News & Features
Fontbonne University Alumnus Leads Jamba Juice Company to Success
Jamba Juice Chairman, President and CEO, and Fontbonne University alumnus, James White has always been driven to succeed. While attending Northwest High School in St. Louis, he participated in Inroads, a pre-college program for African American students where he got his first look into the business world, and from there, he was hooked.
“That program was really beneficial for me. It helped me identify my passion for business,” White said.
This passion inspired him to earn a bachelor’s degree in marketing and to then go on to work at companies such as Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid Orange Juice Division, Ralston Purina and The Gillette Company. And then, when White realized he wanted to round out his business education, he enrolled in Fontbonne’s MBA program.
“I wanted to continue to move and learn in my career,” White said. “Enrolling at Fontbonne served as the catalyst for renewing my overall passion about continuous learning.”
When Jamba Juice came calling in December of 2008, shortly after the economy started its steady and drastic decline, Jamba needed big leadership that could not only oversee its turnaround, but also transform the company. White pulled from his vast business experience and his education to take on the sizeable task ahead of him.
“I was inspired by the opportunity to lead the transformation of both our company and the industry. I knew that Jamba Juice represented an iconic brand with legendary service culture and an aura of west coast cool. I was confident that with these ingredients – and the right vision, leadership and disciplined management – we could achieve great success,” he said. ““Many of the leadership practices I adhere to today were honed during my time at Fontbonne.”
With White’s knowledge and expert leadership, the company has begun to flourish once again. In fact, Jamba Juice is quickly expanding, and White is currently working with a group of partners, spearheaded by former Anheuser-Busch president Dave Peacock, to bring Jamba Juice to St. Louis. They plan to debut multiple locations in the area in August 2013.
“We’re excited to be entering the St. Louis market,” White said. “I think we can bring great tasting, healthy food and beverage solutions to the area and do so in a fun, service-oriented environment. We are also excited to serve as a positive influence in St. Louis community as a whole.”