Lessons Learned from VP and Author Kelley Earnhardt Miller ‘95

Friday, June 18, 2021
Alumna offers insight into leading JR Motorsports and learning to win in business and in life.

Kelley Earnhardt Miller ‘95, one of the leading women in motorsports, said everybody’s success looks different. 

“Winning in life is that you’re happy,” Earnhardt Miller shared at a recent Belk Talks Business, a virtual series for Belk College alumni and friends.   

Earnhardt Miller, vice president and co-owner of JR Motorsports and daughter of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, is the author of “Drive: 9 Lessons to Win in Business and in Life.” 

During the session, she shared insight about her personal journey from UNC Charlotte undergraduate student to becoming one of the most prominent business women in motorsports. During the interview, she was asked to name three things she knows now that she wishes she knew as a college student.:

1. Connect with a mentor

“I packed my car and drove myself to summer school when I graduated from high school,” she recalled "I really didn't have a steady, constant mentor. Seek out that person who can work with you through college and can be a voice for you." 

2. Look at the bigger picture

Earnhardt Miller said: “I wish I would have known that some things weren’t going to matter. I wish I would have known to ask myself back then, ‘Will this matter in five years? Will this matter in a year?’” 

3. Study more

“I wish I would have studied more. I have probably forgotten so much. I had a photographic memory, but I didn’t always retain what I learned in college. 

Kelley Earnhardt Miller '95 and Ghada Ternanni '16The event, moderated by Belk College Alumni Council member and Women in Business Associates board member, Ghada Ternanni ‘16, also focused on Earnhardt Miller’s book and the tips she has for driving business as well as balancing professional and personal life.  

When asked about one of the tips in the book, “Lead from the heart,” Earnhardt Miller shared, “Know your audience and know your people. Let them know you care … It has helped us cultivate long tenure in employees because they feel like they matter to us more than just their ability to do a good job at work.” 

And what does winning mean?
“Meeting your needs at what makes you happy...to me that’s success, to me that’s winning.” 

A recording of the program is available on the Belk College's YouTube page.  


Belk Talks Business is a virtual event series that features interviews and interactive engagement with Belk College alumni and business partners. The series is designed specifically for Business Niners with guests sharing insight on leadership, tips for success and other timely and relevant topics.

Green and Gold Drive Business

Established in 1970, the Belk College of Business offers business education programs at the undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and executive levels. The Belk College is one of the Carolinas’ largest
business schools, with more than 4,600 students, nearly 100 full-time faculty, and more than 33,000 alumni. Accredited by AACSB International, the college is committed to building strong partnerships in the greater Charlotte region and beyond as North Carolina's urban research business school. Learn more about how the Belk College is driving business at belkcollege.charlotte.edu, and on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram