James D. White

Transformational Leader and Former Chairperson, President, & CEO of Jamba Juice

  • Held executive roles at Safeway Stores, Gillette, Nestle-Purina PetCare, and Coca-Cola
  • Led the successful transformation of Jamba Juice from smoothie shop to a leading global, health active lifestyle brand
  • 20 years’ experience as a seasoned board director and advisor for several national brands
  • An ardent advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, named the San Francisco Bay Area’s “Most Admired CEO”
  • Draws from his experiences spearheading growth at some of the world’s leading brands to discuss transformational leadership and the importance of investing in people and development to ignite a culture shift

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A transformational leader with more than 30 years of experience as a CEO and operating executive, James D. White has overseen the evolution and growth of some of the world’s most iconic brands in the consumer products, retail, and restaurant industries. Most recently as the former chair, president, and CEO of Jamba Juice, he led the successful turnaround and transformation of the company from smoothie shop to a leading global, healthy active lifestyle brand, and has held senior executive roles at Safeway Stores, Inc., the Gillette Company, Nestle-Purina PetCare, and Coca-Cola.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, White is someone who global brands rely on to lead the revitalization of their business. In speeches, he shares that change, whether in business or another aspect of life, begins by focusing on people, leadership, and development. He highlights that those who are cognizant of, and seek to implement solutions for, unconscious biases, inequity, and other internal factors that may be hindering success, are best equipped for the future. Drawing from his time spearheading growth at some of the world’s top companies, White provides examples of how he overcame challenges, re-engaged his workforce, and instilled a sense of purpose to create winning cultures that inspired success – and shares how any organization can do the same.

With a reputation of reshaping challenging businesses and putting them on the path to success and beyond, White joined Jamba Juice in 2008 to lead the efforts to refresh the brand that aims to refresh the planet. Originally a made-to-order smoothie shop, with White at the helm as chair, president, and CEO, the company transformed into the healthy active lifestyle powerhouse that it is today. He led the turnaround through the execution of a 3-year, disciplined strategic plan, dubbed the BLEND Plan, which included launching new, innovative product solutions, transitioning to franchise-owned stores, developing disciplined cost controls, and building a leadership team to drive functional excellence across the enterprise. Even with White retiring in 2016 to focus on his ventures as a board member, Jamba Juice continues to be an example of a purpose-driven brand with cultural foundations rooted in investing in each individual, as well as the community as a whole.

A seasoned board director and advisor, White has almost 20 years of experience in more than a dozen public and private board appointments. He currently serves as executive chair of Air Protein, board chair of The Honest Company, and board member for Affirm, Medallia, Simply Good Foods, Schnuck Markets, and Bay Club. He is also the founding member and board chair of Directors Academy, a national not-for-profit organization with the mission of identifying, developing, and advancing the next generation of diverse corporate board members and board leaders, and board member of Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose. White believes strongly in businesses doing well and doing good. He is an unrelenting supporter of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles in business and chooses to advise and sit on the boards of companies that prioritize ESG.

A passionate champion for diversity and inclusion, White has been recognized with numerous awards including the American Heart Association Corporate Citizen Award and the Junior Achievement’s Northern California Lifetime Achievement Award. The San Francisco Business Times also named him as the San Francisco Bay Area’s Most Admired CEO. He is the author of Anti-Racist Leadership: How to Transform Corporate Culture in a Race-Conscious World, which was co-written with his daughter and offers his proven framework for building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive company culture through conscious leadership.

White earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Fontbonne University in 1996, and was invited back as commencement speaker for the class of 2017 and conferred a Doctor of Humane Letters honor. He received a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in marketing from the University of Missouri in 1983, participated in the Food Executive Program at Cornell University in 1997, and served a Distinguished Careers Institute Fellow at Stanford University in 2018.

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James D. White, CEO of Jamba Juice | Refreshing The Planet | 2015 CEO Summit

James D. White, Former President and CEO of Jamba Juice

THE NEXT 100 YEARS CENTENNIAL INTERVIEW: James D. White of Jamba, Inc.

James D. White - The Mentor

In Conversation with James D. White. An opportunity for audience members to gather insights from White in a moderated, fireside chat format. In this thought-provoking conversation, White will draw on his time driving transformation and growth at some of the world’s leading brands to provide his proven perspective on conscious leadership, diversity and inclusion, cultural transformation, and more – digging deep into the issues most important to your group.

Conscious Leadership for the Future of Work. For James D. White, every successful business turnaround begins with one question: How can I make my people greater than myself? The answer, he shares, is by being a conscious leader — someone who establishes a strong culture of caring and builds their organization by prioritizing their frontline workers, championing policies and programs that align with the needs of the modern workforce, and providing them with the tools for success.

In this talk, White reveals the key components of conscious leadership, while exploring how the best leaders are able to unlock the full potential of individuals and teams, and inspire discretionary effort. Drawing from his experiences leading some of the world’s top brands, he outlines why empathy matters and demonstrates to audiences the importance of inclusive leadership, along with the power of storytelling as a mechanism for leadership. In doing so, he underscores why organizations that lead with compassion will be more successful in attracting and retaining the next generation’s top talent.

