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“Touching and Enhancing Lives”, CEO James Morgan

Tracy Ratliff

Sean Fontaine, Editor

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The position of CEO comes as a very stressful one especially with the current volatility in the economy. From the decks of a Navy ship to the boardroom(s) of the Krispy Kreme headquarters located in Winston Salem, NC, James Morgan brings an exceptional edge to leadership through faith-based principles and a keen focus on the mission of his company.

Krispy Kreme, founded in 1937 in Winston Salem, NC, popularized the Original Glazed Donut, which became a world-wide sensation. With stores in over 21 countries, Krispy Kreme commits to the fundamentals of top-notch customer service and efficient business practices. The company came under stress heading into the U.S. financial crisis because of its high debt ratios and low liquidity. By 2004 the stock price had dipped from $50 to just skirting around $1.
James Morgan received a call while in retirement to take over the company and he couldn’t refuse, seeing the state the company was in. In January 2008 James took over as CEO and the rest is history.

He asked his employees to first define the company’s mission. Many responded with pedestrian answers as “to sell doughnuts”, “sell a tasty product” etc. etc. Morgan stood back disappointed with the lack of perspective these employees had about the purpose of their company. He responded to them “Is that all??” and much to his dismay many could not expand past their original answers. Morgan cited this as his calling to make a difference in people’s lives including his employees.

Morgan entertained the audience with three points, really words to live by, words that have guided Morgan his entire life. Morgan didn’t take the CEO position out of pity or obligation but passion and love for leading a company.

“Pursue your passion” Morgan expressed to the audience.

Financial security has its benefits, as money tends to mend a lot of problems; But at what cost? Have you found a career/job that you can brag about, something that brings a smile to your face at the mention of a co-worker or a client? It’s the people that count on companies the most and Morgan facilitates that ideal through every level of his company.

Do something that you love. Consider that the average person works almost a quarter of their lifetime- not including child rearing and work at home-find what makes the most difference in your life and revel in it.

Morgan tells the audience, “You are writing your epitope every day. What do you want people to write on your tombstone?”

Reveling in success, happiness, and money is a great thing to aspire for but most people fall short of their goals for various reasons but most fail to see the bigger picture. For a second, picture life through this perspective: our existence in the present is a circle and from it a line segment extends from each side, one signifying the past and the other the future. When you’re young, the circle tends to be very large with shorter lines. The opposite is true for people as they age as responsibilities shift to larger goals. Balance your circle between the lines as you go through life. This delicate balance can reap rewards down the road, hopefully making a positive difference for generations to come.

James Morgan delved into the subject of leadership, “Look out and seek out opportunities to lead.”

Morgan believes in the power of people, what he says was the driving force behind Krispy Kreme’s resurgence into the market. Leadership in his words is the way one inspires others to make a difference in people’s lives.

A domino display of kindness.-

Morgan highlighted his years in the Navy and two vastly different experiences on tour. His first tour would discourage many from joining the Navy as he recounted how harsh the captain presided over his crew. “It was the most miserable 6 months of my life” Morgan highlighted. After docking and preparing for the second captain, the whole ship braced for a stern, neglectful soul to address the crew but instead the new captain carried himself as one of the guys and helped turn around the ship’s morale tenfold. The second captain embraced his crew members, helping them to become better servicemen, citizens, and better people in general.

Morgan shared a moving quote that resonated in the audience’s ears “The first captain spent a career building a resume; the second captain spent his career building a life.” Morgan carries this with him daily as me makes a difference in the lives of his employees and customers worldwide.

“Touching and Enhancing lives”, a motto forged by the wonderful minds at Krispy Kreme under Morgan’s tutelage, really embodies the mission Morgan has carried throughout his life. As a man of faith, James Morgan brought a hearty and compassionate breath of fresh air into the organization through family-oriented vacation days and faith-based principles.

I want to leave my readers with one last story Morgan shared that captured my heart. A few years ago Morgan, as a teacher for couple’s class at his church, ran into a friend he hadn’t seen in years. She ran at him as if to give him the biggest bear hug ever but simply collapsed in his arms hoping for solace in his arms. He said to her “what’s wrong?” “She replied “my sister, well she died recently after a long fight with cancer” stricken with the fact, Morgan could only look at her and offer support.

She began to speak again and mention her sister’s last few days in Hospice. Her sister’s last few weeks were difficult as she couldn’t communicate or interact much at all, but, one word came to her lips- Krispy. Her sister wanted a donut! She rushed out to the local chain and brought a fresh batch back to the room where her sister savored every bite as if her life were flashing before her eyes, accented with the sweet glaze of sugar and warmth in every bite. The next day, the same warm donut met her sister’s lips and with the same simple word, Krispy. Those donuts were the last two things she ate, Krispy the last two words she ever repeated.

This story demonstrates the very ideals Morgan stresses to everyone he meets especially the people he works alongside. “Touching and Enhancing Lives” isn’t just marketing goodwill but compassion in helping shape lives with memories forever shared through the delightful fares of Krispy Kreme.

Please visit the website!!! You’ll be glad you did

Don’t forget to try their Halloween-inspired treats, They are sure to “spook” your taste buds.

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“Touching and Enhancing Lives”, CEO James Morgan