Michael J.  Coles-Time to Get Tough: How Cookies

Michael J. Coles

Bio

Michael J. Coles, founder of Great American Cookie Company and former CEO of Caribou Coffee, is a business expert, serial entrepreneur, education advocate, and well-known public speaker. In 2003, he took the helm at Caribou Coffee and took the company public on Nasdaq under the symbol CBOU in 2005. Today, he serves as chairman of Brand Holding Company and BrandBank and actively lectures about business.

Sessions

Time to Get Tough: How Cookies, Coffee, and a Crash Led to Success in Business and Life

An inspirational and unconventional Georgia-grown success story. Michael J. Coles, the cofounder of the Great American Cookie Company and the former CEO of Caribou Coffee, did not follow a conventional path into business. He does not have an Ivy League pedigree or an MBA from a top-ten business school. He grew up poor, starting work at the age of thirteen. He had many false starts and painful defeats, but Coles has a habit of defying expectations. His life and career have been about turning obstacles into opportunities, tragedies into triumphs, and poverty into philanthropy. In Time to Get Tough, Coles explains how he started a $100-million company with only $8,000, overcame a near-fatal motorcycle accident, ran for the U.S. Congress, and set three transcontinental cycling world records. His story also offers a firsthand perspective on the business, political, and philanthropic climate in the last quarter of the twentieth century and serves as an important case study for anyone interested in overcoming a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Readers will also discover practical leadership lessons and unconventional ways of approaching business.

Interviewer: Rodney Ho

Rodney Ho is an entertainment blogger at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the publication for 20 years over two stints. He has previously covered education, banking, transportation, entrepreneurship, youth culture, and nightlife. His current TV and Radio Talk blog is one of the most popular blogs at the AJC. He has been married to attorney Helen Kim Ho for nine years and has an adopted daughter and two adorable dogs.

  • Historic DeKalb Courthouse presented by Creative Flame Media
  • Sat 11:15-12:00p Courthouse

Time to Get Tough: How Cookies, Coffee, and a Crash Lead to a Success in Business and Life

In Time to Get Tough, Coles explains how he started a $100-million company with only $8,000, overcame a near-fatal motorcycle accident, ran for the U.S. Congress, and set three transcontinental cycling world records. His story also offers a firsthand perspective on the business, political, and philanthropic climate in the last quarter of the twentieth century and serves as an important case study for anyone interested in overcoming a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Readers will also discover practical leadership lessons and unconventional ways of approaching business.

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