Before I even share the letter in which Howard Schultz has written to all of America, and before it is posted even more main stream this weekend, you need to understand the simplicity of judging a person like Howard. I have studied many of Starbucks marketing strategies as well as background info on the company and Howard. I have seen a few negative comments about Howard and I’d like to point out two simple details that will eleviate any negativie feelings.
First, Howard spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Taken from the Aspen Ideas Festival website, “For over 60 years, the Aspen Institute has been the nation’s premier gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to engage in deep and inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times. […] Imagine some of the most inspired and provocative thinkers, writers, artists, business people, teachers, and other leaders drawn from myriad fields and from across the country and around the world – all gathered in a single place, ready to teach, speak, lead, question and answer – all interacting with an audience of thoughtful people who have stepped back from their day-to-day routines to delve deeply into a world of ideas, thought and discussion. The week promises to be thought-provoking, meaningful and fun – true to Aspen tradition.”
Would a multimillionaire who is full of greed, who is evil or a terrible person attend this event, give a presentation and seek improvement in the world using this large of a platform? A platform that is centered on growth, on productivity and on trust.
The second minor detail which I hope no longer stays minor is the effort Howard has put towards employing Americans. Along with establishing the Create Jobs for USA organization, Howard has made America-focused choices such as creating a “new roasting plant in Augusta, Georgia that we could have located in Central America or Asia for 15% to 20% less, but we felt that creating 200 or so jobs domestically was more important.” [source]
Howard You Make A Difference
Before I share with you the letter Howard has written, it’s serendipitous that he has written this letter during a time period that I am doing an Unlocking Potential interview series with people who I know will make a different in their passion. It may also be coincidence that he shared the letter while I am in the final editing stage of my book Start Schooling Dreams (to be released at the beginning of August).
In Howard’s closing, he advocates for innovation and making a difference in the community to promote citizenship over partisanship. This is a major center of why I write. Everything I write is innovation, it’s to make a difference, it’s about unlocking potential in others, promoting people who care, really do care about learning, about coffee, about fashion about anything. These are the people who make the difference, these are the people who are like Howard Schultz, who are willing to stand up, speak out and try to create positive change, no matter how much resistance there is.
*More power to you Howard and even more power to those who have similar worldviews for change, whether it’s employment, civility, and politics or education, art and music.
Without further ado, you can read the full letter Howard Schultz has written to all of America below or click here to open it in a new window.
An Open Letter: How Can America Win This Election?
Friday, June 29, 2012
Posted by Howard S., Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer
On Independence Day, our country celebrates the promise of America.
It’s a day to remember that the principles that bind us together vastly outweigh what keeps us apart. The freedom to dream and the opportunity to create a better life – not just for ourselves, but for each other – has always defined our great nation.
I am a product of that American Dream. As a kid who grew up in public housing, went on to get an education at a state university and build a business, I am grateful for what this country has made possible for me. In turn, at Starbucks, we have always tried our best to honor our responsibility to the communities we serve.
And on this Fourth of July, our communities need all of us.
Across the country, millions of Americans are out of work. Many more are working tirelessly yet still unable to adequately care for their families. Our veterans are not being welcomed home with the level of support they deserve. Meanwhile, in our nation’s capital, our elected leaders are continuing to put ideology over real solutions. I love America, but we all know there is something wrong. The deficits this country must reconcile are much more than financial, and our inability to solve our own problems is sapping our national spirit. We are better than this. America’s history has showed that we have accomplished extraordinary things when we act collectively, with courage, creativity, and generosity of spirit—especially during trying times.
As we celebrate all that is great about our country, let’s come together and amplify our voices.
Let’s tell our government leaders to put partisanship aside and to speak truthfully about the challenges we face. Let’s ask our business leaders to create more job opportunities for the American economy. And as citizens, let’s all get more involved. Please, don’t be a bystander. Understand that we have a shared responsibility in solving our nation’s problems. We can’t wait for Washington.
At Starbucks, we are trying to live up to our responsibility by increasing our local community service and helping to finance small-business job creation with Create Jobs for USA. Our company is far from perfect, and we know we can do more for America. But we need your help. We need your voice.
Join the national conversation with #INDIVISIBLE. Starting today, I invite you to share your view of America, and how we can all put citizenship over partisanship. On Instagram, post a photo of the America we all need to see. On Twitter, provide a link to an innovative idea. Blog about who’s making a difference in your community; or on YouTube, share how you made your American Dream come true. No matter where you post, if you use the tag #indivisible, Starbucks will do its part to collect and amplify your voices.
To spark the conversation in our stores, your local Starbucks will proudly serve everyone a free tall hot brewed coffee on the Fourth of July.
Together, we can set a new tone in America. We hope you agree that doing so is a powerful way to celebrate our nation’s birthday.
In 2012, America needs to win the election more than either party does. It is time now to join together as Americans. It is time, whatever our differences, for us to strive and succeed as one nation – indivisible.
Stay Positive & #INDIVISIBLE
Garth E. Beyer