EVENT RECAP: A Conversation with Jim Donald and James D. White

Jim Donald and James D. White: The Changing Face of Leadership

Leading Authorities had the privilege of hosting longtime friends and legendary former CEOs Jim Donald and James D. White for a conversation on modern-day leadership trends — touching on everything from COVID-19, generational shifts, and the importance of prioritizing frontline workers.

The Changing Face of Leadership

Both Donald and White are known for their ability to transform struggling businesses and guide them to their full potential. White led the successful turnaround and transformation of Jamba Juice from smoothie shop to a leading global, healthy active lifestyle brand, and Donald inspired record growth while CEO of Starbucks, including five straight years of 20%+ annual earnings increase. In this talk, they divulged their best insights on how to ignite a period of unprecedented growth. As Donald put it, “all leadership principles sit on the foundation of caring.”

They spoke to each other and took questions from audience members about how they managed to accomplish so much with such simple principles — sharing anecdotes from their own storied experiences in executive leadership positions as well as their personal lives. For White, his upbringing as a first-generation college student greatly informed his approach to leadership. To him, frontline workers like his father are the backbone of every corporation. Donald was in complete agreement and shared a quote from his late boss Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, “you will fail personally and you will fail professionally if you’re ever bigger than the front line.”

Both argued that this foundation of caring is what will end up being the most important quality in leaders, especially as new generations begin to shape trends in the workplace. Now more than ever, workers are looking for flexible and empathetic leadership, and White and Donald see this as a change for the better.

Did you miss our broadcast? Watch the full recording here.

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