Kevin Johnson and Jeff Raikes - Sept. 27, 2019

CEO of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson, recants a story to the audience during his conversation with Jeff Raikes at the College of Business on Sept. 27, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln students and the public had the chance to listen to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson and Jeffrey Raikes, the namesake of UNL’s Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management, discuss their own experiences in business and share business advice. 

The discussion, which was organized in partnership with the Raikes School and a part of the N150 celebration, was at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, in the College of Business.

“I think anytime students have an opportunity to hear from someone who runs a global company, a very successful company, a purpose-driven company, it's a great opportunity for students to learn all kinds of things, from life lessons or business lessons or how do you navigate it in today's environment,” UNL’s chief communication and marketing officer Deb Fiddelke said.

The talk was similar to last April’s discussion with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, which was hosted and arranged by Jeffery Raikes at the Lied Center and had around 1,700 people in attendance, Fiddelke said. 

According to Fiddelke, the university is not only excited for students to have the opportunity to hear from CEOs of major companies, but also for those CEOs to see what is happening at UNL. 

“When these opportunities arise,” Fiddelke said, “we're delighted to have the opportunity for our students to hear from people who run such major companies and to give the CEOs a chance to see the University of Nebraska and all the great things that happen here.”

Alex Zlatic, a freshman actuarial science major and member of the Business Honors Academy, heard about the talk from a friend in the academy and thought it would be a beneficial experience.  

Zlatic said a theme that stuck out to him from the talk, which has also repeatedly shown up in the College of Business, is the importance of relationships in a business setting. 

Johnson linked those business relationships and being vulnerable with others as important factors in his leadership at Starbucks. Johnson also advised the audience to see failure as a learning opportunity on a journey to success. 

"There's elements of something that you do that you take away and say, 'Wow, that worked out pretty good,' and these other elements didn't work,” he said. “You have to shift from a fear of failure to a celebration of learning."