31 Weeks

Friday, we hit 31 weeks into this pregnancy, and a little more than 2 weeks into my gestational diabetes diagnosis. It seems like it’s been an eternity, with 9 or so weeks to go.

I finally heard back from my OB, who was reviewing my food log and numbers, and he has decided to put me on Metformin once a day (at breakfast) in an attempt to lower my numbers. They just hadn’t improved as much as he would have liked, but he assured me it’s likely nothing I’m doing wrong. *Sigh of relief*

Sometimes, your body just needs help.

I did some reading, and learned that Metformin tablets work to lower the amount of sugar in the blood by lowering the amount of sugar produced in the liver. They also increase the sensitivity of muscle cells to a patient’s natural insulin. There’s other good news too –

There seems to be adequate evidence of efficacy and short-term safety of metformin in relation to maternal and neonatal outcomes in GDM, with possible benefits related to lower maternal weight gain and lower risk of neonatal hypoglycemia and macrosomia (large infant size at birth). Additionally, metformin offers the advantages of oral administration, convenience, less cost and greater acceptability.

-National Institutes of Health 

Today, I’m two – almost three – days into that treatment, and it seems like it might be working. Still haven’t had a perfect day yet – that’s the goal. I hope this is the week, even though there’s an awful lot going on at work to be stressed about.

My diabetes counselor reached out today and suggested more protein in the mornings, which is something I know I struggle with, since I don’t enjoy meat (or eggs all that much). She offered to get me in with a dietician, but I’m going to see how the Metformin treats me this week and see what insurance will cover before I take on what could be another added expense. She also reminded me that sometimes there will be unexplainable glucose spikes – after all, a pregnancy hormones are hard at work.

OB also called me today about an ultrasound I had back at 28 weeks, on Good Friday. Somehow they lost track of it (I’m wondering if it was because of the holiday), but I followed up like a good little patient and asked about it. The scan was to see if my partial placenta previa from 20 weeks had moved – and it had – but not far enough. He said it’s difficult to tell, but the placenta was either 2cm or 1.5 away from the cervix at 28 weeks. By now, it could be in the clear, but he wants to do a transvaginal ultrasound between 33-35 weeks to see where we stand on that. She was also breech at the time, although she has plenty of time to move, and weighing in a week ahead, at about 3 pounds.

I have to get bloodwork this week to see how my crappy thyroid is hanging in there. And the nurse told me I’ll start NSTs near the end of my pregnancy to monitor the baby’s wellbeing, though she didn’t estimate what week. When asked about the risk for early delivery or a need for induction, she indicated that will depend on a number of factors, which the doctor will speak to me about at my 33 week appointment at the end of this month. So I guess we’ll see.

The diet is getting monotonous, and a lot of the new foods I have been trying tend to cause spikes. My mood has been better overall, and my body has been more comfortable, until today at least. Today I feel huge. And tired.

Check in at 32 weeks 🙂

I Have Gestational Diabetes

In the midst of what was already a difficult pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GD) on April 25, 2019, around 29 weeks. The news wasn’t exactly surprising, but the lifestyle change has been very difficult.

Although I’m new to this journey, I’ve found some solidarity and support on multiple Gestational Diabetes Support groups on Facebook, and I thought blogging about my experience here might be cathartic as well. Plus, so much education is needed on this subject. Bear with me as I continue to learn more.

The important thing to know is we’re not alone, even though it can often feel like we are.

“Every year, 2% to 10% of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Last pregnancy, I flunked my one-hour glucose test, but just barely, and went on to pass the three-hour like a champ. This time, my score of 214 was bad enough to serve as a diagnostic without the three hour.

By April 27, I was testing my blood sugar and watching my carbs. Until I could see a diabetic counselor, my OB nurse advised me to follow the American Diabetes Association 2,000-calorie diet, pending further education.

In the days that followed, my mood suffered drastically as I adjusted my lifestyle and felt increasingly alone. I wrote in my digital journal on Journey:

I am absolutely miserable. I know I should just be thankful for this pregnancy, and I am – but it’s hard to see at this point how I am going to make it another 11 weeks. 😦

And I wasn’t being overdramatic. My precious, growing baby had set up camp low in my pelvis, in breech position next to a still low-lying placenta, making the pressure on my lower belly and hips intense. Belly button pain and pressure made my clothes – even underwear – painful to wear. Restless legs and an increased need to pee all night long did their part to make sure I wasn’t getting any sleep. It hurt to walk. And depression was hitting me hard.

My closest family has been so supportive, and their actions – like making diet changes with me, or being patient with me when I’m in a terrible mood – have been what has really mattered. Actions speak louder than words.

It’s words, in particular, that hurt me. Perfectly well-meaning comments about how 11 weeks isn’t a very long time, and how GD is common, how it commonly results in a positive outcome when controlled (like I have a choice if I end up needing insulin), and/or that I somehow caused this to happen to myself land on me as dismissive and callous.

There are scary complications connected to GD, for both mother and baby! I have plenty of reasons to be stressed.

Complications that may affect your baby

If you have gestational diabetes, your baby may be at increased risk of:

  • Excessive birth weight.
  • Early (preterm) birth and respiratory distress syndrome.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
  • Type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • **Untreated gestational diabetes can result in a baby’s death either before or shortly after birth.

Complications that may affect you

Gestational diabetes may also increase the mother’s risk of:

  • High blood pressure and preeclampsia.
  • Future Type 2 diabetes.

Mayo Clinic

Sure, good control and careful monitoring by my doctor can mitigate a lot of that, but that doesn’t make it easy.

Not only that, but making drastic lifestyle changes is tough! Especially a few days after Easter, with Easter candy spread all over my house!

Although some women can control GD with their diet, that’s not true for all. Some just don’t have enough insulin to work with, as insulin needs in pregnancy continue to rise between 24-36 weeks.

