Dynamic Learning Community: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Inspires Students with Values-Focused Bottom Line
By Liz Warren-Pederson
Some 200 undergraduate and Eller MBA students joined Eller faculty, Starbucks partners, and community members to honor Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz with the 2011 University of Arizona Executive of the Year Award on April 15.
UA president Robert Shelton and alumnus and retired PepsiCo executive Olden Lee — who sits on the board at Starbucks and at the Eller College — presented Schultz with the award. In his address, Schultz discussed the challenges Starbucks faced as a result of overexpansion and the economic crisis, and how he returned as CEO in 2008 to guide the company through a complete turnaround – not by cutting corners, but by returning to the company’s founding values.
“As an audience member I could feel that it wasn’t just money that motivated him, but that he truly cared about his company,” said Melissa Shanahan (BSBA Business Management ’11).
“During his speech, he described how consumers have changed and businesses need to adopt new models in order to become successful,” said Scott Bradley (BSBA Business Management ’11). Schultz cited three changes influencing consumer behavior – the economic downturn, a shift in marketing to building trust vs. traditional selling tactics, and values. “He pointed out that consumers are looking for companies with a social conscience,” Bradley said.