Following the mission of the Ballard Center for Social Impact to solve global and community problems, adjunct professor Brent Goddard encourages students to do good. Although Goddard did not set out to lead social responsibility efforts, he was willing to embrace the opportunities that converted a product manager into a social impact practitioner and instructor.
As a native of Salt Lake County, Goddard graduated from Skyline High School. After he served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Central America, he went on to study finance at the University of Utah.
“When I finished my bachelor’s degree, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career,” Goddard says. “So, I stayed in school for an MBA at Harvard Business School. In the second year, I took a class called Self-Assessment and Career Development. My work in that class made my path clear, and I pursued product and brand management, which was a demonstrable fit with my skills and interests.”
After he finished his MBA, Goddard worked for General Mills, where he managed brands such as Cocoa Puffs. But he ultimately concluded that living in Minnesota was not a fit for him. “I decided that Minneapolis was too cold to live in as a single person. So, I returned to the west and found my eternal sweetheart.” He then went to work for other companies such as Oral-B Labs and Gourmet Brands. He also consulted and trained at a number of large corporations.
“Working for large consumer goods companies taught me the disciplines of brand management—such as planning, testing, coordination, and advocacy—that prepared me for the rest of my career,” Goddard shares.
Eventually he found a place at Nu Skin in Utah County. He started out as an executive in product development, but an irresistible opportunity came along. “Nu Skin became a sponsor for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City,” Goddard says. “They asked me to leave the product area to manage the Olympic sponsorship.”
This project consisted of creating and achieving goals that leveraged the sponsorship to increase company awareness and profits. Goddard worked with distributors and managed several different events to increase local and international publicity.
After the Olympics, Goddard had a choice between going back to product management or pivoting to a position with Nu Skin’s new humanitarian initiative, Nourish the Children. “There was no question. It was Nourish the Children. That was my transition away from product management,” Goddard explains.
As Goddard managed this initiative, he made multiple trips to Africa, Asia, and South America to oversee the delivery of Nu Skin’s VitaMeal product to malnourished children. Under Goddard's direction, the company provided over 600 million meals to children around the world.
From these humbling experiences, Goddard learned important lessons. “I realized it's not about me, it’s about other people.” With that same spirit, Goddard spent 15 years working with the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation, which provides clean water, agricultural education, vision care, and heart surgeries. Reflecting on his career, Goddard says, "There’s not any way I could have planned this career arc. But divine intervention made all this happen for me, and I couldn't be more grateful.”
After Goddard’s retirement six years ago, Todd Manwaring, then director of the Ballard Center, asked him to help develop a new corporate social impact course offered through the center. The purpose of the class was to help students solve social issues in partnership with large corporations.
With the support of his family (including his wife, 27 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren), Goddard has now taught the corporate social impact class for the last six years. Emma Morrell, a global supply chain student from Idaho, shares, “Brent's corporate social responsibility class is hands down the best class I have taken at BYU.”
In the class, students utilize Goddard’s connections in the humanitarian sector to work with corporations and develop solutions to social problems. “We teach students how to solve problems, how to plan, and they just jump in,” Goddard says.
He also teaches an on-campus internship class that pairs BYU student teams with corporations such as Intel, Microsoft, Walmart, doTERRA, and Cisco on their social impact initiatives. These social impact projects draw students from nearly every college and major on campus.
Goddard plans to continue creating impact through the Ballard Center. He says, “I wish that every student at BYU knew about the Ballard Center and how it will help you do good, better.”
Written by Kacee Call