Million named Operating Partner at Highland Consumer Partners

Smaiyra Million has joined Highland Consumer Partners as an Operating Partner. Previously, Smaiyra was the CEO of Millennium Partners Sports Club Management.

PRESS RELEASE

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Highland Consumer Partners, a growth-stage venture capital firm focused on the consumer sector, announced that retail and hospitality executive Smaiyra Million joined the firm as an Operating Partner.

Prior to joining Highland Consumer, Smaiyra was the CEO of Millennium Partners Sports Club Management, where she spearheaded the creation of this operating company that managed 7 health clubs under the Sports Club/LA and Reebok Sports Club brands, with revenue in excess of $100 million, across 5 states.  She was originally recruited to The Sports Club/LA in 1998 to become one of the company’s General Managers, was promoted to COO in 2006 and ultimately elevated to the CEO position in 2011.   Prior to Millennium, Smaiyra spent a decade at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in both operations and sales roles, including international property openings.  She served on the Ritz-Carlton team that was awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1992, awarded for the first time to a service company.  Smaiyra has been named to Boston Business Journals Top 100 Women Led Businesses in Massachusetts in 2011, 2012 and 2013.  She was also recognized in 2014 by YW Boston with her induction into the Academy of Women Achievers.  Smaiyra currently serves as an “Investor in Residence” for Babson College as well as a Mentor for the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School. She has participated on the boards and has been affiliated with Artist for Humanity, Cocomama Foods, International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association, Vistage, and The Ellevate Network.  She is now an active board member of PaintNite LLC, a recent Highland Consumer investment.

“Smaiyra is a world class operator with a specialty in best-in-class customer service and retail operations,” said Peter Cornetta, Managing General Partner with Highland.  “Her experience in managing complex businesses in various functional roles throughout her career is invaluable to our portfolio management activities and our approach to analyzing new transaction opportunities.  In the short period of time since Smaiyra has joined our team, she has already had a meaningful impact on our organization and our portfolio.”

“I am excited to partner with Highland Consumer and believe I can help the team create value when partnering with growth-stage, consumer-facing companies,” said Smaiyra Million. “In evaluating the next step in my career after the successful sale of Millennium, I believed Highland Consumer was a firm where I could contribute my cumulative learnings across a variety of organizations.  They have a strong history investing in growth-stage companies in the retail and consumer sectors and I am excited to work with the team both on the front-end and with our portfolio of investments.”

Tom Stemberg, Managing General Partner with Highland, added, “The addition of Smaiyra  was a perfect fit with the Highland Consumer model of marrying operating and investing expertise to help great people build great companies.  As the retail and consumer environments continue to change, an unparalleled customer experience is the bedrock of sustainable differentiation.  Smaiyra’s background will be critical to helping our portfolio realize on this objective.”

About Highland Consumer Partners
Highland Consumer Partners specializes in retail, services and consumer products investment opportunities in growth-focused companies with proven business models, operating in attractive growth markets. Highland Consumer brings together an investment team with extensive experience founding, growing, operating and investing in successful consumer companies. It also offers companies a unique value proposition through the hands-on guidance and active involvement of its domain experts.  Highland Consumer has invested in such firms as City Sports, DavidsTea, J.McLaughlin, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, Trupanion, Merrick Pet Care, and Pinkberry.  For more information, visit Highland Consumer’s web site at www.highlandconsumer.com.

SOURCE Highland Consumer Partners