Eighteen years after being hired as the second student employee at the Ballard Center for Social Impact at the BYU Marriott School of Business, Aaron Miller now helps lead the center as an associate managing director. Through his nearly two decades worth of experience in encouraging and supporting students as they “Do Good Better,” Miller also spends his free time teaching others about the benefits of helping people.
As an MPA/JD student at BYU Marriott, Miller became involved with the Ballard Center following the center’s creation in 2003. “At the time, the Ballard Center was located in a cleared-out closet used as an office space,” Miller recalls. “Now, the center has grown and works with more than 3,000 BYU students every year.”
During his time with the center, Miller has been a key staff and faculty member in managing competitions and student research, as well as helping students find opportunities to make an impact in their communities. In addition to his work with the Ballard Center, he is an associate teaching professor in BYU Marriott’s MPA program at the Romney Institute of Public Service and Ethics.
Miller’s latest project is working as the faculty director for the Ballard Center's new Do Good Better competition. Students will have the opportunity to research and pitch organizations to Ballard Center faculty and outside professionals, with the goal of helping the center partner with quality organizations for student internships and other endeavors. The semester-long activity also allows students to learn the intricacies of successful organizations so they can model those practices in their own work.
“I believe that the world only becomes better if we are the ones to improve it,” Miller says. “I have enjoyed working at BYU Marriott for so long because I can have a career focused on making the world a better place. The Ballard Center has an incredible team of people and incredible students. My goal is to reach as many students as possible and help them recognize their potential and capacity to do good in the world.”
While Miller is busy working with students at BYU Marriott, he also dedicates time to teaching as many people as he can about ethics and social impact. “I believe that all people have an instinct for improving things around them, they just need to know where to start,” he explains. “I want everyone to know that God does not put a good heart to waste.”
In May 2021, Miller launched a podcast called How to Help, where he interviews various individuals about their experiences and insights on helping others. The podcast has more than 6,000 downloads with listeners in 47 different countries. “The podcast is a fun way for me to have conversations with people I find interesting,” Miller says. “My goal is for people to feel inspired and empowered so they can live lives with integrity, meaning, and impact.” He is currently preparing for a second season.
In addition to his podcast, Miller coauthored a book called The Business Ethics Field Guide in 2016. The book teaches readers how to manage common ethical dilemmas by bridging the gap between an individual’s intentions and actions. “Ethics is more than just having good character,” he explains. “Ethics requires skills to provide solutions in a constructive way.”
Miller is motivated and inspired to do what he does every day by the work he sees students accomplishing during their time at the Ballard Center. “The most rewarding part of working in the Ballard Center is the BYU students I work with and the energy, pure motives, and instincts they follow,” Miller says. “Students see the world through a new lens and inspire me to look for more sustainable, lasting change.”
Writer: Mike Miller