Related image

I finally saw the diabetic counselor on May 1, who explained this to me and said my food logs looked great. Then she proceeded to adjust my diet slightly based on higher morning glucose readings. She recommended:

Blood Sugar Targets

  • Fasting (first thing in the morning) – 65-95
  • 1 hour after Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner – <130

Food Recommendations
*Balanced meals with plenty of fruits and veggies, protein at every meal/snack, emphasis on carb targets
**Try to add 30 minutes of exercise a day (not all at once, it adds up)

  • Breakfast – 30g carbs with protein, no fruit
  • Morning Snack – 30g carbs
  • Lunch – 30-60g carbs
  • Afternoon Snack – 0-30g carbs
  • Dinner – 30-60g carbs
  • Evening/Nighttime Snack – 0-30g carbs

That’s what I’m going on now.

The food choices are monotonous when you’re picky like me. You have to eat a lot of things you might not like (I’ve convinced myself when this is the case that the food is just medicine.) And you have to eat A LOT (which is hard, especially when you’d really rather not eat). It really cuts into one’s schedule. Every moment of every day is about food when you’ve got GD.

At my OB appointment Friday, they made copies of my log, and said my numbers look to be improving, but that my morning number needs to get better or I’m looking at insulin injections at night. I’m supposed to send my numbers in after today for a re-evaluation. As time goes by, I’ll need to be re-evaluated again and again to make sure my body is handing things well and that baby Violet is doing well also.

I swapped my regular nighttime snack of crackers and cheese with a glass of Fairlife chocolate milk (13g carbs, 13g protein – one of the few joys I’ve found during this process) and gave up both fruit and milk for breakfast (pre-10:30 a.m.), which seems to be helping. But my numbers are still on the high end, so one slip and I’m over.

(UPDATE: Now my evening numbers are spiking, and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. 😦 Skipping a snack (which I try to avoid) appears to affect me negatively, and more protein probably can’t hurt, but otherwise, I’m at a loss.)

I’m still figuring it out. My mood is improving as I’ve found women in similar situations online to commiserate with, but the struggle continues, with 9-10 weeks to go.

Celestial Narratives is Out of This World

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Amelia and I stopped into the “Celestial Narratives” exhibit while on campus taking her 3-year portraits in the Monticello Sculpture Gardens.

There’s an art exhibit at Lewis and Clark Community College that you don’t want to miss.

“Celestial Narratives” by Artist Michiko Itatani is open now through Sept. 22, 2017 at the Hatheway Cultural Center Gallery on L&C’s Godfrey Campus, 5800 Godfrey Rd., Godfrey, Illinois. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday.



Artifact: OL 654

Artifact OL 654: The Disney Method

Laura Inlow

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Artifact OL 654: The Disney Method

An integrated learning forums presentation on “The Disney Method” creative strategy demonstrates the fifth program learning outcome, integrating creative strategies that promote innovation (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016); specifically strategizing the change process through tactical approaches (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016). Course outcomes represented include evaluating the creative process, analyzing blocks and aids for creativity, and integrating creative thinking strategies (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016).

The presentation walks the viewer through “The Disney Method,” a creative brainstorming process that centers on three stages of thought embodied by facets of Walt Disney’s famous, innovative personality – the dreamer, the realist, and the critic (Dilts, 1996). Each stage allows members of a team to view an issue from three different points of view, similar to de Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” (de Bono, 1999). The process is not only used to generate ideas to tackle problems with innovative solutions, but also it is useful for developing solutions more fully, allowing for adjustments to address any foreseeable drawbacks. Key benefits include the no cost and minimal time commitment needed to work through the method.

The presenter uses a real world example from her own professional field to teach the method, walking through each step in detail so the viewer can walk away ready to work through the process. The strategic action proposal near the end of the presentation outlines the steps necessary to apply the method for organizational use, along with goals, and a timeline for implementation.



de Bono, E. (1999). Introduction. In Six thinking hats (pp. 1-15). Newport Beach, CA: Back Bay Books.

Dilts, R. (1996). Walt Disney: Strategies of Genius. Retrieved from http://www.nlpu.com/Articles/article7.htm

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. (2016, September). 2016-2017 catalog & student handbook, Organizational Leadership, M.A. Retrieved from http://catalog.smumn.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=21&poid=2237&returnto=1185

Artifact: OL 645

Artifact OL 645: Critical Analysis for Managed Change Within Starbucks Corporation

Laura Inlow

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Artifact OL 645: Critical Analysis for Managed Change Within Starbucks Corporation

A critical change plan analysis entitled “Critical Analysis for Managed Change Within Starbucks Corporation” demonstrates the second program learning outcome, integrating and applying analytical skills to make strategic decisions (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016); specifically, the ability to utilize systems thinking for the ongoing improvement of an organization (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016). Course outcomes represented include the abilities to analyze and understand organizational behavior as systems, and compare and manage emergent change approaches (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016).

The final paper for a course on organizational change and development includes an analysis of the company’s background, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. It describes the company’s hybrid organizational structure, which comprises functional, geographic, and product-based divisions (Meyer, 2015). The organization studied is lauded for its supportive and innovative leadership, as well as its inclusive culture of belonging and diversity (Ferguson, 2015).

The paper details a turning point in the company’s history, in the mid-2000s, during which major change was necessary to put the organization’s success back on track. The strategy employed entailed putting the focus back on the product, and prioritizing customer experience over profit (Kaplan, 2014). Comparisons are made using another company with a similar customer demographic and innovative organizational culture. Systems thinking is demonstrated by a description of a specific change process regarding the use of non-recyclable paper coffee cups. Obstacles to change and ways to measure that change are also discussed, as well as the company’s next steps moving forward.


