This past week Elissa and I attended a wonderful speech by Starbucks’ Founder and Chairman Howard Schultz. He was the featured speaker at the Main Event — Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County’s (Ann Arbor) annual fundraiser.
Schultz spoke of his beginnings, growing up poor in the Brooklyn projects with a blue-collar father who was unemployed for much of his childhood. He talked about the growth of the company and its expansion throughout the world into several distinct cultures (Japan, France, and the Middle East). He explained his vision to be an ethical corporate executive and how the Jewish values instilled in him as a young man have helped him to achieve this. He is extremely generous with his fortune, paying for all of his employees’ health care (part-time employees as well) and subsidizing their education. He did not accept any money for this speaking engagement and funded his own travel expenses as well as his staff who accompanied him to Ann Arbor.
Please consider Howard Schultz’ generosity and ethical acts before criticizing him or the Starbucks company.