I’ve got a man-crush on Howard Schultz

Not really, but I do so love how he leads Starbucks …and I thought that would catch your attention.

For a long time, Starbucks has been a fantastic company:  The first to offer health benefits to part-time workers, a champion for fair trade coffee, environmentally friendly and committed to being more so in the future, commitment to the communities they serve, etc.

An article in the NY Times, For Ohio Pottery, a Small Revival,  has the following quote by Howard Schultz on not waiting on the government to “create jobs”.
“We are on the hunt for other domestic opportunities for products we sell and other things we do,” said Howard D. Schultz, chief executive of Starbucks. “There has to be a sense of urgency about action, and since we’re not likely to find it in Washington between now and the election, it’s time for companies and businesses to step up and find a balance between profitability and responsibility.”

Create Jobs For USA wristband
Well, Starbucks is stepping up and putting their money where their mouth is.  The previously mentioned article is about Starbucks deal with American Mug and Stein Company to make the mugs they are selling in their stores with the word INDIVISIBLE on them rather than buying cheaper mugs made overseas.
Also, along those lines, Starbucks had teamed with the Opportunity Finance Network to help Create Jobs for USA.  For as little as $5, you can purchase a red, white, and blue wristband with the word INDIVISIBLE on it and 100% of that donation goes to the Opportunity Finance Network, .  You can go online  the Create Jobs for USA website to donate or walk into a Starbucks store and donate up to $249.99.  Check out their Success Stories.
I’m in.  That’s my hand and wristband to the right.  Let’s stop waiting for the government to create jobs, especially since that’s not really their function anyway.  They need to focus on better enabling the businesses in this country to hire and thrive within our borders.  In the meantime, we can invest small amounts ($5 is pretty small, right?) of our own money to help companies like Starbucks and the Opportunity Finance Network to build our country back up and put people back to work.

Coffee! Coffee! Coffee! COOOFFFFEEEE!!!

I have coffee just about every day, usually multiple times a day.  Since I’m also currently reading “Onward” by Howard Schultz, ceo of Starbucks Coffee Company, I have the yummy beverage on my mind a lot.  Turns out, there are a few songs about it.

“Coffee Song” by Jars of Clay pretty much describes my state of mind right now…Love me some good java!

“Black Coffee” by Ella Fitzgerald is a bluesy number about a lady drinking coffee alone because her man left her.  Didn’t Ella just have one of the most beautiful voices ever??!?

“The Coffee Song” by Frank Sinatra is just a silly little number about how big popular is in Brazil.  Frank could make just about anything into a catchy little ditty!

mmmmm….gotta go…time to go make a pot of one of my favorites:  Starbucks’ Caffe Verona.

What Starbucks did for New Orleans…

Currently, I’m reading “Onward” by Howard Schultz with Joanne Gordon.  This book is (mostly) about how Mr. Schultz ended up back in the position of CEO of Starbucks and is an account of all the many initiatives, changes, etc. that he had to lead Starbucks through to bring the company that had become obsessed with rampant growth through massive cuts and tough years of declining sales, even periods of monetary loss, back to its core values and profitability.

Traditionally, Starbucks holds its leadership conference in Seattle, its home, but in 2008, they took it on the road…to New Orleans…a city that was still trying to recover from hurricane Katrina, a city that represented, to a certain extent, Starbucks struggle to course correct, rebuild itself, and get back to focus on what mattered:  providing the perfect cup of coffee every time and helping build and foster a sense of community in each store.

I am a huge fan of Starbucks and Howard Schultz.  I’ve told my wife that if we strike it rich, I’m going to work for Starbucks.  I think she thinks I’m kidding.  😉

Excerpt from Onward:

“Each day of the conference, from Monday through Thursday, about 2,000 partners joined one of six organizations for five hours to do whatever needed doing in New Orleans.  In City Park–a 1,300-acre public sanctuary that had suffered millions of dollars in landscaping damages from Katrina and had to reduce its 260-person staff to just more than 30–our partners planted 6,500 plugs of coastal grasses, installed 10 picnic tables, and laid four dump truck load of mulch.  At Tad Gormley Stadium, a popular venue for high school football games, partners scraped and painted 1,296 steps, 12 entrance ramps, hundreds of yards of railing, and a half-mile-long fence.  In the Gentilly neighborhood, two playgrounds were constructed.  In Broadmoor, 22 city blocks of street and storm drains were cleaned.  In Hollygrove, partners did construction and leveled dirt for New Orleans’ first urban farm.  We collaborated with the Crescent City Art Project to paint, in one day, 1,350 murals at 25 public school grounds, and with Hike for KaTREEna, we planted 1,040 trees.