Ferguson, E. (2015, September 13). Starbucks Coffee Company’s organizational culture. Panmore Institute. Retrieved from http://panmore.com/starbucks-coffee-company-organizational-culture

Kaplan, D. (2014, June). Starbucks: The art of endless transformation. Inc. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.smumn.edu.xxproxy.smumn.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgea&AN=edsgcl.370323015&site=eds-live

Meyer, P. (2015, September 13). Starbucks Coffee Company’s organizational structure. Panmore Institute. Retrieved from http://panmore.com/starbucks-coffee-company-organizational-structure

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. (2016, September). 2016-2017 catalog & student handbook, Organizational Leadership, M.A. Retrieved from http://catalog.smumn.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=21&poid=2237&returnto=1185

Critical Analysis for Managed Change Within Starbucks Corporation

Laura Inlow

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Schools of Graduate & Professional Programs

OL 645 Organizational Change and Development

Al Watts

December 11, 2016

Critical Analysis for Managed Change Within Starbucks Corporation

Starbucks Corporation has long been known as a leader and trendsetter in the coffee industry, but nearly a decade ago began a troubling downward trend that threatened its relevance. As a result, former CEO Howard Schultz jumped back into the driver’s seat and put in motion a number of organizational changes to restructure the company and get back to its roots. Today, Starbucks and its affiliates are enjoying the fruits of the company’s revitalization, but have the past decade to look to as a reminder to keep moving forward, or risk falling behind.

About Starbucks Corporation

Starbucks’ business goes well beyond selling coffee to providing the entire coffeehouse experience for its customers (MarketLine, 2016). Built upon unique coffee blends, that experience has expanded over time into tea, food items, merchandise, free Wi-Fi and exclusive digital content from publishers like iTunes, New York Times, Spotify and more. A robust app, mobile payment options and a digital My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program add an important mobile component to the company’s already unique offerings (MarketLine, 2016).

Starbucks currently comprises 7,000 company stores, licensed stores, consumer packaged goods and foodservice operations (MarketLine, 2016), and employs upwards of 191,000 people (Lebowitz, 2016). Subsidiaries include Seattle’s Best Coffee, Tazo Tea (Starbucks, 2011) and Teavana (Kaplan, 2014).

Major competitors making headway in the coffee industry include Dunkin Brands, which operates under locally-owned franchises (MarketLine, 2016), and McDonald’s, which competes globally with its more affordably priced McCafe specialty coffees (MarketLine, 2016).

Strengths and Weaknesses

Starbucks’ particular strengths lie in the company’s firm grasp of technology, efforts for innovation, employee-friendly policies and practices, and environmental stewardship. The company has demonstrated its dedication to technology and innovation through the launch of a mobile-based loyalty program and investment and engagement with customers on social media (Hanna, 2014). Employee friendly practices include benefits like health insurance and college reimbursement. All Starbucks employees are referred to as “partners,” which demonstrates their importance to the company. In Augusta, Georgia, the company operates a manufacturing facility that is certified LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council, allowing Starbucks a cost effective operation solution that is also environmentally friendly (Labs, 2015).

Because the company employs a differentiated business-level strategy (Jones, 2012), Starbucks maintains a lead over its competitors due to the quality of its product, despite not having the lowest prices, especially when compared to McDonald’s McCafe offerings. However, paying higher prices might not be feasible for some customers, especially during uncertain or difficult financial times, causing many to cut back on their purchases. The company’s other, more recent, struggles and weak areas include a recent increase in product recalls, various litigations, people’s growing concerns over living healthy lifestyles, and competition in global markets (MarketLine, 2016).

Inside Starbucks

As a frontrunner in its market, Starbucks strives to stay on top through adaptations in its structure and business model as needed, with a focus on technology and human resources.

Hybrid Organizational Structure

Starbucks’ unique organizational structure has developed in response to the company’s changing business needs over time (Meyer, 2015). As the company grows, so does its structure, so that it can continue optimizing processes for the product quality it has become known for (Meyer, 2015). The hybrid organizational structure incorporates functional structure, geographic divisions and product-based divisions teams (Meyer, 2015).

Human resources, finance, and marketing functions are utilized company-wide and based at corporate headquarters (Meyer, 2015). Starbucks’ global market comprises divisions for China and Asia-Pacific; Americas (divided further into western, northwest, southeast and northeast divisions); and Europe, Middle East, Russia and Africa, (Meyer, 2015), each with its own vice president. Each store manager has two bosses – a geographic VP and HR manager (Meyer, 2015).

Product-wise, Starbucks also has separate divisions for coffee, baked goods and other merchandise (Meyer, 2015). At the store level, teams are organized around serving the customer (Meyer, 2015), with a focus on positive customer experiences (Meyer, 2015).

Leadership and Human Focus

From a leadership standpoint, Schultz avoids micromanaging by recruiting top performers who challenge his ideas and push for excellence (Lebowitz, 2016). By doing so, he reinforces the strength and diverse opinions of his individual team members, who are skilled and motivated to succeed, and at the same time help the company move forward (Lebowitz, 2016).

Starbucks’ organizational culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity is a distinguishing characteristic (Ferguson, 2015). Its main features are servant leadership, relationships, collaboration and inclusion (Ferguson, 2015).

Former President Howard Behar, 1995-2003, said that early on, the company was focused on the product and not so much the people (Greenleaf, 2015), but leadership knew that people were the key to having a successful business and long lasting organization (Greenleaf, 2015). “Ultimately, I knew that how you treat your people is how they’ll treat your customers,” Behar said in a 2015 interview (Greenleaf, 2015). That culture was built by encouraging employee input through Open Forums where they were invited to speak their minds and contribute (Greenleaf, 2015).

Leaders throughout the company support their employees and encourage growth, both personally and professionally (Ferguson, 2015). Starbucks’ College Achievement Plan program even offers four years of college coursework to help employees graduate college debt free, with no obligation to stay at the company upon graduation (Foroohar, 2016). The company’s goal is to help 25,000 employees earn college degrees by 2025 (Foroohar, 2016). Tuition is only one of the perks employees enjoy, which also include a Spotify Premium subscription, comprehensive healthcare coverage and stock options for even part-time workers (Foroohar, 2016).

Starbucks’ focus on relationships creates warm interactions between employees and their peers, as well as employees and customers (Ferguson, 2015). Collaboration and communication are key, and openness to ask questions and voice concerns if need be are very much encouraged (Ferguson, 2015). This kind of treatment empowers employees to succeed and strive for the innovation that keeps Starbucks on top (Ferguson, 2015).

