REDDING, Calif.—Speaker and author Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, received a standing ovation after her motivational message at Simpson University’s 17th annual Business Leadership Luncheon on Aug. 22.
Beiler spoke to about 400 community, business and civic leaders on “The Power of Purpose,” sharing her story of growing up Amish to becoming an internationally successful businesswoman. She talked about how the assets she had—a great product, amazing people, and a bigger purpose—helped her overcome a lack of formal education, finances, and a business plan.
After being introduced by new Simpson University President Norm Hall, Beiler talked about the recent Carr Fire, which devastated the Redding area in late July, destroying more than 1,075 homes.
“Tragedy changes us,” she said. “Through tragedy, we can learn so many things… I’m here to tell you that life can be good again and even better.”
Beiler began twisting pretzels in 1987 and grew a single farmer’s market stand into Auntie Anne’s Inc. Her professional success came after years of depression brought on by the death of her 19-month-old daughter. Beiler’s story and entrepreneurial insights have been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Good Morning America, among other TV shows. She has been highlighted in numerous publications such as Fortune magazine and Inc. Magazine. In 2005, she sold Auntie Anne’s and authored the business memoir, Twist of Faith.
“When you find your purpose, it’s always a higher calling,” Beiler told the audience. “Finding your purpose is the hardest task you’ll ever face … we find our purpose through our life experiences.”
For Beiler and her husband, Jonas, their purpose in building Auntie Anne’s was “to be profitable so we could be charitable,” she said.
Beiler shared candidly about her struggles and encouraged listeners to focus on the unique qualities they already possess. “It’s amazing what you can do with what you have,” she said. “We waste a lot of energy focusing on what we don’t have.”
As a business leader, she talked about leading by example, practicing integrity, investing in employees, and treating all business contacts with respect.
“You don’t have to be famous to be effective,” she said. “Just be faithful.”
Simpson University invites a motivational speaker each year for its Business Leadership Luncheon, which is sponsored by Redding Bank of Commerce. Past speakers include Pat Williams, senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, and Dr. Tim Elmore, president of Growing Leaders.
Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings; the Betty M. Dean School of Nursing, A.W. Tozer Seminary, the School of Education, and the School of Graduate Professional Studies. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit simpsonu.edu.