May 29, 2008

By Paul Feinberg

Howard Schultz, Judy Olian, John Wooden and Andy SerwerBEVERLY HILLS - Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ chairman, president and CEO, is the recipient of the inaugural John Wooden Global Leadership Award. The award, presented by UCLA Anderson School of Management, goes to “an exceptional leader” for their “exemplary leadership style and service to the community.” The John Wooden Global Leadership Award has as its namesake UCLA’s legendary basketball coach John Wooden, himself a renowned author and expert on leadership.

The award was presented Wednesday evening at a gala celebration at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. In presenting the award to Mr. Schulz, Dean Judy D. Olian of UCLA Anderson said, “As he has led (Starbucks), Howard always said that the main goal was ‘to serve a great cup of coffee’ by ‘building a company with soul.’  It’s certainly worked out.”

Howard Schultz“Coach Wooden always advocated to ‘treat all people with dignity and respect,’” said Dean Judy Olian. “It is very bold, and I might say unusual, that the first of Starbuck’s six guiding principles is ‘to provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity’. Coach Wooden also once said: ‘I am just a common man who is true to his beliefs.’ And Howard certainly lives those words.  And while Howard wasn't the first person to be carried away by the aroma of a well-roasted coffee bean, through his leadership and his beliefs, he was undoubtedly the first to turn that experience into a billion dollar retail operation.”

Highlighting the event were a pair of unscripted discussions. First, Wooden chatted alone with FORTUNE magazine’s managing editor Andy Serwer, with Schultz joining the pair later on. Wooden regaled Serwer and the audience with wit, wisdom and poetry, noting that “A leader must command respect. You must let others know you care for them. Effective leadership is when you join people in a common goal and no one cares who gets the credit.”

Howard Schultz, John Wooden and Andy SerwerWhen Schultz came on stage, the two titans of leadership revealed they had much in common, such as placing a high value on trust and the importance of listening, whether listening to those subordinate to oneself or to those whom one is subordinate to. Both also revealed how they learned their core leadership values in their youth, Wooden from his father, an Indiana farmer and Schultz on the school yards of Brooklyn, where his diverse neighborhood taught him how to get along with different types of people while offering an opportunity to see the world in different ways.

During the evening, Dean Judy Olian announced that Andrea Swanson (FEMBA '09), and Christopher Schnakenberg (MBA '09) were the recipients of the John Wooden Global Leadership Fellowships for 2008. Proceeds from the dinner funded the fellowships in the amount of $25,000 each. The fellowships are associated with the John Wooden Leadership Program at UCLA Anderson.

After the award presentation by Dean Olian, Schultz expressed his gratitude both for the award and the opportunity to spend time with Wooden. “I have struggled with what to say,” Schultz said. “When you listen to Coach Wooden, read his books, it’s humbling (to accept an award bearing his name). I accept with a deep sense of humility and honor.

“We live in a time where there are not so many people who speak so honestly about how to treat people,” Schultz said. “It’s a shame we don’t have more people in America and around the world like John Wooden.”

View a Slideshow from the Awards Dinner

Watch Video Clips from the Awards Dinner

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management, established in 1935, is regarded among the very best business schools in the world.  UCLA Anderson faculty are ranked #1 in "Intellectual Capital" by BusinessWeek and are renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Furthermore, the finance faculty is ranked #1 in research publications in the four leading peer-reviewed journals by the Financial Management Association. Each year, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,600 students enrolled in MBA, Executive MBA, Fully-Employed MBA and doctoral programs, and to more than 2,000 professional managers through executive education programs.  Combining highly selective admissions, varied and innovative learning programs, and a world-wide network of 35,000 alumni, UCLA Anderson develops and prepares global leaders.

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