Actress Elizabeth Banks spoke to a Dunkin' Doughnuts exec about why the company is changing its name, and took away a career lesson anyone can use

Theo Wargo/NBC/Stringer/Getty‘What’s the ethos that you want to live by as a leader?’ says Elizabeth Banks, pictured.
  • Actress, director, and producer Elizabeth Banks recently hosted a series of podcasts and films featuring mid-cap companies that are re-inventing themselves in the face of business challenges.
  • These spots were part of the series CrazyEnough2Work, created by State Street Global Advisors.
  • The most valuable lesson she learned over the course of these interviews came from Dunkin’ Doughnuts, which is getting back to its core business – coffee – and dropping the “Doughnuts” in its name.
  • Banks said she learned the importance of figuring out your fundamental career goals and values. For her, that’s spearheading women-led projects and films.

After decades in the entertainment industry – as an actress, a director, and a producer – Elizabeth Banks is turning to Dunkin’ Doughnuts for career advice.

Just as Dunkin’ Doughnuts has done in recent months, Banks told Business Insider, she’s figuring out her core business goals and sticking to them.

Banks has appeared in the TV series “30 Rock,” the film “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” and the “Pitch Perfect” franchise, which she developed and produced through Brownstone Productions, the production company she runs along with her husband. Right now she’s directing a reboot of “Charlie’s Angels,” slated to hit theatres in 2019.

Recently, Banks also hosted a series of short films and podcasts created by State Street Global Advisors, called CrazyEnough2Work, interviewing mid-cap companies that are reinventing themselves in the face of business challenges.

One of those companies is Dunkin’ Doughnuts, which Business Insider previously reported is gradually rolling out its so-called “store of the future experience.” The most notable change in the rebrand is dropping the “Doughnuts” in its name.

In the podcast episode on Dunkin’ Doughnuts, its CFO Kate Jaspon told Banks about a survey the company conducted, which found people thought that in trying to be both a beverage and a food company, it was doing too much of everything. The majority of survey respondents said they come to Dunkin’ Doughnuts for the beverages, i.e. coffee.

Those survey results helped prompt Dunkin’ Doughnuts’ decision to become what Jaspon called a “beverage-led, on-the-go brand.”

Jaspon summed up the challenge Dunkin’ Doughnuts is currently facing: “How do you stay true to your heritage, but step out of your comfort zone enough to remain relevant?”

In fact, Banks told Business Insider, she saw all the companies she interviewed – including The New York Times and The Boston Beer Company – focus on “nailing down and understanding their core business.”

It’s important to keep thinking about your core values and the ‘ethos that you want to live by as a leader’

Speaking with Dunkin’ Doughnuts employees in particular taught Banks the importance of asking yourself: “What is your core business? What’s the message of your company? What’s the ethos that you want to live by as a leader?”

These questions are just as relevant if you’re thinking about your personal career development, Banks said. “It’s making me create a set of questions that hopefully will lead me closer to what I want to be doing with my time.”

It goes beyond her acting career, she said. “How do I want to spend my time as a creative voice, and what kind of stories do I want to tell, and who do I want to promote with these stories?”

Banks said she already feels “pretty clear” on the answers to those questions: She wants to spearhead “women-driven, women-led” projects and “tell a story with a very interesting female protagonist.” Working with Dunkin’ Doughnuts has prompted her to double down on that mission.

Putting women at the helm is good business, too, Banks said. “Frankly, there are not that many companies in Hollywood that are focused on it.”

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