Debbi Fields Biography – Inventor of Mrs. Fields Cookies & INPEX® 2011 Keynote Speaker

Keynote Address – Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Debbi Fields of Mrs. Fields Cookies

Debbi J. Fields epitomizes the American dream. From America's cherished tradition of humble beginnings, she launched what has become one of the nation's most visible, successful dessert empires.

She is one of the few innovators and entrepreneurs to see their name become a product brand symbol of quality that is known and revered worldwide. Few dream achievers live to enjoy such well-deserved acclaim.

Fields earned more than 25 years of entrepreneurial, operational and managerial experience in a company she built (literally) from scratch. Founder, baker, chief cookie lover and former chairman of Mrs. Fields Cookies, a $450 million company she founded in 1977, Mrs. Fields has since sold her company, which is a market leader among fresh-baked cookie stores.

At the age of 20, Debbi Fields was a young housewife with no business experience. Yet, she had a dream, a recipe and a passion for sharing her chocolate chip cookies. She managed to do what most people considered impossible. She convinced a bank to finance a business concept which had never before been proven and which appeared on the surface to have little likelihood of success.

Fields wanted to open a chocolate chip cookie bakeshop and store. On August 16, 1977, Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chippery opened its doors to the public in Palo Alto, California. Twenty-plus years later, Fields' role had expanded from managing one shop to supervising operations, brand name management, public relations and product development of her company's 600+ company-owned and franchise stores in the United States and ten foreign nations.

Debbi Fields' personal values guide her role as a businesswoman. Her philosophy of excellence, stated in her motto of "Good Enough Never Is," is mirrored in a company that has earned a reputation for providing the best in product quality and superior customer service. She attributes her greatest success to her ability to relate to her customers and earn their lifelong loyalty.

Fields' business accomplishments and capabilities reach far beyond managing Mrs. Fields, Inc. Today, she sits on the boards of Outback Steakhouse, The Greater Memphis Arts Council and The Orpheum Theater. In 2003, Fields received the Golden Gavel Award, Toastmasters' highest honor, which is awarded annually to an individual who demonstrates consistent self-improvement, success and leadership. That same year, she was inducted into The Society of Entrepreneurs. This society exists to foster the development of the entrepreneurial spirit and to recognize the contribution of entrepreneurs to the business and general community.

Fields is the author of two cookbooks published by Time-Life. The first, "Mrs. Fields' Cookie Book: 100 Recipes from the Kitchen of Mrs. Fields," has sold more than 1.8 million copies and was the first cookbook to top The New York Times best-seller list. The second, "I Love Chocolate Cookbook," published in 1994, has enjoyed tremendous success as well, posting sales of over half a million copies. She hosted Great American Desserts, a weekly program that aired nationally on public television, and is also the name of her third and newest book, "Debbi Fields' Great American Desserts," published by Simon and Schuster.

Fields is the mother of Jessica, Jenessa, Jennifer, Ashley and McKenzie. She resides in Memphis, Tennessee, with her husband Mike Rose and family.

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