Brandeis International Business School

Gene Miller brings students from the classroom to the board room

A new International Business School class places students on the boards of local nonprofits

Gene Miller

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis believed that success in business could not be measured by merely profits but by positive social impact as well. Brandeis International Business School follows in its namesake's footsteps, emphasizing education through experiential learning and giving back to the community at large. By placing students on the boards of nonprofits and guiding them through the experience, faculty member Gene Allen Miller is bringing her classroom into the board room.

Ms. Miller’s areas of expertise, she says, are social innovation and community impact. She has balanced a successful career in banking with nearly 20 years of serving nonprofits, including building and running her own. She joins the International Business School as an adjunct professor, setting up a new course — Field Projects: Consulting in Social Innovation Impact (BUS 295c). It focuses on experiential learning, placing students in 24 nonvoting board assignments. The majority of these nonprofits are based within Greater Boston, including Waltham, home to Brandeis.  

She considers herself more of a mentor than an instructor with a passion for developing future leaders. And she could not be better suited. Ms. Miller has spent more than 18 years on the boards of nonprofits including Newton-Wellesley Hospital, The Clipper Ship Foundation and the Planning Office of Urban Affairs. In 2017, she had the honor of being appointed by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to the Board of Commonwealth Corporation. Ms. Miller says she fell in love with board work early in her career, and by her mid-twenties was already on three different boards while balancing her career in banking.

In the yearlong class, students take on a major, board level assignment for each of the organizations. “The business school is heavily rooted in data analytics, quantitative marketing and finance,” explains Ms. Miller, adding that those skills are highly sought after in the nonprofit sector. In a recent radio interview, Ms. Miller shared how much she loves these experiences, saying, “I cannot tell you how joyful this work is. Everyone wins – the students win, the nonprofits win and I have a blast watching everybody grow.”

Hear more about Ms. Miller’s experience and goals for the class here.