A Co-founder hangs up her handbag

Vera Bradley Co-Founder, Patricia R. Miller“Barbara and I decided to enter the world of women’s bags and accessories 30 years ago. With an idea and a vision, Vera Bradley became a reality,” said Co-founder Patricia Miller.

After three decades in which she exuded leadership, empathy and kindness, good humor and a highly contagious work ethic, Patricia has announced her plans to retire from Vera Bradley and move on to other interests.

Vera Bradley Co-Founders, Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia R. Miller

“Vera Bradley is a thriving enterprise today because of a friendship that spans several decades. Pat’s business skills paired with Barb’s creative talents were the perfect combination to successfully launch this company in 1982,” said Mike Ray, Vera Bradley’s CEO.

Her inspiration has touched many at Vera Bradley …

“Pat has a heart of gold. Here is this wonderful, beautiful person who started in a basement with orange Fiskars scissors on a ping pong table, who helped to build this wonderful, successful company. She is still the most down-to-earth, loving, caring and giving person I have ever met.  She is admired and loved by so many people and will certainly be missed.”Lisa B., Executive Assistant

“I think the world of Pat and have loved working with her. She has reinforced [core values] Honesty and Caring for me, with a very genuine personality that is so special in today’s world.  For many years, as we grew rapidly, Pat still found time to walk around the office and touch base with everyone.  She would ask you about your family and genuinely cared about what you would tell her.  Pat taught me to hug. When I first started, everyone would hug Pat and Barb as they left for a show and would call when they took their first order. This was not my usual habit, but now I am a hugger and happier for it!  – Deb Y., Shared Services Supervisor

“We traveled together in 2000 and it was a wonderful learning experience for all of us. Even though she was the ‘boss,’ she willingly took a back seat and let us work with everyone to make all the approvals that were necessary. She made us feel comfortable and never questioned our work. We developed a more personal relationship on this trip and it has continued to grow through the years.”Becky B., Sr. Technical Design Manager

“I will always remember sitting up at the lake with her. Pat shared stories about her Mom and Dad and working at their store when she was young.  That experience was the basis for her strong work ethic that she always applied in her time at Vera Bradley.”Ed D., Facilities Technician

“Pat gives her full and sincere attention to everyone. She doesn’t place value on a person based on their rank or title. In her eyes, everyone is equally deserving of her time and respect. Pat genuinely cares about people.”Veronique P., VP, Product Design

“When I think of Pat, I realize I always know what she’s reading. She’s ready and willing to share and discuss her latest book with you. Pat is a lifelong learner. Her thirst for knowledge is extraordinary.”Judy W., Sr. CAD Artist

“Pat truly cares about the employees of Vera Bradley and their families. When my 4-week-old son was in the pediatric intensive care unit at the hospital, Pat took time out of her day to stop in and visit.  She really knows how to lift someone’s spirits; at any moment, she can pull a joke out of her pocket. I think she should write a joke book in retirement!”Melissa S., Public Relations Manager

“Pat is the true embodiment of the term ‘servant leader’. She is ready and willing to pitch in where needed and no task is below her. As a matter of fact, she found me after hours in the warehouse several years ago just before the Classic and asked if she could help. Because I know Pat and know that she really meant it, she was soon beside me packing boxes and hauling them out to the truck!”Catherine H., Executive Director of Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer

“Pat truly cares about people.  When she brings in someone to tour our buildings, she typically needs to be ‘pushed’ along as she is always stopping to talk to all of the employees. And she is always on the go. I suspect it will be no different in retirement, with golf, travel, etc. Best wishes!”Matt W., EVP, Operations

“Pat has been a huge part of my Vera Bradley life ever since I began working here. She is always ready with a warm hug and I will miss having her in the offices.”Debbie W., Executive Assistant

“I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to know, work with, and learn from Pat over the years. In nearly every conversation I have had with her, she made it a point to check in on both business and family life. I will miss her recommendations for reading, movies and travel, and wish the absolute best for her in whatever she decides to tackle and conquer next. Whatever she touches, she will leave a little better than she found it.”Adam F., Director, Infrastructure

