Debra (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 (Ford, Edison, Bell among them) 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, Fields has since sold her company, which is a market leader among fresh-baked cookie stores.
At the age of 20, 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 10 foreign nations.
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.
With expansion on the horizon in 1989, Mrs. Fields, Inc. was among the first companies to take advantage of dramatic computer technology advancements. Fields led her company into the computer age, streamlining operations and production schedules with a state-of-the-art computer system. Her program is used as a model for business efficiency at Harvard Business School. It remains an example of successful application of technology in business management.
Fields' business accomplishments and capabilities reach far beyond managing Mrs. Fields, Inc. Today, she sits on the Le Bonheur Foundation and has served as the 2010 "GO RED" chair for the American Heart Association in Memphis. Fields was the recipient of the Golden Gavel Award, Toastmasters' highest honor, which is awarded annually to an individual who demonstrates consistent self-improvement, success and leadership. Fields was also 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. Society of Entrepreneur members are selected by their peers and must be mature entrepreneurs who have exhibited personal business achievement, self-direction, leadership, personal integrity, determination, creativity and the ability to transform a vision into a dynamic business achievement. She has been selected to participate in a nationally televised show airing in 2013 as a judge, mentor and coach for the entire season of this innovative, awe inspiring entrepreneurial show. Fields is also hard at work in her kitchen creating hew newest cookie book, The Best of Debbi Fields Cookie Jar, a collaboration involving each one of her five daughters to make this a family infused all-time favorite. She also summited Mt. Kilimanjaro in the fall of 2011.
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, enjoyed success, posting sales of over half a million copies. She hosted Great American Desserts, which aired nationally on public television, and the name of her third 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.