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Board Member Spotlight: Ron Miller on His Organ Donation Advocacy Journey and Creating ‘Luck’

Q&A responses written by Ronald Miller, compiled by Zoe Engels, Blog Contributor

Meet SODA National Board Member, Ronald Miller! Ron has been on SODA National’s Board of Directors since 2014–from the very beginning. He shared that he has been able to see SODA’s tremendous growth over the years and is proud to be an advisor. We got to ask Ron a few questions about his experiences with SODA, hobbies, interests, and much more. Learn about Ron, and check out his advice to current students, in the Q&A below!

What inspired you to get involved with SODA?

Organ donation has been an important part of the healing process since my daughter Laura died in 2009. If not for the gift of Laura's liver, a woman in New York wouldn't be alive today. The ability to save someone's life is humbling, inspiring and motivating, and I believe SODA has incredible potential to continue to save lives.

What does organ donation mean to you?

Each member of our family has taken their belief in organ donation in a different direction. For me, I am involved in SODA's mission and am also a board member of Versiti Inc., which manages the organ and tissue donations in southeastern Wisconsin.

Fun fact: Ron also leads the Laura Miller Memorial Team in an annual memorial walk in Wisconsin to raise funds for organ donation awareness and brain cancer research. He is the Treasurer for the Children’s Outing Association (COA) Youth & Family Centers, serving low-income children and families in Milwaukee.

What do you enjoy most about being part of SODA National’s Board of Directors?

I love the talent and passion that each person brings to the SODA National Board, which is made up of donor families, organ donation professionals, recipients, and friends. Every time we have a meeting, I am more inspired by our mission to save lives and the personal stories of those impacted.

Who/what inspires you?

I am inspired by what the SODA National Team has accomplished. Watching SODA grow to 45 high school and college campuses across the country is beyond impressive.

If you could give students any piece of advice, what would it be?

You create your own luck. Luck is a part of life, but we have the opportunity to create conditions that make more of it.

Do you have a motto or personal mantra?

There is only one direction... forward.

Tell us about yourself!

I am a proud dad, businessman, and community volunteer. In addition to Laura, I have two other daughters—Sara and Rachel—and my wife, Susan. Professionally, I am an investment banker. I sell medium-sized companies. I am also involved in a number of community organizations, including SODA, COA Youth & Family Centers, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and a variety of Jewish organizations. Although it's not always easy, I try my best to balance family, work, and community involvement.

Fun fact: Ron earned a Masters in Management from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, a BSE from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in History from the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.

When you’re not working, how do you enjoy spending your free time?

I love traveling with my family, reading, and playing tennis and pickleball.

When you were a kid, what was your dream job?

Math teacher or finance professor. I'm a proud math geek.

What are you currently watching?

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Home (on Apple TV) and Succession (on HBO Max).

Finally, do you have a fun fact about yourself that you’d like to share?

I met my wife in high school but didn't take her to the senior prom. Instead, I chose to go to a math tournament! She'll never let me live it down.

Like Ron, are you passionate about organ donation advocacy and education? We want to help you pursue that passion! Apply to host an event or start a chapter on your campus here.

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