Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, offered an inspiring talk at Ursinus College Jan. 29 in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center’s Lenfest Theater as part of a college-wide initiative on fostering entrepreneurship.
Her talk, titled “Give to Get to Give Again: Auntie Anne Beiler’s Road to Success and Beyond,” was part of a speaker series, appropriately called U-Inspire!, which is under the auspices of the newly announced U-Imagine!: The Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies, which will connect the capacity for integrative thinking with an entrepreneurial mindset.
Anne Beiler began twisting pretzels in 1987 to support her husband’s vision to offer free counseling services in their community. What began as a single farmer’s market stand grew into Auntie Anne’s Inc., the world’s largest hand-rolled soft pretzel franchise with over 1,200 locations worldwide. She is among an elite group of women who have founded national companies in America, and is one of a smaller number who have owned an international franchise company.
At Ursinus, she attributed her success in business and triumph over personal struggles to the values instilled in her while growing up in a Lancaster County Amish community, with her mother as a role model. She stressed that giving doesn’t guarantee financial success, but does guarantee satisfaction in life. “We don’t truly begin to live until we learn to give,” she said. “I believe that giving is a condition and a matter of the heart.”
Anne’s journey to become a leading female entrepreneur began many years before the first pretzel was rolled. In September of 1975, Anne and her husband experienced any parent’s worst nightmare – the loss of a child. This event propelled Anne into years of darkness during which she nearly lost her husband, her family, and her faith. Out of her pain came purpose and the desire to persevere towards personal and professional success.
Anne’s vision to serve, inspire, and give has been recognized multiple times. She was named one of America’s 500 women entrepreneurs by Working Women and Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine. Anne’sentrepreneurial insights and personal story have been featured on national television shows including Secret Millionaire, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, ANDERSON, The 700 Club, and The Joyce Meyers Show. She has been featured in Fortune Magazine, Guidepost, Nation’s Restaurant News and Christianity Today.
In 2005, Anne sold Auntie Anne’s and authored Twist of Faith, a revealing look at the inner workings of her life while building an international corporation. Today, she is a highly requested speaker inspiring audiences around the world. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Jonas. They are parents to two daughters and grandparents to four grandchildren.