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February’s Face 2 Face Recap

The Austin Business Journal’s Face 2 Face speaker series creates a space for the exchange of ideas among Austin’s business community in a setting echoing TED Talks. It kicks off with a half-hour of breakfast and networking at 8:30 a.m., followed by a one-hour Q&A session with a featured guest and ABJ editor, Colin Pope. We are honored and delighted to be the 2015 Community Partner of the monthly series, which gives us the opportunity to share our work among the community’s business elite by highlighting various programs and partners each month. 

February’s speaker was Co-CEO of Whole Foods, Walter Robb, who emphasized culture, quality and marketing as strategic points in the development of the Whole Foods brand. He also discussed the delicate balance of driving rapid growth while still maintaining ties to the community at local and global levels. 

“Culture belongs on the balance sheet of the company.” – Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods

Robb shared his insights about building culture among employees and customers in order to ground the work and growth of Whole Foods in shared values that are broadly inclusive and clearly communicated. “Culture belongs on the balance sheet of the company,” Robb said.

We agree–recent statistics show that more than half of millennials (the fastest growing group of employees) said a company’s involvement in philanthropic causes influenced whether or not they accepted a job in the past. We have seen firsthand the positive impact a philanthropic component can have on a company; just ask any of our generous business partners!

The idea of a for-profit company prioritizing values and community engagement is not a new one, but Robb’s broad vision of transforming stores and neighborhoods through ideology as well as practice holds strong potential for Austin in its moment of rapid growth and innovation. Business leaders, community leaders and consumers can all learn something by looking beyond the bottom line and considering a holistic view of people, quality of life and how to define success. 

“You can’t be any more of a leader than you evolve as a person,” Robb said. “Find the thing that really matters to you and do that.”

As the community partner for this series, UWATX has the opportunity to use the platform to share our work with those who may not otherwise come across it. Our president, Debbie Bresette, shares remarks with each audience about our work and why we care about making Austin greater. This month, the focus was on our Target Graduation program. We hosted a booth welcoming attendees to the event and had many vibrant conversations about Target Graduation rationale and results with those who stopped by.

Interested in attending next month’s series? The featured speaker will be Patrick Terry, Co-Founder of P. Terry’s Burger Stand! Visit ABJ’s Face 2 Face page to learn more.

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