We all have a destiny in accordance with the breadth of our shoulders. So said the world-famous tenor Placido Domingo once said.Christine Miles, recipient of the 2012 Broad Shoulders Award, has found her destiny through the work she does quietly, offering her own broad shoulder, her wisdom and her heart to others. Miles received the award May 23 at La Colombe d’Or Mansion, during Houston Woman Magazine’s Sixth Annual HER Awards Luncheon. As the president of CMS/Creative Marketing Services, Miles provides marketing and financial communications counsel, but it is the guidance she provides to other women in need that truly enriches their lives –– and her own.
After conquering her own addiction more than 20 years ago, Miles now mentors other women and currently meets with four ––some for just a brief weekly meeting to keep them on track and with others she speaks with several times each day. Some of the women she counsels are struggling with addictions of their own, while others may be going through divorces, grieving the loss of a significant other or are in the midst of significant transitions in their personal lives or careers. “When a woman begins to make progress, Christine seems to know just what is needed to help her keep moving forward,” said her friend, Susan Lieberman, who nominated Miles for one of the HER Awards, which honors excellent role models.
“She’s always providing friendship, comfort and support to others," said Lieberman.
Although she had no formal training as a counselor, Miles said it was through Alcoholics Anonymous that she discovered a “tremendous source of joy” guiding others to sobriety.
“In that program, we are asked to turn around and help others,” said Miles. “I found, through my own path, I had a calling to listen and help others find a path that would work for them —whether it was a path to sobriety or walking with them through difficult financial or emotionally painful times.”
It wasn’t always easy, Miles said of the times she felt compelled to take someone to jail. But then, she was also there to pick them up when they were released at four o’clock in the morning. “That’s not joyous. That’s a very hard thing to do,” she said. “The joy comes a year later when they are gainfully employed, living in their own apartments, reunited with their families, and you know that they’re on a path where they’ll never be a drain on society again.”
For seven years, Miles has served on two boards of the Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston and, currently, she is a trustee on the board of directors for the council’s foundation.
Miles is also the founding board chair of Discover Fitness Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing gymnastics scholarships to overweight children and young gymnasts who need financial assistance. Miles is a past president of the Spring Branch Memorial Club which assists families afflicted by addiction. Currently, she is active on the finance committee of the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance, a resource and certification organization that serves women business owners. Additionally, she is the current president of Praeclarus, a women’s networking group that has been meeting for 35 years.
In her own business, Miles has worked with many top-tier energy clients, as well as Rice University, the Houston Public Library Foundation and the Australian American Chamber of Commerce. She has been honored with many public relations, marketing and communications awards from the International Association of Business Communicators, American Marketing Association and the Houston Advertising Federation.
“Everyone who knows Christine Miles thinks of her as a person who willingly provides wise counsel,” Lieberman stated in her nomination document. “I know many women in Houston — successful, generous women I deeply admire. They offer all kinds of wisdom. But, Christine is ‘decathlon-wise.’ She is just wise in so many categories.”
“I’m tremendously honored to receive the Broad Shoulders Award,” Miles said. “While I have three step-children, I have no children of my own. So, the people I help are a large part of my legacy to this world. For me, if I can change one person, if I can bring one life from darkness into light or if I can help one person walk from pain into healing, then I can die with contentment and filled with joy.
“There’s a Chinese proverb that says. ‘It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness,’ and I feel my helping others is the way I light that candle.”
Deborah Quinn Hensel is a free-lance journalist and staff reporter for Houston Woman Magazine.