Starbucks Demonstrates Servant Leadership with Free Education

Howard Schultz CEO in College Graduation CapStarbucks has been referred to as a servant leadership company. Now, the company is taking another huge step in continuing its servant leadership principles by offering free college education to their employees. In a Daily Show interview on the announcement, Chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz made some incredible statements:

“Today we announced that Starbucks will be the first US Company to provide free college tuition for all our employees.”

“The only way you can build a great, enduring company is by linking shareholder value with value for employees.”

“We have the lowest level of attrition of any company in our sector.”

“You can’t just focus on profitability. An enduring, great company has to be based on more than that…”

“Our people have created the experience. We have to do everything we can to exceed their expectations.”

“We can’t wait for Washington… we have to display real leadership.”

“Companies need to do more for their people and the communities they serve.”

“Starbucks has always taken a little bit different track.”

As if he were speaking directly to my readers, Schultz then added, “Because of social media and the fact there is such transparency, the consumers today knows everything… if you don’t do the right thing, they will reject you.” Yes, servant leadership works. Starbucks knows it and social media is driving demand for it.

Question: Do you think servant leadership adoption will grow with examples like Starbucks and tools like social media?

About the Author:

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder - the leading blog on servant leadership and top 35 site for any leadership topic, globally. Ben also speaks and consults on IT and management topics for a large variety of clients. Find out more about him at

One Comment

  1. Christopher Garcia February 15, 2016 at 7:02 pm - Reply


    This is truly servant leadership at it’s finest. I’ve been part of organizations that have partial reimbursement for tuition but full reimbursement is mind-blowing. I enjoy finding examples of servant leadership in action as I am new to writing and trying to serve others. Examples and content like this truly reinforce that I am on the right path to look to make a difference. Thank you and any other suggestions are welcome!


Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.