“Full of zest, grace and beauty, Pat personifies the human spirit. That smile and twinkle in her eyes say it all. She’s a kind soul with a big heart and never short on warm hugs.”Ana M., Copy Proofreader

“Because of Pat and her vision I have spent the past 11 years at a company I am truly proud to work for.”Ted D., Shipping Manager

“The one thing Pat said that sticks out in my mind is, ‘you should never stop learning.’ She also said quite often, ‘be curious.’”Julie N., VP, Human Resources

“Pat has a quote she likes to share and it has stuck with me, ‘If you aren’t keeping score, you’re just practicing.’ It was always in the context that we have to measure our performance. If we don’t, we don’t truly know how we are doing.”Cheri L., VP, Indirect Sales

“The solid foundation and positive culture that Pat helped build will certainly live on at Vera Bradley. We wish her the best as she starts another chapter and look forward to her ongoing contribution as a member of our Board.”Mike R., CEO

Best wishes from everyone in your Vera Bradley family!

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20 Responses to A Co-founder hangs up her handbag

  1. Eleanor siegel says:

    PLEASE. Bring back some of the original colors. They are so appealing!!!

    • Lynnie says:

      Rude. This is a farewell post to the co-founder of the business that you are complaining about. At least wait till the next post. Jeez, no common sense…

  2. Nan Walvoord says:

    Pat is truly a great lady, who is an inspiration to us all. Barb and Pat are the perfect mix…just stating the obvious. Look at the wonderful company they have nurtured. We will miss Pat, but are so grateful that Barb is still continuing her leadership.

  3. Deezee says:

    Gee, I wish that I had been part of that conversation where they discussed starting a company! No, seriously, I am just glad that I found Vera Bradley when I did! The products have brought me a lot of joy.

  4. Amanda Lents says:

    Best wishes, Patricia. From all your friends at Parkleigh!

  5. kristie campbell says:

    wow!!! that is awesome!!!

  6. Tammy says:

    Wow, don’t we all wish that we could retire with such accolades. Congratulations on a job well done and best wishes as you relax into retirement.

  7. Evelyn Karwoski says:

    Good luck Pat as you start a new phase of your life. I hope you find retirement as fullfilling as I do.

  8. Karen Keown says:

    I am so HAPPY for you!!!!! I know Vera Bradley will always be a GREAT company!!! Enjoy you time off!!!!! God Bless you!!

  9. sbazootie says:

    All the best to Mrs. Miller!!! I’m sure she will still be stopping in from time to time, keeping her good taste and elegance in the works!! Selfishly- I’m kind of sad. She and her partner brought beauty in a unique way into the world. You made it a little softer. Thank you so much Keirsten Schwartz


  10. allison says:

    aw,you know I have always wanted to meet you!!!you are so sweet from the sound of it and when I get older like 20 I hope to be like you!!!!

  11. Barb Beck says:

    My friend got me hooked on Vera Bradley products. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Best wished in your retirement.

  12. Denise M says:

    I wish you all the best, Patricia. Thank you for founding a wonderful company that has enriched so many lives!

  13. Mendy says:

    I have not carried a purse other than a Vera in more than 10 years. I love your style, the Colors and everything about Vera. Thanks so much for all you have done. Good luck in your future ventures.

  14. Pamela Crosby says:

    Thank you so much for Vera Bradley. Vera products bring women everywhere together. Best wishes in your retirement.

  15. dotmoody says:

    Happy retirement Mrs. Miller, enjoy your time with your family, and always enjoy the little things in life! I wish you well 🙂

  16. Mary Lou mccallum says:

    I moved Tx 5 years ago and get complaints on all my purses. Just love the inside pockets. Miss the sale in Fort Wayne. enjoy your retirement! Mlou

  17. Pingback: Your Brand When You Leave the Room | Michelle Mains

  18. Regards for helping out, excellent info

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