By Staff Sgt. Bryan DominiqueNovember 1, 2016
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The Group President of Starbucks spoke to senior military leaders from the U.S. Army's only regionally Corps headquarters, at JBLM, Oct. 26.
"On behalf of Howard and Sherry Shultz, the 300,000 partners who wear the green apron around the world, it's truly an honor for me to be here to represent them and to speak to such a distinguished audience," said John Culver, Group President of Starbucks. "I'm in awe of all the people that are here."
Culver joined Starbucks in 2002. He was invited to discuss strategic leadership during I Corps' Fall 2016 Senior Leader Development Training conference, because of his role with one of America's most profitable companies, ranking 146 on the Fortune 500, and work to expand the company into the Asia-Pacific market. His father also served 28 years in the U.S. Army as an infantryman.
He opened his remarks by reminiscing about his father's time in Vietnam, recalling how difficult it was to communicate without technology.
"I remember very vividly my mother would call us into the bedroom, one-by-one. In the room she had a tape recorder, and it was a reel-to-reel tape recorder," he said. "As a child we were given five minutes, 10 minutes to tell my dad what we were doing. I talked about baseball, talked about football, maybe a little bit about school. Then we would send the tape off and about four weeks later we would get a tape back from my dad."
Culver added that those times had a profound impact on his life, because it defined for him what sacrifice meant and the importance of demonstrating commitment.
"It's important that we make sure we do things that are going to demonstrate our commitment to each other, but also at the same time demonstrate the fact that we're doing something we believe in," said Culver. "I think that's very important. That's a life lesson that I've carried with me as I've grown as a leader in the Starbucks organization."
After his remarks Culver opened the floor to questions.
Military leaders asked questions about the importance of values-based decisions and the different ways Starbucks exercises leadership in its organization and cares for its people.
"One of the core values we have as a company is not only driving success and being a successful company, that's not our sole purpose as a company. Our purpose as a company is to make a positive difference for others, to give back," said Culver. "We use the words performance driven through the lens of humanity. What are we doing as a company to make sure that we are giving back to others, make sure that we are bringing others along in the journey, and make sure that we're making a positive difference?"
Lanza presented Culver with a small clock embroidered with the I Corps logo on behalf of the Corps at the conclusion of the event.
"When you have someone of the caliber of John Culver come up here and give an inspirational message of leadership and reaffirm the importance of values and what it means to take care of people, it resonates," said Lanza. "On behalf of the entire team here, we want to present you just a small token from the entire Corps family, both in the Pacific and here at JBLM, and we want to thank Howard and Sherry for giving us the opportunity to have you with us tonight."
I Corps is aligned to U.S. Army Pacific and spans from Washington to Hawaii, Alaska and Japan.
The SLDT is a conference that brings the senior leadership from all facets of the team together to discuss everything from budget and force modernization to interoperability with partnered nations and improving the environment of the organization.