Starbucks' Howard Schultz to college grads: 'My generation has not made it easy for you'

Howard SchultzStephen Brashear/GettyFormer Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says ‘the future is not up to Washington.’

Billionaire Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz spoke to Arizona State University graduates on Monday about his dissatisfaction with the state of politics today and how younger generations can prepare to incite change.

After sharing his own story of overcoming adversity to build one of the most successful companies in America, Schultz admitted that “my generation has not made it easy for you” to achieve the same.

“Our political leaders on both sides of the aisle have not acted with enough courage, nor honesty in addressing the long-term challenges we face,” said Schultz, who received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree during the commencement ceremony.

“They have been more focused on fighting with each other than walking in the shoes of the American people — and vitriol and self-interest rule the day in Washington,” he said. “Despite all that, when I look to the future, I am extremely optimistic, especially when I look out and see you. Because the future is not up to them, not up to Washington, it’s up to you.”

Schultz said he’s confident younger generations “will make your mark on our country and our shared humanity” and “bring people together like no other.”

Still, he recognises the anxiety today’s college graduates are likely experiencing, and advises them to trust themselves and always consider three important questions:

• How will you respect your parents and honour your family?

• How will you share your success and serve others with dignity?

• How will you lead with humility and demonstrate moral courage?

Schultz told graduates their generation will be the one “that teaches the world that we are at our best when we recognise, respect, and celebrate our diversity.”

“Dream big, and then dream bigger. A more innovative dream, a more inclusive dream,” he continued. “All of you will persevere and enhance the promise of America, the promise that propelled me out of public housing. The promise that will propel you forward, regardless of the colour of your skin, your religion, your gender, your sexual orientation, or your station in life. Please remember that.”

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