Ben and Jerry’s Co-Founder to Talk Leadership and Business Values on March 30 at UNCW

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Jerry Greenfield, half of the famous duo who created Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, will speak March 30 at the University of North Carolina Wilmington about the business model that propelled his company to success while remaining committed to its founders’ values.

The lecture is the final event in this year’s Leadership Lecture Series. It will be the keynote address for Business Week 2016 and is one of the signature events leading up to the March 31 installation of Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. The lecture series is sponsored by Campus Life Arts and Programs; UNCW’s Cameron School of Business is co-sponsoring Greenfield’s appearance in connection with Business Week.

“Campus Life selected Jerry Greenfield as the final Leadership Lecture of the semester to allow students, faculty, staff and the community an opportunity to engage with the entrepreneur behind this successful and well-loved corporation,” said Stefanie Norris, director of Campus Life Arts and Programs. “The partnership with Business Week was a natural connection, as the Cameron School of Business does an excellent job connecting students with flourishing men and women in the business field.”

Greenfield and his longtime friend Ben Cohen split the cost of a $5 correspondence course on ice cream making from Penn State University and in 1978 opened their first scoop shop in a former gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Greenfield’s lecture topic is based on principles outlined in the book he co-authored with Cohen, Ben & Jerry's Double-Dip: How to Run a Values-Led Business and Make Money, Too. To top off the evening, ice cream will be served. 

The company they founded, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., became known as much for its social responsibility platform and employee-focused policies as its ice cream that featured unorthodox names like “Chunky Monkey,” “Cherry Garcia” and “Chubby Hubby.” The corporate website states that Ben & Jerry’s mission is to “create linked prosperity for everyone that’s connected to our business: suppliers, employees, farmers, franchisees, customers and neighbors alike.”

Ben & Jerry’s was acquired by Unilever in 2000 with a provision to maintain the company’s social mission and brand integrity. Today, Greenfield is president of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, which is supported by proceeds from ice cream sales.

The Leadership Lecture series brings guest speakers to the UNCW campus to share their stories and experiences in leadership, and to encourage discussion of topical issues in politics, economics, diversity and cultural issues. Business Week is an annual conference designed to give students a glimpse of what to expect as they move into the workforce. This year’s program will feature more than 100 sessions in which prominent alumni and executives share with students their knowledge and experiences in business, marketing, entrepreneurship, information technology and more.

Tickets are free to students, faculty and staff, up to two per person, and $10 for the general public at Sharky’s Box Office or at

-- Tricia Vance