Some of our most popular experiences on Charitybuzz are business meetings and pitch sessions with nationally recognized entrepreneurs. Jason Hughes, Chairman, CEO, and owner of national commercial real estate advisory firm Hughes Marino, found that sometimes the best business ideas are brewed over a cup of coffee.
Hughes recently won a charity auction featuring a tasting with the king of coffee—former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, with the proceeds benefiting Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. On a gray, late spring morning, Hughes and his family arrived at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room in Seattle. The temperature may have been chilly outside, but it certainly wasn’t inside.
“As a long-time fan of Mr. Schultz,” says Hughes, “it was quite a treat to see him walk into the crowded Roastery in casual clothes and come right up to us with a big smile, a firm handshake and a genuine hello. To see my business idol in person – being so authentic and interested in my family – was almost surreal.”
A Bolt from the Brew
With Starbucks’ new cold brew mocktail the Melrose in hand, everyone retired to the Roastery’s private “Library” where Schultz shared his experience turning the coffee giant into a worldwide brand and dispensed business advice.
“We all rapid fired questions about maintaining culture while growing,” Hughes says, “methods and tips for team communication; transparency and honesty with our team and clients; ideas for advisory help for guidance; contacts for professional assistance in multiple industries, on and on. And Howard answered them all! Not only did he answer them – he gave specifics. He gave names and phone numbers. He told us to use his name for intros. It was amazing!”
Hughes says he has been fortunate to have “many very special experiences, both personal and professional, with my family. This will certainly rank as one of the top professional experiences I can think of.” He says he won’t soon forget “the wonderful morning we spent with a very generous and gifted man – Howard Schultz. I will forever be a fan – and I hope, for our country’s sake, we’re lucky enough to have him run for President!—#Schultz2020!”
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