Last, but not least, the company’s anti-discrimination policies strongly prohibit discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. (Ferguson, 2015). This is especially important because more than 40 percent of the company’s baristas are minorities (Foroohar, 2016). After the 2014 riots in Ferguson, Missouri, for example, the company held open meetings in five different cities to give employees a chance to voice their individual concerns and share their personal experiences (Foroohar, 2016). Uniquely, these efforts focused on the employees as people, rather than simply as parts of a greater whole.

Changing Back to Basics

Even the best companies can become complacent if change and innovation are not at the heart of what they do. Likewise, growth can sometimes be harmful, if not controlled – and that’s what happened at Starbucks sometime after Schultz stepped down as CEO in 2000. By 2007, it had become obvious the company had taken a wrong turn toward prioritizing profit over the product quality and customer experience Starbucks was built upon (Kaplan, 2014). Over-saturation of the market essentially meant that Starbucks was competing against itself (Geereddy, 2013) and a dip in the economy meant that fewer people were spending their money on high end coffee products (Hanna, 2013). As a result, stock prices plummeted (Kaplan, 2014), and action had to be taken. In 2008, Schultz returned and the company began an important transformation (Kaplan, 2014) to get back on the right path. The change, although looking forward, took Starbucks back to its roots with a focus on serving its customers as well as expanding its markets into China and India (Kaplan, 2014). Some of the company’s focus was also invested in the introduction of new products and services (Kaplan, 2014).

Ultimately, the company shut down 800 stores and laid off 4,000 employees, most of whom were top executives (Kaplan, 2014). Schultz then reinvested in his middle managers, by bringing them together for a morale building retreat in New Orleans, Louisiana. The retreat is now considered having been a turning point for Starbucks’ transformation (Hanna, 2013). Schultz also reinvested in the company’s baristas, shutting down stores for half a day to retrain them in making espresso (Kaplan, 2014). Rather than cutting benefits to employees, including temporary ones, Schultz stayed true to Starbucks’ core principles by continuing to offer health insurance (Kaplan, 2014) and other employee benefits. Together, these efforts went a long way toward reinvigorating the Starbucks workforce – the very people who had an opportunity to turn things back around for the company.

Starbucks’ organizational culture grew over time to embody this human focus (Ferguson, 2015). Today, it is a big part of what makes Starbucks distinct and what gives it a competitive advantage over the company’s competitors (Ferguson, 2015).

Keeping Up with Customers

Starbucks’ darkest times came at a point when stores were virtually on every street corner and its struggles weren’t obvious to the general public. To them, the company was losing its “cool,” while in truth, it was losing its competitive edge. Staying competitive ongoing requires Starbucks to earn and keep customers’ loyalty while finding innovative ways to continue thriving financially. That means the company has to manage bureaucratic and operational costs while maintaining the product quality and customer experience that sets the company ahead of its competition, all the while staying true to its organizational culture, and remaining flexible to the pressures of the market and outside world.

Similarities in Other Markets: Facebook Case Study

One of Starbucks’ issues pre-2008 was not managing its extreme growth properly. Although growth, on the surface, appeared to be a good thing, Schultz noted in a 2007 memo that it had cost the “soul” of the company that made it so successful in the first place (Quelch, 2008). Another company which has experienced rapid growth, has similar concerns, and caters to a similar demographic is Facebook. Although the two companies work in different markets, they can learn from one another when it comes to managing growth and change.

Like Starbucks, Facebook reached a turning point within the last decade and was forced to adjust its business strategies to turn a profit (Fiegerman, 2013) when it announced its IPO in 2012. The company restructured a bit to put more focus on its main source of revenue – advertising (MarketLine, 2016) – without compromising its free services, which allow users to connect with one another and publish their thoughts, ideas and other content on the social networking platform (MarketLine, 2016). In 2008, Facebook took a step in the right direction toward improving its business structure by hiring COO Sheryl Sandberg (Biography.com, 2016), whose claim to fame would later be instituting stronger corporate processes to add stability to the organization, which was previously dominated and run by hackers (Keating, 2012).

After the announcement of its IPO, CEO and Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg pulled a team together to talk strategy moving into its new public status. Not everyone was on board. Just three months after filing the IPO, the company lost its CTO, platforms director, and head of its partnership marketing division (Fiegerman, 2013). Zuckerberg himself even emerged from the transition more polished than he was going in (Fiegerman, 2013).

Although initially, the IPO was widely considered a flop by investors (Safdar, 2013), Facebook’s revenue has steadily increased since. By 2015, mobile ads accounted for 76 percent of the company’s advertising revenue, or $2.9 billion (Fiegerman, 2015). That’s a huge jump from 2012, a year when Facebook brought in almost no revenue from mobile devices (Fiegerman, 2015). As mobile continues to thrive, with expected continued growth in the future, the company continues to follow an upward trajectory.

Facebook’s story is an example of how companies like Starbucks can benefit from monitoring public perception, and remaining flexible enough to offer the right products and customer experiences at the right times. Starbucks already showed its ability to adapt in 2012, when it broke into the health food market with its first Evolution Fresh store in Washington. The move was in response to customers’ increasing interest in pursuing healthier lifestyles (MarketLine, 2016).

Change Strategies

Change strategies to help manage these processes include planning for and managing resistance, education and communication, building trust, and even coercion, if need be (Kotter and Schlesinger, 2008). None of these strategies are one-size fits all solutions, so managers need to consider the change or changes at hand, as well as the likely outcomes of each strategy (Kotter and Schlesinger, 2008).

When Starbucks partners lost their jobs during the company’s 2008 restructuring, Schultz communicated to not only those affected, but also those who remained, through a company-wide email that explained the restructuring process and why it was necessary. Likely, there was some initial resistance from Starbucks partners, both those who lost their jobs and those who were unsure of how the change would affect them.

Other changes, while not necessarily as serious or traumatic as layoffs and store closures, also require unique strategies, customized to the particular situation at hand.

