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Rodrick Miller



Rodrick Miller has emerged as one of the nation’s foremost economic development leaders respected globally for his ability to maneuver in complex political and business environments, and craft strategies and structure deals to provide long-term value to communities and investors. His skills as a salesman, negotiator, policy expert, and corporate strategist have been refined in over 10 countries. Over the course of his career, he has brought more than $6B in private investment and 50,000 new jobs to communities where he has worked. He firmly believes sustained economic development growth is only achievable through an approach which is people-centered, leverages assets to add distinct value, and encourages strategic capital flows to create new opportunities.
Miller is the CEO of Ascendant Global, a boutique economic development firm focused on providing bold growth solutions to help economies sustain themselves and gain jobs and private investment. Ascendant Global has led diverse economic initiatives for a range of clients including Living Cities, the Kellogg Foundation, The Fund for our Economic Future, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Some of their engagements have included developing comprehensive economic growth strategies, setting up an economic development department for a municipality, creating a procurement program to grow revenues of local businesses, and designing a workforce development solution focused on opportunity youth.
Prior to founding Ascendant Global, he led economic recovery efforts in challenged markets across the country launching or turning around public-private development agencies in New Orleans, Detroit, and Puerto Rico. He led these efforts during and after some of the most challenging times these communities faced – bankruptcy, natural disasters, and entrenched economic decline. In each of these roles, Miller focused on enhancing competitiveness, providing prescriptive solutions to fix market challenges, building more inclusive economies, and attracting catalytic high-value private investment. Miller pulled together diverse stakeholders to craft actionable strategies with broad buy-in, provide integrated support to facilitate turnkey investment, and craft new narratives to reposition these markets for growth. The solutions he led encompass real estate and infrastructure, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce development, capital access, project finance, foreign direct investment and trade, and more. Miller began his career in the private sector in management consulting and infrastructure finance.
Miller holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science in International Business from St. Augustine’s College. He also gained a Graduate Diploma in Finance from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) in Mexico as a Fulbright Fellow. A scholar practitioner, he has been a featured speaker to organizations such as Google, AIG, and the World Bank and has lectured at Harvard University, Arizona State University, The University of Michigan and the Georgia Institute of Technology.He has written extensively in scholarly and trade publications on the future of work, inclusive economic development, and market competitiveness. Miller is a board member of the New Growth Innovation Network, the Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Board, New Corp (CDFI), and St. Augustine’s University. He is a former board member of the International Economic Development Council and completed a term membership with the Council on Foreign Relations. He has advised various federal agencies on economic policy including the Federal Reserve Board, the Economic Development Administration, and the White House. Miller has received numerous accolades including Young Economic Developer of the Year (2013), Michigan Man of Excellence (2016), the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Harvard Kennedy School Black Student Union (2018), and various others. He enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with his family. Miller is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese.

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