Get connected

Connecting you to inspiring people who Thrive each and every day.

283: Michael Coles – Time to Get Tough!
Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone

283: Michael Coles – Time to Get Tough!

Apr 09/2019

Michael J. Coles is an Atlanta business executive, serial entrepreneur, education advocate, well-known public speaker, and the namesake of the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University. After almost two decades in the clothing business, he cofounded Great American Cookies in Atlanta in 1977 and grew it into the largest cookie store franchise in the United States.

Coles’s story of personal perseverance is as impressive as his business acumen. Following a near-fatal motorcycle accident six weeks after founding the cookie company, he recovered through a self-designed rehabilitation program and went on to set world records in three coast-to-coast bicycle races. Coles’s commitment to community service led him to run for the House of Representatives against Newt Gingrich in 1996 and for the U.S. Senate against Paul Coverdell in 1998, the same year he sold Great American Cookies. For the next four years he chaired the Georgia Film Commission and served on the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents, the Kennesaw State University Foundation board, and the Walker School board.

In 2003 he took the helm at Caribou Coffee, where he more than doubled the size of the company, opened a commercial sales division and an international market, and took the company public on nasdaq under the symbol cbou in 2005. Today he serves as chairman of Brand Holding Company and BrandBank and actively lectures about business, giving more than seventy-five talks a year at universities and corporate events nationwide. He is coauthor of the children’s book The Land of the Caring Bou with his wife, Donna.

His new book “Time To Get Tough: How Cookies, Coffee and a Crash Led to Success in Business and Life” reminds us that there are no limits as to what we as individuals can accomplish.

Enjoy this engaging conversation between Michael Coles and Lou Diamond.


Click below to order a copy of Time To Get Tough:

Check out more Thrive LOUD Stories

075: Gavin Zuchlinski – Acuity Scheduling

Founder Acuity Scheduling

Feb 20/2018

111: Melanie Deziel – Show, Don’t Tell

Keynote Speaker & Branded Content Consultant

Apr 29/2018

072: Fred Killingsworth – Everything is Possible!

Founder & CEO Hinge Consulting

Feb 13/2018

436: Rosemarie Rossetti – Change, Influence & Motivation

Addressing Disability Inclusion at Meetings and Accessible Home Design

Apr 01/2020

Get connected

Stay connected

@thriveloud 917.612.6170

Master Connecting


Listen To Thrive Loud