By: Joel Vazquez, Writer / Follow South Jersey Higher Education Intern
GLASSBORO, N.J. — From running one of the largest healthcare systems in South Jersey to volunteering at Rowan University, former Virtual Health CEO Rich Miller is hoping to inspire the next generation of business executives.
“My goal in life is to give back,” Miller said. “There’s no bigger gift, in my mind, than to help young people.”
This will be Miller’s first semester as executive-in-residence with the Rowan Center for Responsible Leadership. In this voluntary position, he will engage with students of the Rohrer College of Business through webinars and virtual panels. The biggest lesson he wants students to take away is the importance of leadership.
“It’s not just about leadership or having a job in leadership. It’s about how you become a leader,” Miller said. “I separate leaders that are out to make a buck and leaders that are in it to improve people’s lives. I really believe in the second one.”
He first began his career at Virtua, formerly known as West Jersey Health System, in 1986. Miller served as chief financial officer and then worked his way up to CEO in 1995. The company then merged with Memorial Hospital of Burlington County in 1997 to create Virtua Health System. Miller was named CEO and held that position until his retirement in 2017.
As someone who can look back at their career, the 68-year-old businessman said learning comes from looking at what you did right and what you could’ve done better. He wants to relate his experience to students by teaching them that professional wins are great, but every loss is an opportunity to grow.
“It’s a balance,” Miller said.
Another lesson he wants to teach students is that teamwork and leadership go hand-in-hand. Miller was only 42 years old when he first became CEO of West Jersey Health System. He had a lot to learn as a young business executive and in order to carry out his vision for the company, he needed help from his colleagues.
“The important thing about leadership is the guidance of people and making sure people succeed at the end of the day,” Miller said. “If you can do that, you’ve been successful.”
Miller is RCB’s second executive-in-residence. He will work alongside Jerry Maginnis, a retired managing partner at “Big Four” accounting firm KPMG who’s based in Philadelphia.. Together, they will help fulfill RCB’s mission to provide students with “real-world examples and experience.”
Dr. Sue Lehrman, dean of RCB, said that she was looking for someone who could be a role model for the students. Someone who could teach them how to be an ethical leader.
“He ticks off all the boxes,” she said.
Miller’s first webinar as executive-in-residence will begin at 7:30 p.m. on February 24. He will focus on nursing leadership during this webinar, and Rowan students can email RCRL@rowan.edu to register to attend.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.