Be careful what you wish for and grateful for what you receive, Jeff Miller, president and chief health, safety and environment officer of Halliburton, said during a recent talk at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.
“If I had gotten what I thought I wanted, I would have been terribly short-changed,” he said of his career and personal life. “I have received even more than I had envisioned I would.” He also passed along advice he received from his grandfather: Always shine your shoes, have a good haircut, be on time and have a pen and a piece of paper on hand to capture important words from others. He also advised writing down your goals so you can remind yourself of them.
Connecting with his community
Miller, who received an MBA from Mays in 1988, oversees approximately 55,000 employees in over 80 countries representing 140 nationalities. In spite of the company’s size, he said he strives to maintain individual relationships. At work, he stays connected by writing hand-written thank-you notes each week. He also films a monthly video series with messages to his employees titled “A Minute with Miller.” At home, his wife and children keep him grounded. As a family, they have moved nine times with Halliburton as Jeff’s career has taken them around the globe to Venezuela, Angola and Indonesia. According to Jeff, the experience was invaluable. “We learned more, we grew more as a family and we met people we never would have met otherwise.”
Mays Dean Eli Jones hosted Miller as part of the Dean’s Executive Speaker Series, which brings in business leaders to speak to Mays students and the overall Texas A&M community. “He has always sought roles throughout his business career that allow contribution through leadership, insight and analysis, building and improving business, making important changes to organizations and developing staff,” Jones said of Miller.
Connecting with the next generation
Before speaking in a large auditorium, Miller met with a group of business honors students. Michelle Hoch ’17, a business honors and management major, said she enjoyed receiving Miller’s guidance on professional growth, career mobility and business strategy. “I walked away with first-hand insight on how to better myself as an employee, as well as how to prepare myself for a versatile career,” she said.
Miller said one of the biggest mistakes he sees young professionals make is “quitting five minutes before the miracle.” He also emphasized the importance of working hard, being humble and going “all-in for the job.” Matthew Baldree ’15, an accounting and business honors major, said he learned from Miller that the path to a successful career isn’t necessarily a linear one. “It will always be easier to seek short-term solutions when frustrated with the job, but maintaining a long-term mindset when making career decisions is essential,” Baldree said.
Uli Robles ’15, an accounting and business honors major, said Miller talked about the importance of constantly striving to learn. “His job isn’t always easy, but it has been challenging and rewarding and that is why he has stayed over so many years,” Robles said. “Life is about continuous learning in all facets (family, faith, friends, etc.), and not just in our careers.”
To view a video of Jeff Miller, visit https://youtu.be/PsW1lHfEvt8.