Philip Miller Bids Farewell to The Ebell

from Philip Miller, General Manager

July 19, 2021

Goodbye and Thank You

Philip Miller retirement

General Manager Philip Miller

My first memory of the Ebell is pulling up to the Grand Lady in June 2005 to meet with Fluff McClean and Gloria Droguett. My thought at the time was that I had driven past the Ebell many times over the years but never knew anything about the building or even what its name was, and now I was being given a tour of the formerly unknown-by-me edifice.

I recall that day vividly. It was a Sunday and, on the day prior, the Ebell had hosted a double Bat Mitzvah for twins. The theme of the Bat Mitzvah was “I Love Lucy” and the Dining Room, Lounge and Art Salon were a mess. Somehow the magic of the building shined through, along with the history of the Ebell of Los Angeles as told to me by Fluff and Gloria. Two months later I was installed as General Manager.

If you had asked me in 2005 if I would still occupy the office of GM in 2021 I would have said “No way,” but here I am, sixteen years later with the same passion for the Ebell.

I like to think that the Ebell and I came to each other at the appropriate time. The Ebell had been struggling to maintain consistent revenues from its three retail businesses of Catering, Filming Rentals and Theatre Rentals. I had just spent 26 years in the restaurant and hospitality industries and was looking for a different challenge.

It has been a very good marriage. The Ebell has been very good to me and, I believe, I to it. We have had challenges along the way that we had to face and find solutions to, such as the mortgage banking crisis of 2008 and 2009 and, most recently, the COVID pandemic which shut down our businesses for essentially fourteen months. We weathered those storms and I believe that we came back stronger with more determination to outpace our prior results.

We have also been able to preserve and restore several areas of the Clubhouse and Theatre along the way. Practically every room in the Clubhouse and Theatre has been repainted, concrete spalling around the building has been repaired, the Henry Lion statue and surrounding fountain has been restored and – to replace the failing system – a new heating and air conditioning system has been installed that provides a comfortable environment to the Dining Room and Theatre. We have modernized the passenger elevator that rides between the courtyard and third floor and we’ve removed much of the failing asbestos in the basement and on the third floor Terrace.

None of this could have been accomplished without the efforts and support of our cherished staff and volunteers from the membership. Special thank you to Julia, Lindsay, Meredyth, Michael, Anessa, Brady, Jenny, Sal, Edgar, Tommy, Kevin, Duane, Alex and Marsha. Your passion for the Ebell is very apparent.

I want to thank each of the nine Presidents that I have had the honor to serve as well as board members who have allowed me to operate the Ebell without obstacles.

I will cherish the friendships that I have made among the membership and staff and wish to thank everyone for their confidence and support.

 

Philip Miller with past Presidents

Philip (center) with past Presidents (top row) Kay Balue, Kelley Nelson, Jane Martin, Loyce Braun, Kay Lachter; (bottom row) Ginger Barnard, Patricia Lombard, Fluff McLean, at Philip’s Retirement Party Friday, July 16.

Philip Miller with staff

Philip (center) with the Ebell Staff: (top row) Alex Sierra, Sal Mejia-Contreras, Anessa Birkemeier, Andre Robinson, Chef Tommy Bellissimo, Renald Kampa; (bottom row) Julia Soto, Meredyth Deighton, Marsha Rosales, Brady Miller, Lindsay Liu, Duane Davidson.