Ben & Jerry's co-founder to share stories of sweet success

Jerry Greenfield

Jerry Greenfield

Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, will talk about values-led leadership, social consciousness and entrepreneurship at an April 7 fundraiser for University of Colorado Colorado Springs student scholarships.

Greenfield and Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen are known for using their values-based business practices to build a $300 million ice cream empire from a single Burlington, Vt., storefront.

Greenfield's address will begin at 5 p.m. at the Gallogly Events Center. The event includes a reception, book signing and Greenfield's comments. Tickets are free to UCCS students; $20 for the general public. They can be purchased at Event proceeds will support scholarships to UCCS.

"This is an opportunity for all of our students to learn how socially responsible business practices are good for business," said Tracy Gonzalez-Padron, director of the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative in the College of Business. "This reinforces what students are learning about business ethics and responsible management in the classroom from a recognized business leader."

Co-author with Cohen of the bestseller "Ben & Jerry's Double-Dip: Lead With Your Values and Make Money, Too," Greenfield created both a nuts-and-bolts guidebook to the promise and pitfalls of values-led business, and an inspiring wake-up call about the growing international influence of the socially conscious or mission-driven corporation.

Greenfield's presentation is a tribute to America's entrepreneurial spirit, full of anecdotes and radical business philosophy. It also addresses the great sense of fun that is the company's hallmark, illustrated with the serving of Ben & Jerry's ice cream for the entire audience.

Greenfield was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., four days before his future business partner Cohen. He grew up and went to school in Merrick, Long Island. It was there that he first met Ben in junior high school and the two have remained close friends. Greenfield graduated from high school with a National Merit Scholarship and enrolled at Oberlin College to study pre-med.

At Oberlin, Greenfield got his first taste of the ice cream industry when he took a job as a scooper in the college cafeteria. After graduation, he worked as a lab technician in New York and lived with his school buddy, Ben. In 1977, the two friends decided to fulfill a dream they both shared: running a food business together. The two eventually settled on ice cream and opened Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream Parlor in Burlington, Vt., in May 1978.

Ben and Jerry soon became known throughout Vermont for their rich, unusual flavors and community-oriented approach to business. A model for American business success, Greenfield and Cohen have been recognized for fostering their company's commitment to social responsibility by the Council on Economic Priorities and by the U.S. Small Business Administration, which named them U.S. Small Business Persons of the Year in 1988.

The Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at the UCCS College of Business is co-presenting the event along with the CU Foundation, the UCCS Auxiliary Services Department and the Office of Student Activities.

"Helping to bring this level of expertise to UCCS is one of the most exciting aspects of the Ethics Initiative at the College of Business," said Venkat Reddy, dean of the College of Business. "It's a benefit that reaches beyond our students to our faculty, staff, alumni and community."

The College of Business Ethics Initiative is part of a five-year program supported by a $1.25 million grant from the Daniels Fund. The purpose of the College of Business Ethics Initiative is to instill ethical principles into the personal and organizational decision-making process of every member of the UCCS community. This integrative learning environment will create leaders with integrity, capable of responsible global business management and conscious of the accountability inherent in corporate governance.