The largest coffee chain in the world opened its doors to Radhanath Swami on June 2nd, as he was welcomed to Starbucks’ Global Headquarters in Seattle, Washington. Over 100 employees gathered to hear him speak on ‘Influence Without Affluence’.

Introduced by Arun Lakshmanan, the company’s IT director, Radhanath Swami went on to describe the power that authenticity and integrity have in affecting true change in the world, saying ‘Integrity is to choose what is right, rather than what is easy. Integrity is to choose to live with values that are not dependent on who we’re with…we should be careful not to be possessed by our possessions.’ He referred to Mahatma Gandhi, who ‘gave faith and trust to millions of people, simply on the basis of his integrity. He also recalled the story of his guru, Srila Prabhupada, who came to America aged 70 and single handedly began a worldwide spiritual movement. Stressing the Bhakti principle of ‘para dukha dukhi’, deep compassion for all beings, he highlighted that we all have the capacity to use our talents, knowledge, power and wealth for ‘destruction and distraction’, or for ‘enlightenment and healing’.

The talk was one of a growing number of invitations over the last few years for Radhanath Swami to speak at high profile businesses and organisations such as HSBC, Intel and Apple. Radhanath Swami is able to draw on 22 years of experience in guiding engineers and medical professionals to create dynamic, focused communities that support full integration of their spiritual and material lives.

Jennifer Diamond, Senior Project Manager at Starbucks, later commented that,“The talk by Radhanath Swami was so foundational to our daily interaction that I was at a loss to describe its value to each day at Starbucks.  If we read the definition of leading courageously, though, the link is clear.  Acting and communicating with compassion is how we take personal responsibility to do the right thing, for our customers, for our partners, and for ourselves. Radhanath Swami shows clearly how taking accountability for the outcomes of actions and words is a leadership activity in and of itself, and how doing so habitually creates a self-perpetuating environment of positive collaboration, inspiring creativity and achievement in others as well.”