A CEO’s Perspective on Leadership. Conscious leaders understand the importance of investing in the development of their people and fostering an environment that unites the workforce under a shared purpose. Upon assuming the position of chair, president, and CEO at Jamba Juice, White knew that in order to successfully implement his three-year vision for the company, he had to be a conscious leader.

In this talk, he shares the keys to becoming a leader that people want to follow – a leader who inspires people to lead in their own unique ways. Bringing his perspective directly from the CEO’s chair, White shares how principles such as standing alone, developmental intervention, and leading with purpose are vital elements in one’s pursuit to become a leader among leaders.  

Anti-Racist Leadership. It’ not enough for leaders to not be racist. They people businesses serve and employ are looking at leaders in executive positions to take a decisive stand against racism.

With a legendary, 30+ year career dedicated to creating great places to work for all, transformational business leader James D. White leads this powerful discussion on the policies and practices that have long isolated or otherwise disadvantaged minorities, and the important role of today’s leaders in remedying them. In this talk, White shares takeaways from his book, Anti-Racist Leadership: How to Transform Corporate Culture in a Race-Conscious World, to shine the light on the fundamentals of antiracist leadership and its impact on culture, while also providing a comprehensive plan for leaders who are ready to get serious about DEI, and creating an anti-racist company culture.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. A crucial component to leadership is understanding the unique ability you have to influence your employees and consumers and reshape your organization’s approach to building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment. Drawing from his own experience as a Black leader operationalizing DEI agendas at the highest levels of corporate America, as well as real-life examples from other top leaders, James D. White illustrates how organizations can position themselves for success while living the principles of DEI each day. In this talk, he explains:

  • How building a cultured rooted in diversity, equity, and inclusion reignited Jamba Juice’s workforce and served as the catalyst for its continued strong performance
  • What counts as DEI, why the effort to drive it must be intentional, and how to implement all three aspects without further marginalization of underrepresented groups
  • The ways in which younger generations are acting on their devotion to DEI and intent on justice

Transforming Culture. Culture can become so ingrained in us that we often adhere to its principles without understanding why. For this reason, culture often remains in place long after it has become misaligned with an organization’s long-term goals.

Throughout his career, White has been sought after as a transformational visionary – someone global brands relied on to evolve stagnant bottom lines and even more stagnant cultures. When speaking about transforming culture, White takes his audiences on a journey that begins with him learning the ins and outs of leadership and culture as a new hire at Coca-Cola all the way to his most ambitious undertaking: leading the successful revitalization of the Jamba Juice brand, even when failure seemed the most likely outcome.

Culture, Strategy, and Transformative Leadership. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight, nor can it happen without a detailed strategy in place and the right leader to implement that strategy. In this presentation, White shares how he led the 3-year, disciplined strategic plan to turn around Jamba Juice, and how organizational culture is impacted when standard leadership is elevated to transformational leadership. Revealing the characteristics of transformative leadership, he provides his own experiences as leader at Jamba Juice, Nestle-Purina PetCare and other leading global brands, and shares actionable ways that any organization can implement strategy to drive change in their culture.

Scaling Change as a Leader for All. How can transformative initiatives be implemented in such a way that they serve as the catalysts for large-scale change? Having revamped not only the business, but the internal cultures, at brands such as Jamba Juice, Nestle-Purina PetCare, Safeway, and Gillette, White is an expert at analyzing organizational structures and identifying key areas where complexities can be simplified to create a winning culture. In this talk, he reveals to audiences the ways in which conscious leaders can scale and accelerate change within their organizations.

HR Without Bias. Unconscious bias is everywhere and plays a role in both our professional and personal lives. They vary from person to person and can be both positive and negative. When left unrecognized and unchecked, they can have a lasting impact on an organization’s culture.

A leader in the business world, White’s talk on human resources without bias encourages his audience to dig deep within themselves to think about what unconscious biases they may have and how they can reduce the likelihood of these biases impacting their decision-making. He opens the audience’s eyes to the different types of biases that exist, how they manifest themselves in the workplace and in our daily lives, and how acknowledging these biases is the first step in driving a more equitable organization.

Your Organization’s Next Decade. Regarded as a mover and shaker with a penchant for seeing out long-term goals, White’s commitment to the bigger picture is what has made the brands he’s led so successful. He sees beyond short-term revenue and profit goals and stresses the importance of long-term investment in culture and development to drive organizations forward. In this talk, White provides thought-provoking insights that stimulate audiences to consider what steps need to be taken to best position their organizations into the next decade and beyond.

Leadership: From the Boardroom to the Shop Floor. Culture happens at all levels of an organization. Yet, there’s often a disconnect between leaders and those less senior who are executing the vision from the top. Leaders that are able to bridge this gap, communicate effectively, and create a more consistent experience at all levels are the ones most likely to have an engaged and motivated workforce. This leadership talk by White addresses how leaders can connect with and engage all employees and what organizations can achieve when a leader’s positive influence and impact are felt at all levels.

Environmental, Social and Governance. As modern business has evolved, it has become about much more than selling a product. Customers, investors, and employees are paying more attention than ever to a company’s stance on sustainability and social consciousness. In this talk, White shares with his audience the importance of businesses having strategies in place to meet ESG criteria and how to impact your company’s ESG standing from a position of conscious leadership.

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