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Ice Cream Makes Lecture Even Sweeter

The Delta Gamma Foundation hosts yearly lectures across the country featuring inspiring professionals and leaders from around the world. This semester, on September 15th, the SMU Delta Gamma chapter, in association with the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, hosted Jerry Greenfield, cofounder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, as the chosen speaker. He passionately discussed the exciting trial-and-error process that he encountered while trying to build not only his business, but also his life. Greenfield was rejected from medical school numerous times, and his partner, Ben Cohen, never graduated from college despite many attempts. After a bit of brainstorming, the two were inspired to become entrepreneurs, and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream became a reality. Greenfield is the co-author of the book How to Run a Values-Led Business and Make Money, Too, which he discussed in the lecture. In the book, he discusses the importance of establishing a company with integrity, though he admits it can be difficult to do so in a market where everyone is trying to gain the maximum profit. As a company, Ben and Jerry’s focuses on the importance of ethics and pursues a goal of genuinely pleasing its customers, and Greenfield spoke about the many changes the company has undertaken in the past few years due to customer concerns. For example, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is non-GMO, uses natural ingredients, and includes only certified fair-trade ingredients. Though Ben and Jerry themselves have stepped down from their management positions, they are still involved in arguably the most important part of the business—developing new flavors. Greenfield bragged about the company’s most recent flavor, The Tonight Dough, featuring caramel and chocolate ice cream with caramel swirls, chocolate chips, and cookie dough—which truly sounds way too delicious not to try! Greenfield strongly believes in maintaining high moral and ethical conduct in the business world, and in the Q&A session of the lecture, he placed special emphasis on this point. He is a true believer in being an honorable employee and an honorable employer, and this does not go unnoticed—the company has been recognized by the Council on Economic Priorities as well as by the U.S. Small Business Administration for its leadership in corporate ethics and responsibility. Overall, the lecture was educational, informative, and inspiring. Jerry’s spunky attitude incited many laughs, and of course, the night ended with ice cream, which was hand scooped for hours after the event by Greenfield himself, a man who is not afraid to dig a little deeper when it comes to pleasing customers and personally improving the greater good

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