Joseph Miller ’96: Father, Community Builder, Entrepreneur
Joseph Miller ’96, builds communities, revitalizes neighborhoods and empowers others. A successful real estate developer, he is revolutionizing the Los Angeles retail experience through the company he cofounded, Runyon Group.
Prior to working on some of the region’s most talked-about retail projects, such as Culver City’s Platform and downtown’s Row DTLA, his creativity and ambition were cultivated at Sinai Akiba. “Sinai Akiba gave me the confidence and ability to explore everything that I wanted to do in life,” Miller says.
In his senior year at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Miller realized that his true passion was in building creative communities. His family’s practice of hosting friends and community for Shabbat and holidays, traditions reinforced at School, inspired him to explore a real estate internship, creating physical space for creativity while bringing people together.
Today, he is most proud of the work he’s done at Platform, since it’s “home to many creative companies, and they are people we can empower to fulfill their creative vision.” Empowering others through creative opportunities was another quality cultivated during his school years. “Sinai Akiba provided me with a firm foundation for my professional life and in Judaism, which has helped me so much in my career. I am honored to be part of this community.”
Miller remembers building his first miniature community, a replica of the Gold Rush era’s Sutter’s Mill, in Renee Krauss’ history class. Always a history buff, he enjoyed the lessons in American and Jewish history, further evidence of the continuity of Jewish culture, and has drawn on them throughout his life.
The idea of being a link in a chain of a long tradition is especially meaningful now that he’s a father. Wanting his children to experience the same transformative experiences he had, he is now a proud Lainer School parent. The same place where his love of history and tradition were nurtured will now be a source of inspiration for his kids.
Asked what he most wants his children to understand about being Jewish, he says: “Take care of everyone you see, collectively. Do the work to put the structures of community into place.” Indeed, the qualities that Miller hopes to transmit to his children — ethical and communal responsibility, derech eretz (kindness and empathy) and avodat halev (soulful intention) — are core values that will be reinforced for the Miller children and all families in our school community for generations to come.