Recyclable Cups & Systems Thinking

Starbucks is currently pursuing a change in one of its products that aligns with the company’s sustainability doctrine and would ultimately reduce the company’s environmental footprint. Paper coffee cups are not easily recycled as some people think, because they are made of cardboard with a thin layer of plastic that helps keep the coffee warm and the cup from getting soggy (Kittasova, 2016). Because of this, “an estimated 60 billion paper cups in the U.S. end up in landfills each year” (Kittasova, 2016). In response, in addition to offering reusable cups for sale in its stores, Starbucks is attempting to change the paper coffee cup game.

In 2009, the company hosted a summit to continue movement toward a recyclable cup solution (Starbucks, 2009). Peter Senge, a Ph.D., senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL), moderated a discussion including representatives from various facets of the paper cup chain, or companies with symbiotic interdependencies (Jones, 2012), with the intention of addressing the issues and forming a plan for moving forward together (Starbucks, 2009). The effort allowed the various companies to feel involved in the process, making it more likely that they will buy into the change rather than resist it (Jick, 1991).

The project’s original deadline was 2012 (Starbucks, 2009). Although Starbucks didn’t meet that deadline, it has since adjusted and readjusted (again in 2015). In 2016, the company signed a “Paper Cup Manifesto,” along with industry peers like McDonald’s and KFC, to continue working toward a better solution (Kittasova, 2016).

Currently, Starbucks is testing a new, fully recyclable kind of coffee cup in the U.K. with British packaging company Frugalpac (Kittasova, 2016). The recyclable cup is built in a way that is similar to the traditional product, except the plastic layer on the cardboard can be more easily removed at the recycling plant so the rest of the cup can move through the recycling process (Kittasova, 2016).

Still, until a mass disposable solution is found, Starbucks is reducing its footprint by encouraging customers to consider reusable options. Customers can currently receive a small discount for using personal tumblers at Starbucks stores (Starbucks, 2009).

“Starbucks’ holistic approach to solving this global issue has the potential to make a significant impact on not only its company operations, but on the entire foodservice industry,” Senge said in a 2009 press release (Starbucks, 2009). In systems thinking, as a market leader and major player, Starbucks’ efforts have greater consequences on the larger system. In other words, the company’s efforts have the ability to cause a ripple of change not only in the company, but also among its peers and competitors (Starbucks, 2009).

Obstacles to Change

Obstacles to change can range depending on the change at hand, and can include structural or technological issues, communication issues, social issues and managerial issues.

Structural issues, such as organizational silos, can get in the way of change. While horizontal differentiation allows for specialization, it can cause a subunit orientation (Jones, 2012), which can detract from employees’ abilities to see the bigger picture. After all, “change succeeds when an entire organization participates in the effort” (Jick, 1991).

Technological barriers can include a company’s infrastructure and abilities, or inabilities, to keep up, as well as the abilities of a company’s workforce. Starbucks’ dedication to keeping on the forefront of technology and to educating its workforce puts the company in a good position to avoid this barrier.

Ineffective communication, or lack of communication, is also a major change barrier. Effective communication is absolutely critical when it comes to uniting an organization behind a shared vision and direction (Jick, 1991). Communication can also help set the tone for employees’ initial reactions to a change, and help them feel involved and take ownership in its outcome (Jick, 1991), an aspect that Starbucks handles well.

Social and managerial issues can arise when an organization is too hierarchical, which Starbucks addressed early on during its rebirth, when many of the laid off employees were executive-level employees rather than front line workers.

Measuring Change

It’s important that change is monitored and measured for success, although that is often a lofty goal (Prosci, n.d.). Many change measurement processes use employees and project effectiveness to gauge change progress (Prosci, n.d.). Leaders can also consider participation and documented communication efforts in the review process (Prosci, n.d.). In both examples of change at Starbucks, and the one at Facebook, progress toward the desired goal marked successes in the companies’ change strategies. Also in both cases, employee feedback at all levels would have been an effective tool.

Recommendations for Moving Forward

Starbucks appears to be on the right track currently and is once again enjoying success in its market, as well as in new ones. However, it is imperative that the company continue monitoring the employee and customer climate regarding satisfaction, tastes, trends and financial status, so that it can be poised and ready to respond when needed. It also needs to be careful to avoid complacency, by planning ahead rather than always reacting to outside stimuli.

To continue avoiding oversaturation, opening boutiques under different brands (Choi, 2013) is a good strategy, but Starbucks should be careful not to stray too far from its core competencies (Jones, 2012) and know when to pull back if certain efforts aren’t producing results.

Lastly, Starbucks would do well to remember the human focus that continues to keep the company ahead of the game. Moving forward, really relying on the customer-employee relations that have brought the company success in the past will continue to give Starbucks a unique competitive edge that others have yet to replicate.

Final Analysis

Starbucks has found great success in utilizing its greatest resource, humans, for both change efforts and general operations. When the company needed to pay more attention to its customer service efforts and overall customer experiences, it’s not surprising Schultz refocused his efforts on middle managers and frontline workers. These employees are often more in tune with each other’s needs and emotions, as well as those of the customer, than top executives (Huy, 2001). In particular, by making an effort to raise morale among middle managers after major layoffs, Schultz got 10,000 store managers (Kaplan, 2014) on his side, ready and willing to use their social networks to communicate and implement the change at a functional level (Huy, 2001). Their impact cannot be understated and should be considered ongoing.


