Spotlight: J.J. Miller, SVP, video & media production
We’re excited to introduce our April employee spotlight, J.J. Miller, Sharecare’s SVP of video & media production. J.J. graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1994, and has since navigated a prolific career, including serving as a VP of programming at People TV, executive producer at Time Inc., and VP and senior creative executive for Katie Couric Media. She’s also had career stops at HuffPost, SiriusXM, and the Oprah Winfrey Brands.
This month, J.J. was inducted into the NC Media & Journalism Hall of Fame as one of six 2023 Honorees. The recognition honors diverse individuals and exceptional leaders with ties to North Carolina who demonstrate leadership in their spheres of influence, while exemplifying the highest professional standards and commitment to inspiring and advancing young people in media and journalism careers. But the career highlight we’re most proud of? J.J.’s five years at Sharecare leading the video and media production team – which earned dozens of awards last year under her direction and over 100 awards during her tenure at Sharecare.
Accomplishments aside, what truly distinguishes J.J. is her passion for storytelling, and her firm commitment to representing the diverse experiences of individuals with empathy and humanity – and we couldn’t be more proud to have her as part of the Sharecare family.
Tell us about your role, J.J.
Sure. I’m senior vice president of video & media production at Sharecare, so I manage video and media across all branches of the company, all divisions. Whether it’s a video needed for our Enterprise business, to our social feeds, or Life Sciences division – anything that is video I oversee.
Most of Sharecare’s videos and media can be categorized between three groups. There’s the editorial team that meets daily to coordinate Sharecare’s forward-facing content for consumer, client, and user feeds. There’s also our work with the Life Sciences division to support client relationships with pharmaceutical companies – and that content mostly lives on sharecare.com and is primarily made up of videos that coincide with different health conditions. Lastly, we work on videos across the company with the product and marketing teams – whether that is to deliver the content client services needs to run a webinar, or to give the sales teams video content to explain what a product does, we do it all. We also make sure the Sharecare app has all kinds of interesting and compelling content in each user’s feed.
What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on?
Some of the most exciting work we’ve done is Sharecare Vital Voices, which was created with the Life Sciences division to showcase the authentic stories of real patients across different races, cultures, and backgrounds. There’s been several of our clients who – especially given the increasing importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and struggle for LGBTQA rights – have realized there are such deep existing health disparities and have championed making content that speaks to these diverse groups to spotlight their voices and show just how unique their personal health journeys are.
Recalling Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s remarks that “of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane,” I’ve also been more aware of just how important it is to shine a light on these stories. In general, we all know increasingly more about inequities post COVID, and just how big that disparity is, but it’s wonderful to intentionally place increased focus and attention on voices that haven’t been previously heard within the healthcare conversation.
Can you share a little more about Vital Voices?
There’s two storytelling formats used in the production; both first-person stories and then also roundtable discussions. The personal stories are very moving; I’ll never forget one of the interviews, with a pregnant Black woman who recounted her regular prenatal care check-ups with multiple different doctors, who all kept presenting her with options for terminating her pregnancy – even though she was adamant that she didn’t want to terminate her pregnancy. She kept thinking they would not treat a white woman in this manner. All these moments patients have with their doctors, within the system, highlight institutional inequities.
The roundtable discussions were just as moving. After connecting diverse individuals in a group dialogue, they became more and more comfortable throughout their conversation, especially in the discussions led by a Black doctor. Having a healthcare professional validate their experiences – especially one as brilliant and amazing as Dr. Ebony Hilton – was powerful to witness.
You’ve had a prolific career. Do you have a favorite highlight?
Working at Harpo Productions with Gayle King and with Oprah Winfrey was a truly life changing highlight. They are the greatest example of fierce women, who also lead a team of predominantly women. I had the opportunity there to talk about things that really resonated with me, and they are two of the greatest examples of hard work that I’ve ever seen.
Can you tell us about your journey to Sharecare?
I moved to New York and started selling advertising for Footwear News after my degree at UNC, where I learned the business side of the media trade and saw how nothing we do is in a silo since finances drive much of the industry.
Then, after 9/11, I decided I really wanted to work for someone that I believed had the power to make a change in the world. That’s why I stayed at Harpo Productions for 10 years. Around the time Gayle King was leaving for CBS This Morning, I went to SiriusXM for three months, but ultimately wanted to work somewhere more fast-paced. I left SiriusXM when HuffPost Live was getting ready to launch, which was an exciting opportunity to re-think everything about traditional television and discover how to translate it into a digital format.
From there I left to launch Katie Couric’s production company. After, I went to Time Inc. where I ran all the video and TV for People, Entertainment Weekly, Essence, People en Espanol, and InStyle. When Time was sold about 10 years ago, I started my own production company. Then, I came to know Sharecare through some of my media contacts, which led to me working here full time.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given and what advice would you give?
Gayle King told me early in my career to hire people better and smarter than you, and I’ve taken it to heart. Another important lesson I’ve learned was how important it is to share credit with others. When I was in college at UNC, Dean Smith was the head basketball coach and I was a basketball manager. He always emphasized how important it was to point to the person passing the ball. Anytime you made a basket, you had to point to the person who assisted it to you, or you got pulled out of a game.
So, to add to Gayle’s advice of hiring awesome people and Coach Smith’s advice to make sure you’re always giving your teammates the credit, I would add it’s important to make sure you’re always voicing what’s important to you. Being able to watch Oprah move through the world, who has so many things to teach us, it all comes down to being true to yourself, being authentic. Sometimes it gets you in trouble. Sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s, you know, it’s really the only way to live, in my opinion. You have to be yourself.
Where’s your favorite place that you’ve visited?
The best trip I’ve ever been on was to Egypt with my husband and daughter. We stayed in an apartment instead of a fancy hotel, and it was good for my daughter to see the way other people live. The travel destination at the top of my bucket list is Yemen, where my husband is from, and I haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit.