Lessons on leadership
While many ideas are brainstormed in coffee shops, some ideas are coffee shops. Let me explain.
I completed one of Incarnate Word Academy’s newest courses called Leading with Business – a collaboration between IWA’s Young Leaders Program and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. This class teaches business principles with the goal of creating and running a small business for a semester. At the end, 100 percent of the profits are donated to a nonprofit of the class’ choice.
After a few weeks of brainstorming, my class determined that because our cafeteria doesn’t sell coffee in the mornings we would open our own school coffee shop. We settled on a name, Crawford Coffee Company (after the street our school has stood on in downtown Houston for 144 years) and got to work.
Our class spent hours planning, and many more hours putting the abstract lessons about the art of entrepreneurship into practice. Our teacher taught us about marketing, operations, sales, human resources and financing. I, along with four others on the Operations Team, worked to set up a system of cashiers, runners and baristas to get Crawford Coffee Company up and moving three days a week.
At the end, we counted: 381 hot chocolates, 51 peppermint hot chocolates, 130 coffees, 150 salted caramel coffees, 85 double chocolate coffees and 63 teas. After 15 days of sales, 111 cans of whipped cream and bags of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee grounds, we closed with $1,400 in the bank. We proudly delivered our homemade check to the newly established San Francisco Nativity Academy and breathed a sigh of relief.
I am so happy that I took this class senior year. It gave me a unique perspective on life beyond classroom activities and a window into future business endeavors. Crawford Coffee Company reached beyond the classroom in many ways: we created a new tradition, brightened our classmates’ mornings, learned real-world lessons and brought a smile to the Pre-K students at San Francisco Nativity Academy.
That’s something worth waking up for!
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