Choi, C. (2013, October 23). Starbucks looks to make tea trendy, with plans to open ‘tea bar’ in New York City. The Canadian Press. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.smumn.edu.xxproxy.smumn.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=pwh&AN=MYO081503433013&site=eds-live

Ferguson, E. (2015, September 13). Starbucks Coffee Company’s organizational culture. Panmore Institute. Retrieved from http://panmore.com/starbucks-coffee-company-organizational-culture

Fiegerman, S. (2013, May 18). How Facebook has changed since going public one year ago. Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2013/05/18/facebook-ipo-anniversary/

Foroohar, R. (2016, February 16). Starbucks for America. Time Magazine. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.smumn.edu.xxproxy.smumn.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=100812944&site=eds-live

Geereddy, N. (2013). Strategic analysis of Starbucks Corporation. Retrieved from http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/nithingeereddy/files/starbucks_case_analysis.pdf

Greenleaf (2015, May 2). How Starbucks built a servant leadership culture: Q&A with Howard Behar. Retrieved from https://www.greenleaf.org/how-starbucks-built-a-servant-leadership-culture-qa-with-howard-behar/

Hanna, J. (2014, August 24). Starbucks, reinvented: A seven-year study on Schultz, strategy and reinventing a brilliant brand. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2014/08/25/starbucks-reinvented/#74c8da66751b

Jick, T. (1991, April 22). Implementing change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Jones, G. R. (2012). Organizational theory, design, and change. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Kaplan, D. (2014, June). Starbucks: The art of endless transformation. Inc. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.smumn.edu.xxproxy.smumn.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgea&AN=edsgcl.370323015&site=eds-live

Kittasova, I. (2016, July 21). Starbucks cups aren’t recyclable. Here’s the solution. CNN Money. Retrieved from  http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/21/news/starbucks-recyclable-cups/

Labs, W. (2015, December). Starbucks brews up advanced technologies. Food Engineering Magazine, 87(12), p. 35-45. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.smumn.edu.xxproxy.smumn.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgea&AN=edsgcl.446637537&site=eds-live

Lebowitz, S. (2016, March 3). Two brilliant management strategies Howard Schultz used to build the Starbucks coffee empire. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/management-strategies-of-starbucks-ceo-howard-schultz-2016-3

MarketLine. (2016, August 4). Company profile: Starbucks Corporation. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.smumn.edu.xxproxy.smumn.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=117930747&site=eds-live

Marketline. (2016, August 5). Company profile Facebook, Inc. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.smumn.edu.xxproxy.smumn.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=118290266&site=eds-live

Meyer, P. (2015, September 13). Starbucks Coffee Company’s organizational structure. Panmore Institute. Retrieved from http://panmore.com/starbucks-coffee-company-organizational-structure

Moss, D. (2016, March). Brewing a better business. HR Magazine. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.smumn.edu.xxproxy.smumn.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=keh&AN=113488978&site=eds-live

Prosci (n.d.). Change management measurement and metrics. Retrieved from https://www.prosci.com/change-management/thought-leadership-library/measuring-change-management-effectiveness-with-metrics

Quelch, J. (2008, July 2). How Starbucks’ growth destroyed brand value. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2008/07/how-starbucks-growth-destroyed

Quy Nguyen Huy. (2001, September). In praise of middle managers. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2001/09/in-praise-of-middle-managers.

Safdar, K. (2013, May 20). Facebook, one year later: What really happened in the biggest IPO flop ever. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/05/facebook-one-year-later-what-really-happened-in-the-biggest-ipo-flop-ever/275987/

Starbucks. (2009, May 10). Starbucks brings thought leaders together to develop a comprehensive recyclable cup solution. Retrieved from https://news.starbucks.com/news/starbucks-brings-thought-leaders-together-to-develop-a-comprehensive-recycl

Starbucks. (2011, July 11). Starbucks announces new leadership structure to accelerate global growth. Retrieved from http://investor.starbucks.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=99518&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=158400

Starbucks. (n.d.) Goals and progress: Cup recycling. Retrieved from https://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/global-report/environmental-stewardship/cup-recycling

Artifact: OL 635

Artifact OL 635: Sweden Wikispaces

Laura Inlow

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Artifact OL 635: Sweden Wikispaces

A Wikispaces site on the country of Sweden demonstrates the first program learning outcome, interpreting the contexts and environments in which companies operate (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016).

Built over the course of a few weeks as a bi-weekly regional update, the site demonstrates several course outcomes, including the ability to demonstrate cultural and contextual communication, evaluate components of organizational culture, and respect viewpoints from the most dominant view within a culture (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016).

In an attempt to “identify and understand cultural influences that shape behavior and work views”, it contains pages detailing Swedish culture and traditions, Swedish business culture, and even Swedish culture as it is seen from America (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016), a program learning outcome. There is much emphasis on the less hierarchical nature of Swedish business culture, success earned through achievement (Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 2012), and generous employee and social benefits (Swedish Institute, 2016).

The bi-weekly updates page contains the analysis of two timely news stories on different topics related to Swedish business culture: a housing crisis in Stockholm and its effects on businesses recruiting new talent, and advances in a better work-life balance for employees. A personal reflections page contains thoughts and opinions on the news updates for the week, tied in with personal experiences, and a comparison of Swedish business culture to American business culture.



Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. (2016, September). 2016-2017 catalog & student handbook, Organizational Leadership, M.A. Retrieved from http://catalog.smumn.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=21&poid=2237&returnto=1185

Swedish Institute. (2016). Work in Sweden. Retrieved from http://work.sweden.se/living-in-sweden/swedish-business-culture/

Trompenaars, F., and Hampden-Turner, C. (2012). Riding the waves of culture: Understanding diversity in global business (3rd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.


Artifact: OL 634

Artifact OL 634: Apple vs. FBI: The iPhone Controversy

Laura Inlow

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Artifact OL 634: Apple vs. FBI: The iPhone Controversy

An intercultural organizational impact analysis paper entitled “Apple vs. FBI: The iPhone Controversy” demonstrates the sixth program learning outcome, evaluating the ethical and legal implications of one’s actions (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016). The analysis, based on various news stories detailing the investigations and aftermath of the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernadino, California, details how foundational ideologies impact ethical and legal judgment, as well as a corporation’s community responsibility (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016).

Course outcomes demonstrated include the synthesis of cultural, economic, political, and social perspectives, the analysis of different viewpoints and the articulation of the challenges experienced by global organizations (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016).

