“My father always taught me to never turn down an interview, and I’m grateful I took his advice,” says Jill McMillan. She was working at a public relations and marketing agency when she was asked to interview with Crosstex Energy, the predecessor of EnLink Midstream. “When I accepted the Crosstex job, I didn’t know at the time that I had ultimately landed my dream job.”
During her 14-year career at EnLink Midstream, McMillan has been involved in communicating every major announcement and transaction, including IPOs and billion-dollar acquisitions. She led the creation of the company’s crisis communications response plan, investor relations program and the strategic plan. She has transformed how EnLink Midstream communicates with its employees, whom she refers to as the company’s “best assets.”
Professional achievements: At the age of 27, McMillan formed the EnLink public and industry affairs department from scratch. Today, at 40, she serves as the vice president of the department.
She works directly with the management team and serves as a senior strategic advisor on initiatives of the utmost importance, including the company’s strategic plan and leadership coaching on communicating major changes.
She played an integral role in the creation of the EnLink Midstream brand when the company was formed through a merger of Crosstex Energy and Devon Energy’s midstream assets. “My role involved facilitating strategic brainstorming sessions with both companies’ top leadership to create a new company brand. I also created a robust communication strategy to introduce the company brand to key stakeholders, including employees, customers and investors,” she says.
On industry: McMillan believes that the industry is “cyclical,” and she cautions professionals to be “be prepared for the ride.” She says that the industry can be an unpredictable environment that often conjures fast-moving storms. “Trying to provide executives with data and strategy they need to navigate the changing seas takes experience, expertise and confidence. Riding those tides can be often difficult but always rewarding,” McMillan says.
“Just because it’s been done the same way for years doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a fresh perspective. Don’t be afraid to speak up and drive change.”
She recalls that 2008 was an incredibly challenging time in the energy industry, when Crosstex Energy’s stock dropped as low as $0.79. “We had to act fast to regain credibility and transform our company. My team worked directly with executive leadership to create a 100-day plan of excellence that aligned the entire organization around the most critical steps needed to succeed.”
The 100-day plan was a strategic plan with specific near-term tangible goals, which the company had to achieve in order to transform the business. “The plan included a robust communication strategy to create a sense of urgency amongst employees and repositioning Crosstex Energy (now EnLink Midstream) as a top midstream company.” McMillan played a key role in facilitating all the stages of the strategic planning process and took complete ownership of the communications plan.
Advice for young professionals: “Lean in, find gaps where you can create opportunity. Just because it’s been done the same way for years doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a fresh perspective. Don’t be afraid to speak up and drive change.”
Little mentor: “One of the most important lessons I learned in life was from a little boy named Jonny Wade who passed away at the age of eight from brain cancer. For the one year I knew Jonny, he changed my life. He taught me what’s most important in life—faith, family and fight. He is an incredible angel, protector and mentor in my life,” she says.
McMillan is a board member of the Kids Shouldn’t Have Cancer Foundation, where she leads branding, marketing and public relations. The foundation has raised over $1 million in just four years for pediatric cancer research and has also raised greater awareness of childhood cancer.