We had the good fortune of connecting with Megan Miller, PhD, BCBA-D and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Megan, what do you attribute your success to?
This may sound like an odd answer but I think the most important factor behind the success I’ve experienced in behavior analysis and with The Do Better Collective is not having an agenda or plan for success. Every decision I have made about next steps in my career has been based around the needs of the population I serve and the people I supervise and mentor. I am the type of person who always seeks to learn, improve, and do better even in moments of extreme effectiveness. This has led me to have high standards for the people I supervise and train and has resulted in achieving client outcomes that honor each individual learner and their family. I constantly engage in reflection on what areas of weakness exist for myself and others in my field and problem solve how to address those weaknesses.

Another factor that has contributed to my success is creating authentic and genuine connections with colleagues working in behavior analysis or related fields. Every conference I attend, every country I visit, and every online interaction I have, I am highly motivated to connect with everyone in the space and learn about their strengths and weaknesses. This creates future opportunities for connecting people with similar interests or who need a mentor in an area of weakness. It also has allowed me to better pinpoint the training content that our field needs so we can address weaknesses and more effectively serve our clients.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I always describe my early and sometimes ongoing career as happenstance. If you asked me even a month ago what I would be doing in my life, I would be wildly inaccurate in my guess. I initially made choices in pursuing behavior analysis based on what worked best for my life. For example, the internship options for me in undergraduate consisted of an autism clinic 5 minutes from my house or a mental health clinic 45 minutes from my house so I chose the autism clinic. For graduate school, I wanted to be on the Gulf of Mexico so I randomly chose Florida State University, one of the top programs in the country for behavior analysis.

I haven’t encountered major challenges that one would typically think of relating to a professional career. There are 2 barriers I regularly navigate around in my professional life. The first is difficulty finding companies or professionals with the same level of knowledge and standards that I possess. I have addressed this barrier by seeking out colleagues whose values and commitments align with mine and by creating space for professionals to grow and achieve the same level of knowledge and expertise. Initially, people tried to push me out and said I was “burning bridges” when I refused to lower my standards or to provide services in the way everyone else was operating their companies. I overcame this barrier by relying on my support system of like-minded colleagues who reassured me we were on the right path to improving access to humane and person-centered behavior analytic services.

The second barrier is the knowledge I am frequently sharing within our field is ahead of the curve and this isn’t always well received. I am a movement creator and a trailblazer. People don’t always like to hear what I have to say in reflecting on how myself and my colleagues could do better in providing behavior analytic services. This often means I am not invited to present at our conferences and standing leadership in our field regularly criticizes me and tries to convince me to do things differently. I have overcome this challenge by also leaning on my likeminded colleagues. Additionally, I connect to my professional values and make sure there is alignment between what I am doing and those values. This allows me to modify what I am doing as needed to best support the community I’ve created and it facilitates not getting pushed off track by the folks who disagree with the improvements we are trying to make for our field.

Whatever the challenge is that I face either now or in the past, I am always committed to taking action that creates opportunities for our field to do better and if something I am doing isn’t bringing me joy, I determine a plan for phasing that out of my life. In the Do Better Collective, we create content and activities for our community based on these commitments and with the goal of creating behavior analysts who are confident while staying humble and curious.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The best time ever consists of these 4 things: beach, dancing, karaoke, and connection. I don’t have any specific places I like to hang out. I typically focus on the vibe of my friends and what best matches that vibe while allowing for my favorite things. Even friends who tell me they don’t dance or sing, I can get them having a fun time with both of these activities if the environment is fun and connects with their interests and passions!

I believe strongly in saying “yes, lets!” and constantly crave new experiences and opportunities. I would see what my friends are interested in doing and engage in as many “yes, lets!” responses as I could!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are too many people to count who have contributed to my story. For this particular time in my life, I would like to give shout-outs to the following people: Claire Ellis for being an amazing model of a compassionate, dedicated, fun, and hard-working human; Dr. Mary Barbera for consistently calling me in to support the incredible work you are doing in supporting families of autistic children; Jennifer Phelps for believing in the Do Better Movement and consistently pushing me to think out of the box with how we build this community; Mari Cerda for consistently saying all of the things that need to be said in our field right now and doing so in a way that connects all stakeholders; Tareq Aldebs for celebrating even the most minor of successes and expressing pride in what we are accomplishing with the Do Better Collective; Joe Smith for tirelessly working with me to discuss topics of relevance on the Do Better Podcast; Kelsey General for putting her trust in me and for being flexible in applications of behavior analysis; and last but not least this list of powerhouse “get it done” women behavior analysts who are paving the way for our field: Mary Sawyer, Sarah Trautman, Adrienne Bradley, Stephanie Bolden, Danyelle Beal, Carol LaDonna, Carolina Gonzalez, Camille Morgan, Marlesha Bell, Amy Evans, Kathy Fox, Corinne Gist, and Emily Wilson.

Website: https://collective.dobettermovement.us

Instagram: _dobettercollective_

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/megandeleon/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dobettercollective/

Youtube: www.youtube.com/c/dobetter

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