“I spent my volunteer hours helping more than a dozen store managers whom I’d never met paint a house, one of the 86 homes our volunteers repaired that week so families could move back in after three years of displacement.  While there was laughter and a sense of camaraderie as we climbed ladders, painted front stoops, and caulked and raked and planted and dug and drilled and sawed and hammered and fixed doors and laid down floors, there was also a heartwrenching pang.  Many of us spent time talking with men and women who had lived through Katrina, and we heard stories of not only individual sacrifice and loss, but also of neighbors taking care of neighbors.  The power of community was so evident in New Orleans, and when people’s appreciation of out efforts was tough for them to put into words or a smile was not enough, they expressed themselves with quiet tears or a hug.  Incredibly emotional.

“‘When you give up,’ said a slim older man whose home we rebuilt, ‘you might as well lay down and die.’  It was obvious that we weren’t just giving people back their homes, but also restoring a sense of dignity.  No doubt, our community contribution reinforced what it meant to work for Starbucks, and I knew that the experience would be difficult to adequately describe to people who were unable to attend.”

Here’s a short version (about 6 minutes) of a 20 minute video that shows some of what happened at the 2008 Leadership Conference

Here’s the link to the (approx.) 20 minute highlight video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBop1BuWqRU

Starbucks is Good Morning Love

Popped into Starbucks this morning on the way to work for a refill of my travel mug (being eco-friendly saves 10 cents).  It was still dark when I entered the store.  Not quite five minutes later, I exited the store to a much brighter sky.  Silly as it may seem, my coffee in hand and the dramatically brighter sky lightened my mood.

If only it were that easy every day…

Gotta Love Starbucks

I love going to Starbucks.  I love the smell of the coffee –brewed, as well as the beans.  Most of the time, I enjoy whatever music they are currently trying to sell playing just-above-softly in the background.  I also love people-watching –the business folks meeting over coffee, the students with their laptops and a handful of books camped out for a day of lattes and school work, the loungers wasting another day away with a good cup of joe in a casual atmosphere, the busy bees seeking a short respite from their hectic day, and the in-a-hurry, get-it-to-go crowd, checking their watches and mobile phones every few seconds as they eagerly await their drinks that aren’t getting done as quickly as they’d like.  I hear a lot of people say they don’t like Starbucks coffee because it’s too strong or that it tastes burnt, but I love it.  I love a bold, strong cup of coffee.  I like to order the Espresso con Panna with extra shots of espresso, stir the whipped cream into the (now) big cup of espresso and sip it.  Yum!  I also really like that, a couple years ago, Starbucks introduced Pike Place and serves it all day, every day in all of their locations.  It is a great coffee and I don’t have to worry about what the flavor of the day is.  If it’s one I’m not a fan of, I know they have Pike Place –fantastic improvement.  And, have you ever read what’s on the cups you get at Starbucks?  Here’s (part of) what’s on the cup I got today:

*note:  The formatting here is a sad attempt to give you a slight idea of what’s on the cup.

YOU.

HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL FOR 10 YEARS.

Everything we do, you do. Buy our coffee, and good things happen.  Take Starbucks 10-year partnership with CI in making things better for farmers and the planet.  Now that includes focusing on climate change too–together with CI and farmers we can keep up to 100 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere for every acre of tropical forest we protect.  It makes a difference.

Just like you do.  Congratulations, you.


STARBUCKS

SHARED PLANET

You and Starbucks.  It’s bigger than coffee.


This is part of another reason I love Starbucks.  They do what they can to be world friendly –from ethical sourcing, to using recycled paper, to being active in their communities.  By 2015, Starbucks plans to buy 100% of their coffee through ethical sourcing, have 100% of their cups be reusable or recyclable, and contribute over 1 million hours of community service per year.  Know any other “for profit” businesses that have such lofty goals?  To read more about these goals and what Starbucks does for our world, go to their Shared Planet site.

Whether you like their coffee or not, You Gotta Love Starbucks!

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