Seth Goldman, Honest Tea: Take Risks, Be Honest

honest-tBy Deepa Janakiraman

Seth Goldman, a social entrepreneur based out of Bethesda MD, kicked off the Center for Social Value Creation Forum at Smith School of Business with the right spirit.

Goldman, after his MBA from Yale, worked at Calvert group for couple of years. Calvert group is a socially responsible investment company that invests clients’ money in companies that add social value to their return. At Calvert, Goldman realized his passion for being a socially responsible entrepreneur and decided to pursue his dream.

He called his professor at Yale to discuss his business idea making “less sweet” beverages. Together, they came up with a concept of “Honest Tea”. Seth mentioned in his speech today that at that time he thought “Tea” was the most important part of the name and realized later that the “Honest” part is what’s still keeping the business flourishing. The social value he and his partner see in their product is the production and distribution of natural beverages and the preservation of the health aspects of tea during the bottling process.

Goldman went on to describe the years it took to build distribution channels for his product, culminating in a partnership with Coca Cola.

They key takeaways from the morning? – Start by doing only things that resonate with you, pay attention to honesty and transparency in business relationships and don’t be afraid to take risks,. His speech inspired the crowd to do something better.


Deepa Janakiraman is an MBA student at Robert H. Smith School and works at Booz Allen Hamilton as an associate. An avid traveler and photographer and writes travel blogs at

The posts on this page are contributed by students from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business in conjunction with the newly launched Center for Social Value Creation. The center's mission is to develop leaders with a deep sense of individual responsibility and the knowledge to use business as a vehicle for social change. These posts are a way to continue the dialogue outside of the classroom and share the viewpoints of Smith students on the challenges and opportunities of triple bottom line thinking.

One response

  1. I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time and never realized it was linked to Smith School or TriplePundit. I wonder if we met at the conference, i was hosting the Innovations Journal/Hub DC desk for most of the day.

    Keep up the good words and thoughts.

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