A U.S.-based global company, Apple experienced pressure from the FBI to aid in the criminal investigation of a terrorism suspect by giving investigators backdoor access to his iPhone (New York Times, 2016). The company took the stance that forced compliance would be a violation of the right to free speech (New York Times, 2016). In the end, its refusal was about protecting the company’s triple bottom line – not only financial, but also environmental and social (Meyer and Kirby, 2012).

Apple realized that while helping the FBI might put a criminal behind bars, it might also open up vulnerabilities for hackers to violate other customers’ private information. It would also violate the company’s employees, many of whom threatened to quit if forced to comply. Lastly, complying with the FBI order would have set precedents for similar situations in other countries like China, impacting customers internationally.

This paper demonstrates the difficult decisions and considerations that global companies sometimes have to make to continue operating successfully in a global market.


Meyer, C., & Kirby, J. (2012). Standing on the sun: How the explosion of capitalism abroad will change business everywhere. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. (2016, September). 2016-2017 catalog & student handbook, Organizational Leadership, M.A. Retrieved from http://catalog.smumn.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=21&poid=2237&returnto=1185

The New York Times. (2016, March 21). Breaking down Apple’s iPhone fight with the U.S. government. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/03/03/technology/apple-iphone-fbi-fight-explained.html?_r=1

Apple vs. FBI: The iPhone Security Controversy

Laura Inlow

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Schools of Graduate & Professional Programs

OL 634: Economic and Political Contexts

Rick Bernardo

Curt Fernandez

August 14, 2016

Apple vs. FBI: The iPhone Controversy

In December 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, committed a mass shooting in San Bernadino, California (New York Times, 2016). They killed 14 and injured 22 others in the incident (Blake, 2016). During the aftermath, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations attempted to force Apple Inc. to give them backdoor access to Farook’s iPhone, and Apple refused.

The FBI alleged that Apple’s refusal violated its “right to due process” (New York Times, 2016). After the Justice Department sued for Apple’s help, a judge ruled that Apple would be required to create software to aid the FBI’s efforts (Reisinger, 2016). Apple stood firm, however, in its claims that forcing its engineers to write new code would risk the security of iPhone users worldwide, and would constitute a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech (New York Times, 2016). So who was in the right?

FBI’s Case

The FBI dug itself into a deeper hole when it ordered that Farook’s iCloud account be reset shortly after the shooting (New York Times, 2016). Instead of giving investigators access to the information they sought, it had quite the opposite effect. Because security on newer-model iPhones wipes a phone’s data after 10 incorrect password attempts, the FBI sued for Apple’s assistance in breaking the encryption (New York Times, 2016).

This wasn’t the first time the FBI sought to gain access to information on private iPhones. In fact, there are currently other pending cases (New York Times, 2016), and the bureau is thought to have made between 9 and 17 similar requests between October 2015 and February 2016 alone (Sullivan, 2016). Though the FBI claims its reasoning is for the protection of Americans against terrorism (New York Times, 2016), lawful precedent is not necessarily on the government’s side. In a drug case in Brooklyn earlier this year, a judge ruled in Apple’s favor to block law enforcement officials from accessing an iPhone (Bennett and Goldstein, 2016), even though the phone in question was an older model, which would have been easier to crack (New York Times, 2016).

Some say this trend in heightened smartphone security actually causes more harm to the process of prosecuting criminals than it creates effective protection for everyday users (Bernstein, 2016). Smartphones like the iPhone can offer a wealth of digital information that can be helpful in prosecuting or defending criminal cases. Especially in situations where time is an issue, important evidence could be unnecessarily lost (Bernstein, 2016).

Inside Apple Inc.

Apple, headed by CEO Tim Cook, maintained its pro-privacy stance for multiple reasons––stakeholder privacy, maintaining the right to free speech, and to protect its employees, to name a few. In addition, the company maintained that the FBI could not reasonably prove there wasn’t a way around Apple’s compliance (Sullivan, 2016).

For everyday users, the benefits of security may outweigh the risks, especially now that our phones can store very personal medical and financial information (Bernstein, 2016), according to privacy advocates. Creating a backdoor for the FBI would mean ignoring a significant hole in security, which could create access for the wrong people (New York Times, 2016).

For Apple’s employees, compliance would have meant going against their professional nature, according to Mark Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (Markoff, Benner, and Chen, 2016). Apple said it could take as many as 6-10 engineers up to a month to create an entirely new operating system to allow the FBI access, and maintains that forcing them to write code against their will would be a violation of their First Amendment rights (Markoff, Benner, and Chen, 2016). During interviews with more than half a dozen current and former Apple employees, some indicated they would refuse, or even quit, if ordered to comply (Markoff, Benner, and Chen, 2016).

Apple may have acted in an effort to maintain the trust of both of these important stakeholder groups (Zand, 2010), which is commendable from an organizational development standpoint. Other Silicon Valley giants, including Google and Facebook, stood behind Apple’s decision as well (New York Times, 2016), and are not new to supporting tech security. Even in the face of $10,000 per day fines, similar to those Apple could have faced in this situation, the small email servicer Lavabit, for example, chose to close down operations rather than comply with orders to give the government access to information on Edward Snowden during the Wikileaks scandal (Markoff, Benner, and Chen, 2016).

Not everyone in tech, however, feels this way. BlackBerry CEO John Chen came out as an opponent of Apple’s decision when, in a blog post, he wrote, “we reject the notion that tech companies should refuse reasonable, lawful access requests. Just as individual citizens bear responsibility to help thwart crime when they can safely do so, so do corporations have a responsibility to do what they can” (Blake, 2016). Where Apple could have gone wrong in the eyes of opponents was its apparent lack of patriotism, which is necessary to a point (Brown, 2009). At the same time, it is commendable that the company stayed true to its idealistic commitment to stakeholders, rather than crumbling under the pressure of the U.S. government (Brown, 2009).

