While on vacation over the 4th of July week I went to Stowe Vermont. It is a beautiful countryside up there nestled in the mountains and we had a wonderful time exploring nature and some of its wonders! We also were also able to go and visit the Ben and Jerry's headquarters in Waterbury, VT and take a tour there. It was a great story of leadership. Here are a few things which I found so inspiring:
-They found a business which they were passionate about - leaders need to have a vision and a mission of something that they want to bring to the world. Ben and Jerry, as partners, took a class in ice cream making and began to make ice cream in 1978. Now they are a world reknowned brand and a subsidiary of Unilever.
- They give back part of their profits to fund community oriented projects - Ben and Jerry's actively gives back to its community in Vermont through starting a Foundation in 1985 which gives 7.5% of annual pre-tax profits to fund community oriented projects. While the company was growing its profits it also found a way to give money and resources back to the community they were a part of. Leaders find ways to give back to others.
- They are beginning to have a voice by beginning to lobby - in 1992 Ben and Jerry's sent over 70,000 postcards to Congress as they join the Children's Defense Fund to bring children's basic needs to the top of the national agenda. Ben and Jerry used the stature that they had to begin to take even a larger stand in order to truly enhance the national stage.
The Ben and Jerry's story was quite inspirational from a leadership perspective. While I love their ice cream (Triple Caramel Chunk is my favorite!) I am now truly valuing the mission and vision of their organization and how they are living each and every single day! Go out and buy some Ben and Jerry's ice cream!
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.