City of residence: Smyrna
Honors/awards: 2018 Cobb Chamber of Commerce Cobb Young Professionals’ Next Generation Award Winner (youngest ever to win at 22 years old), 2018 MUST DANCE: Cobb County’s Dancing with the Stars benefiting MUST Ministries.
Volunteer work: LiveSAFE Resources, Center for Family Resources, Rescuing Hope, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Foster Adoptive Parent Association, Horizon League, Sunshine on a Rainey Day, MUST Ministries. Emily also reads to the special needs children at Cobb County elementary schools, voluntarily teaches leadership in Cobb high schools, serves on the board for Cobb Young Professionals, is an active member of Cobb Executive Women, and serves as an ambassador for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.
What do nursing and baking have in common? Not much, if you ask most people, but they both changed Emily McMillan’s life forever.
McMillan started her career path thinking she would become a pediatric nurse. But, as paths often do, hers changed in an unexpected direction. While attending college for nursing, Emily started working part-time as marketing director for her mom’s new franchise bakery, Nothing Bundt Cakes.
“Give out cake to people in the community? Sure. Work at the happiest place on Earth? No problem,” she said. “I started reaching out to the community and making connections. Cobb County is the coolest place. I started falling in love with the community, and I fell in love with the product.”
After various positions within the company and changing her career path officially away from nursing, she became general manager of Nothing Bundt Cake’s Kennesaw location. Now, just three years later, she opened a Smyrna location for the bakery and is managing both locations. At 23 years old, McMillan is the youngest general manager in Nothing Bundt Cakes franchise history.
But her love of community still needed to grow, so she soon spearheaded an ongoing fundraiser for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. After connecting with CHOA and the corporate side of Nothing Bundt Cakes, Emily developed a fundraising campaign to coincide with September’s Pediatric Cancer Awareness month. “Our first year, just at Kennesaw alone, we raised $10,046. Other Atlanta bakeries started joining up and now, for the last three years, we’ve raised over $42,000,” she said.
Under McMillan’s supervision, Nothing Bundt Cakes has donated to many other charities. Along with CHOA, some of the other charities Emily and her bakery have donated to include Rescuing Hope, The Zone, MUST Ministries and LiveSAFE Resources.
“My heart explodes for volunteerism, I love everything that has to do with charity,” she said.
In addition to helping the community, it is important to McMillan to help everyone who works for her. “For us, it’s so much more than cake,” she said. “It’s a culture, it’s environment, it’s a safe haven. I think one of my biggest accomplishments is growing in this community. The people that we have in the bakery, being able to grow them and invest back into our employees, to see where they are growing and how our little bakery can fit into their lives and to grow them into future generation leaders – that’s what makes my job so great.”
Community leadership is something McMillan already knows about, even though she’s only 23. She was recognized last year by the Cobb Chamber as a recipient of the Cobb Young Professional Next Generation Award, for which she was the youngest to win in the award’s history.
McMillan attributes her success to working hard and living by her core values.
“I think if you are aligned with your core values and have the motivation to get somewhere and you are empathic about the people that surround you, that is the perfect foundation for leadership,” she said.
If you would like to celebrate these honorees, please join us for The Cobb Life List: 20 Under 40 Awards Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre. Tickets include the the fun awards program and a reception immediately following can be purchased by visiting cobblifemagazine.com/list.