Larger Implications

The difficult decision between the personal privacy of iPhone users around the world and national security illustrates the conundrum facing leaders of multinational and transnational companies today. Because Apple is based in Silicon Valley, it is largely connected with the United States, which also represents its largest customer base, and therefore, determines its dominant identity (Nijhof, Forterre, and Jeurissen, 2008). As a multinational or transnational corporation, however, they needed to consider their stakeholders around the world, including those in China, the company’s second largest market at $59 billion (New York Times, 2016). One concern was that compliance in the U.S. would make it even harder to say no if faced with a similar request in China, where refusal could have serious negative implications for Apple’s bottom line (New York Times, 2016). This concern might lead some to believe that what Apple did was in its best interest as a company focused on profit, whether or not that was the case.

The Workaround

The day before a hearing scheduled on March 22, the government was granted a postponement saying it might no longer need Apple’s help to break the encryption (New York Times, 2016). On March 28, the Justice Department dropped the case, apparently hiring third-party hackers to break the iPhone’s encryption without Apple’s compliance (Benner and Lichtblau, 2016). Moving forward, there is a risk that the government could classify the tool rather than share it with Apple so the company can patch the security issue and protect its customers (Benner and Lichtblau, 2016).

In April, the FBI announced that as a result of hacking into the phone, it found that Farook “likely did not make contact with another ‘plotter’ during the 18-minute period” following the shooting (Reisinger, 2016). It is unclear how significant the finding was, however, and as of April 20, investigators planned to continue searching (Reisinger, 2016).


Apple’s leadership chose to make their stakeholders around the world, as well as their own employees, a priority over their national government. In this way, they acted as a transnational company would––in which the decisions of leadership were made in contemplation of the world market as a single economic unit (Drucker, 1997). As Apple is a U.S.-based company, it is not a surprise that their reaction did not sit well with the FBI, an entity of the U.S. government. That doesn’t mean, however, that the decisions made by Apple to not comply were the wrong ones. It is apparent that Apple’s leadership saw the bigger picture and made the difficult decision to go with the choice that would be the most beneficial to the largest number of the company’s stakeholders, both locally and worldwide.

This is not likely to be the last case of its kind, and future cases will likely set legal precedents moving forward. As technology continues to evolve and globalization continues to change the world market, it will be interesting to see if tech companies like Apple continue to hold steady on these decisions or if they end up making concessions to local and global governments.


Bennett, K. and Goldstein, J. (2016, February 29). Apple wins ruling in New York iPhone hacking order. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/01/technology/apple-wins-ruling-in-new-york-iphone-hacking-order.html

Bennett, K. and Lichtblau, E. (2016 March 28). U.S. says it has unlocked iPhone without Apple.  New York Times.  Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/29/technology/apple-iphone-fbi-justice-department-case.html

Bernstein, B. (2016 April 7). What if Apple is wrong? MIT Technology Review, 119(3). Retrieved from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601145/what-if-apple-is-wrong/

Blake, A. (2016 July 21). Blackberry CEO chides Apple over encryption stance in San Bernadino iPhone case. The Washington Times. Retrieved from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/21/blackberry-ceo-chides-apple-over-encryption-stance/

Brown, G. (2009). Global ethic vs. national interest. [Video]. TEDGlobal. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/gordon_brown_on_global_ethic_vs_national_interest?language=en.

Drucker, P. (1997). The global economy and the nation-state. Foreign Affairs, 76(5), 151-171.

Markoff, J., Benner, K., and Chen, B. (2016 March 17). Apple encryption engineers, if ordered to unlock iPhone, might resist.  New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/18/technology/apple-encryption-engineers-if-ordered-to-unlock-iphone-might-resist.html

The New York Times. (2016 March 21). Breaking down Apple’s iPhone fight with the U.S. government.  New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/03/03/technology/apple-iphone-fbi-fight-explained.html?_r=1

Nijhof, A., Forterre, D., & Jeurissen, R. (2008). Managing legitimacy issues in global supply chains: The case of the athletic footwear industry. Corporate Governance, 8(4), 506-517.

Reisinger, D. (2016 April 20). FBI got useful information off San Bernadino iPhone. Fortune. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2016/04/20/fbi-san-bernardino-iphone/

Sullivan M. (2016 February 26). These are Apple’s top 10 legal points in the iPhone encryption case. Fast Company. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/3057187/these-are-apples-top-10-legal-points-in-the-iphone-encryption-case

Zand, D. (2010). An organizational development odyssey: In search of inward light. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 46(4), 424-435.

Artifact: OL 625

Artifact OL 625: Transformational Keynote – “Control Freak’s Guide to Letting Go”

Laura Inlow

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Artifact OL 625: Transformational Keynote – “Control Freak’s Guide to Letting Go”

A transformational keynote speech entitled “A Control Freak’s Guide to Letting Go” demonstrates the third program learning outcome, developing an awareness of individual communication styles (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016). This speech demonstrates several course outcomes, including the use of narrative and storytelling as a communication tool, matching vocabulary and voice to an audience’s needs, and arguing for, or influencing, an audience on a specific topic (“Saint Mary’s University”, 2016).

Communication Strategies was an opportunity to overcome the fear of public speaking and work on ways to improve in that area, culminating with this speech as the final project. The speech itself was a practice in pacing, structure, and storytelling, and an opportunity for the speaker to draw wisdom from personal experiences (Larsen, 2009).

The speech’s topic aimed to communicate the positive outcomes that can happen when one realizes the limits on what he or she can control in life, and embraces what he or she cannot. The core message was delivered through storytelling and a lesson outlined in four simple steps: realizing control is an illusion, staying true to one’s self, trusting in one’s team, and trusting in the process.

In a sense, the speech was an allegory for letting go of the fear of public speaking, and moving beyond one’s comfort zone (Larsen, 2009). Through connecting with one’s self, and embracing inner personal growth and awareness, a speaker gains the ability to catalyze change (Larsen, 2009) in others.

Transformational Keynote Speech: “Control Freak’s Guide to Letting Go”


Larsen, G. (2009). Transformational speaking: If you want to change the world, tell a better story. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. (2016, September). 2016-2017 catalog & student handbook, Organizational Leadership, M.A. Retrieved from http://catalog.smumn.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=21&poid=2237&returnto=1185