Howard Schultz — chairman of Starbucks
Schultz grew up in New York City housing project. His early options were limited and he could hardly dream about starting an international business.
Chairman of Starbucks wrote in his autobiography “Pour Your Heart Into It” that he was raised in a working-class family where his father worked blue-collar jobs and his mother took care of the house.
In 1961, the whole family was left with no income because his father broke an ankle working as a truck driver.
Watching his father laying on the couch with his leg in a cast, Schultz decided to do something different in life. His father “never attained fulfillment and dignity from work he found meaningful.”
Schultz played football in high school and managed to secure an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University. He became the first college graduate in his family.
Shultz first job after finishing school was in sales at Xerox, where he was supposed to cold-call and pitch word processors. Then he took another job in sales at Hammarplast, a houseware business.
He wasn’t satisfied with any of these positions and he grew antsy.
Shultz first encountered Starbucks while still working for Hammerplast. He was struck by the passion of the founders Gerald Baldwin and Gordon Bowker and their courage in selling the product that would appeal only to a specific niche of coffee enthusiasts.
“I believe life is a series of near misses, A lot of what we describe as luck is not luck at all, it’s seizing the day and accepting the responsibility of your future. It’s seeing what other people don’t see and pursuing that vision.” — Howard Schultz
It took a whole year for Schultz to persuade Baldwin and Bowker to hire him as the head of marketing. The new position meant that Shultz is going to travel around the world and represent Starbucks.
His fate changed when the company sent him to an international housewares exhibition in Milan. Shultz had an epiphany when he saw the Italian espresso tradition. The people in Italy have a personal relationship with coffee.
Shultz came back to America with new ideas. He wanted to replicate Italian tradition in Starbucks. The founders felt differently. He then decided to leave Starbucks to start his own coffee company Il Giornale.
The new company caught on quickly. Eventually, Il Giornale managed to buy Starbucks. Schultz became the CEO of Starbucks Corporation and he is now-know of the wealthiest people on the planet. His net worth is $3.6 billion according to Forbes.
** Finding the perfect story to post during these times seemed harder than normal. I chose this short story because of the Quote by Howard Shultz. I know these are challenging times for all of us, and more so for some. I do believe in the importance of seizing the day and accepting the responsibility. Look at things and see what no one else can. My hope for everyone is that you find peace, calm and safety amongst this new. Congratulations to all 2020 Graduates **
HSB POA Staff