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December 19, 2014

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EXECUTIVE CLASS: Magic’s in the Details:

Meet Russell Joyner: NFL star goes shopping

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Christopher DeVargas

Russell Joyner

Former NFL player and current Executive Vice President and General Manager of Miracle Mile Shops Russell Joyner knows how to run a business. From the 50-yard line on the football field to what he calls the 50-yard line on the middle of the Las Vegas Strip—where his Miracle Mile Shops sit—this pro shares what has made him a success on and off the field.

What was your first job?

I was an attendant at a rectory, at a Catholic church in New York City. I was an office manager for all the priests. I just about to start high school.

What was your worst job?

I was a stock boy and cashier at a supermarket. You never realize how much work is involved at a supermarket. It was very labor intensive. It was the least rewarding job I’ve had, but it built character.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a football player and a businessman. I played football at Boston College—I was the team captain—and I went on to play for the Steelers and the Colts. It opened a lot of doors. Here I am, all those things checked off my list.

What’s your business philosophy?

Treat all levels of people you encounter with the same amount of dignity, from the lowest-level employee, to the highest-level employee.

What’s your motto?

Leave it better than how you got it.

What kind of watch do you wear?

I wear a Breitling. I also have a Michael Kors that I like. They’re comparatively inexpensive, and you have to be versatile. But, the Breitling—it’s like having a nice car.

What kind of car do you drive?

A silver Lexus LS 460 L.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Sometimes, it’s the same town I work in. A “staycation.” Other than that, it’s either somewhere in Mexico or somewhere in New York City or the East Coast. I’m not an exotic traveler. I find myself vacationing to places out of routine and necessity.

You’re trapped on a desert island. You get to have two CDs to listen to. What are they?

I’d say some tranquil jazz compilation CD, and a compilation that would have hip-hop and contemporary music. I have 7,000 songs on my iPod, so it’s tough to pick.

What movie could you watch over and over again?

Any James Bond movie. If I had to choose: You Only Live Twice. I could also watch The 40-Year-Old Virgin over and over again and Trading Places over and over again.

If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

My mom. She passed away last year. She outranks everyone.

What’s the restaurant for a business power lunch?

Cabo Wabo. It’s a festive environment. You can dine outside. You can look at all that the Strip has to offer from the 50-yard-line view. It makes you feel like anything is possible.

If you could give your high-school self some advice, what would it be?

Stay focused. Be true to your convictions. Things will work out just fine.

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