Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s and Julius Walls, Jr., CEO of Greyston Bakery
I often head up to Columbia to attend guest lectures organized by many of the clubs that I’ve joined. Some of these lectures are amazing opportunities to meet some really special speakers. For example, just last month I attended a lecture by Nobel Prize winner and Columbia Professor of economics Joseph E. Stiglitz speaking about the current financial situation. But it’s not all about finance and business, I attended a entrepreneurial session that included Chris Chen of Dessert Truck as well as most recently Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry’s!
Sponsored by the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center, the Social Enterprise Program, the Social Enterprise Club, the Green Business Club and the Columbia Entrepreneurs Organization, this lecture focused on businesses with goals of sustainability and social outreach. Jerry, as you would expect was a riot as he recounted he and Ben’s unpredictable and amazing story of their business. (It all started with a $5 mail correspondence class on ice cream making and a few thousand dollars.) Alongside Jerry, was Julius Walls CEO of Grayston Bakery. Grayston is the sole supplier of the brownies in many of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavors and dedicates much of its profits to supporting affordable childcare for the community, affordable housing for the homeless and low income families, and affordable health care for persons with HIV. At the end of the lecture, over some great Chocolate Fudge Brownie, I asked Jerry about availability of Ben and Jerry’s in China (currently only in Hong Kong) and he said they are considering expansion but probably first through scoop shops. There is pretty good ice cream in China as I recall, but it would be pretty awesome to enjoy fresh Ben and Jerry’s for sure!