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'Mrs. Fields' Coming to SHSU

Debbi Fields
Debbi Fields will be at Killinger Auditorium Oct. 1 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Debbi Fields, founder and former chairman of Mrs. Fields Cookies, will be at Sam Houston State University Oct. 1 as part of the President's Speaker Series.

The series, underwritten by Lu Ellen Gibbs of Huntsville, was established to bring prominent leaders to the university and deliver messages of substance with the potential to positively impact student lives. The title of Fields' presentation will be "Her First Secret Recipe: Making it Against All Odds."

The lecture will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:15 at the Killinger Auditorium inside the Beto Criminal Justice Center.

If any one knows about success it is Fields, who in 1977 convinced a bank to finance a business concept that appeared on the surface to have little likelihood of success opening a chocolate chip cookie bakeshop and store.

In August of that year, Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chippery opened in Palo Alto, Cal. Nineteen years later, Fields expanded her role from managing one shop, to supervising operations, brand name management, public relations and product development. Today the company is a $450 million empire with approximately 1,600 locations.

"I believe our students will really appreciate the message Debbi Fields has to share," said James Gaertner, president of Sam Houston State University. "Her business success story is an encouragement and inspiration. Our students will enjoy the presentation Oct. 1, but the real value will come later in their professional lives when they are confronted by the many challenges they are almost certain to face."

Fields recently sold her business, and today helps companies use technology to achieve greater efficiencies and maximize execution of their culture and business principles.

In 1989, she made Mrs. Fields, Inc. the first company in the food retailing business to use technology to streamline operations and production schedules using a state-of-the-art computer system.

The program is used as a model for business efficiency throughout the food industry and is used at Harvard Business School as an example of successful application of technology in business management.

She is the author of the Mrs. Fields I Love Chocolate!cookbook, Debbi Fields' Great American Dessertsand 100 Recipes From The Kitchen of Debbi Fields,which has sold more than 1.5 million copies and was the first cookbook to top The New York Times best seller list.

Fields gives speeches at seminars for companies throughout the country and serves on the boards of Outback Steakhouse, Inc. in Tampa, Fla., and The Orpheum Theatre and WKNO in Memphis, Tenn.

SHSU hosts one public event each spring and fall semester. Gene Stallings, former head football coach at the University of Alabama, was the speaker last spring.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Brandon Autrey
Sept. 17, 2002
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