCMA Professional Development Committee; ICMA Ethics Committee; ICMA Career Coach; ICMA Members-In-Transition Task Force Member; Public Sector Liaison-Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce

 

 

CITY OF FREEPORT, Freeport, Texas

2019-2021

 

Director- Human Resources and Communications

  • City-wide responsibility for human resources functions and strategy, payroll processes, and risk management for 150-175 employees.  Also served as a Public Information Officer.

  • Compensation Strategy: Created and implemented a new city-wide Merit-Based Pay Program. Developed and implemented a city-wide Certification Pay Program.

  • Performance Management: Created and executed a new Performance Evaluation Program, including rating scale for Core Values, Key Competencies, and Goal Attainment.

  • Policy Development: Re-wrote multiple employee handbook policies to align with organizational culture and strategies, while also complying with legislation.

  • Special Functions: Served as Public Information Officer for emergency operations. Managed COVID response, Emergency Paid Leave, and Emergency FMLA programs.

  • Leadership Development:   Earned Certified Public Manager Certification (CPM); completed Citizen Police Academy; completed Fair Labor Standards Act for Fire Departments Program.

 

 

CITY OF KEMAH, Kemah, Texas

2017-2019

 

Director- Human Resources, Communications, & Special Projects

[promoted to include Finance and Budget functions added in 2018]

  • Human Resources:  Established and executed HR policies including a new performance review process and disciplinary procedures.  Created a new employee policy manual. Effectively managed multiple long-term performance issues across departments in a short amount of time.  Developed internal controls and streamlined payroll and benefits processes. Established new FSA and Certification Pay programs.

  • Communications: Created communications and social media best practices. Served as Public Information Officer. Managed media and promotional campaigns to drive tourism and economic development. Executed a new Special Events Safety Plan to coordinate event planning across administration, police, and fire departments.

  • Finance:  Improved budgeting, reconciliation, and financial transparency processes. Streamlined payroll and accounts payable. Created a new Hotel Occupancy Tax funding process.

  • Leadership Development: Completed Texas City Management Association William “King” Cole Leadership Training; Completed Election Law Workshop.

 

Houston Community Newspapers and Media Group, Houston, Texas                                   

2011-2017 [Promoted from Director of Business Development to Publisher/General Manager]

 

Publisher [General Manager] (2012- 2017)

  • Leadership responsibility for 88 team members in six offices, including profit & and loss responsibility for 24 newspapers, company-wide Human Resources, and corporate-level marketing and communications strategy.

  • Successfully led staff re-organization and conversion of systems through two ownership changes in five years.

  • Reduced cost-of-sales and reduced employee churn by re-organizing sales territories.

  • Responsible for sales, marketing, editorial, and operations functions to consistently meet financial goals.

 

 

Director of Business Development (2011-2012)

  • Transformed a traditional marketing function into a strategic business development partner that contributed to measurable successes across departments. Developed a process for integrating business and consumer demographic data to analyze audiences, target distribution, improve sales execution, create new products, and align sales pressure with sales potential.

  • Completed consumer demographic studies of 29 newspaper titles. Contributed to restructuring and launching of seven new newspaper and website titles and two magazines in fourteen months.

  • Developed and executed a process to use business demographics to target sales activity, resulting in a 14% increase in new account acquisition year over year.

  • Won American Management Association’s Best in Category award for Print Media in 2011.

 

 

Victoria Advocate Publishing Company, Victoria, Texas                                                     

2006-2011 [promoted from HR Director to General Manager to Vice President to Senior Vice President]

 

Senior Vice President and General Manager

  • Led and developed a team of 153 team members in a local newspaper and digital media organization. Experience included P&L accountability and direct responsibility for all revenue-generating departments, including $16.6 million in advertising and circulation revenue. 

  • Led benchmarking, contingency planning, and process improvement initiatives to reduce cost structure by $2.6 million (17.5%) over three years, increasing net income by 52.8%.

  • Implemented performance improvement, succession planning, and "right-sizing" processes to reduce FTE count by 21% (39 positions) over three years without jeopardizing the quality of content or products, and without compromising commitment to core values and vision.

  • Executed strategy to keep core business healthy while shifting resources to digital initiatives.  Over five years digital revenue grew 262%, with expense growth of only 58%. Digital revenue as a percent of total revenue grew from 4% to 8% ($688k).

  • Developed a standardized New Product Development Process. Created seven new products in two years and grew revenue 95%.

  • Leadership Development: Completed year-long Leadership Victoria community leadership program.

 

USA TODAY NEWSPAPER, Houston, Texas

1993-2006 [Promoted from Assistant Controller to Controller to General Manager]

 

General Manager-USA TODAY (2002–2006)

  • Led and developed a team of 34 sales, operations, and accounting team members to maximize sales, service, and profit of a national newspaper.  Managed $8.7 million in revenue and $5.7 million in expense budgets and three offices in Houston, San Antonio, and New Orleans.

  • Improved productivity by initiating cross-departmental process improvements, resulting in 10.9% increase in Circulation per Employee, 13.9% increase in Net Profit per Employee, 15.5% increase in total Net Profit, 4.6% increase in Net Profit Percentage, and 1.1% reduction in Distribution Expense as a percent of revenue.

  • Implemented management development and inter-departmental effectiveness processes that resulted in national-level awards for employee engagement scores in the top 25th percentile of the company.

 

Controller-USA Today (1993–2002)

  • Earned region's first "Perfect Audit." Implemented internal control processes, initiated financial process improvements, and developed staff knowledge to lead the department from failed audit under previous management to perfect audit within two years’ time.

  • Earned national Outstanding Coaching Award for staff development and performance management.

 

 

Education

  • Master’s Degree (MA) in Human Resource Management

  • Bachelor’s Degree (BA) in Communications, with a minor in Management

 

 

Certifications

  • Certified Public Manager (CPM)- State of Texas in 2019

  • TML Leadership Fellow designation earned in 2022

  • TCMA Certified Ethics Trainer designation earned in 2022.

  • SHRM Professional in Human Resources Management (SHRM-CP)

  • SHRM Ethics Certification completed in 2022.

  • Human Resource Certification Institute Certified Professional (PHR)

 

 

InDUSTRY Service

 

City/County Management Associations:

  • TCMA-Selected for and graduated as one of 20 women in Texas in Women Leading Government Institute 2021.

  • TCMA Professional Development Committee

  • ICMA Coach Connect Program Advisor/Coach

  • ICMA Members in Transition (MIT) Task Force

  • ICMA Ethics Committee

 

 

VOLUNTEER SERVICE and BOARDS OF DIRECTORS

  • TCMA - Texas Women Leading Government Gulf Coast Chapter

  • Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce - Board of Directors

  • Texas Press Association – Executive Board of Directors

  • Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership – Board of Directors

  • Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce - Board of Directors

  • United Way – Executive Board of Directors

  • Girl Scouts of America – Board of Directors

  • American Heart Association

  • Special Olympics

  • Citizen Police Academy


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