Jim McCann Profile

  • His company, 1-800-flowers was one of the first businesses to demonstrate the potential of having an online presence.

  • As CEO, he consistently reinvented and innovated his company over the course of 40 years.

  • A group home counselor turned multi-millionaire, he shares his keen understanding of human behavior and how it helped him build a billion-dollar business out of a corner flower shop.
  • Jim McCann went from being a New York City social worker to one of e-commerce’s biggest early success stories. The versatile entrepreneur is the founder, former CEO, and current executive chairman of 1-800-Flowers, one of the first businesses to take sales to the Internet and spotlight its game-changing potential.

    McCann was bar tending and working as a night counselor at an inner city boys’ group home when one day one of his bar patrons told him he was selling his flower shop. McCann liked the idea of brightening people’s days with a bouquet, and with no previous experience as an entrepreneur or florist, bought the shop. He grew the business by building exceptional customer relationships, a principle that to this day remains a pillar of 1-800-flowers – whose online and mobile presence now generates more than $ 1 billion in annual sales.

    In addition to being a master communicator, McCann always kept his “antenna up” for new opportunities and growing trends – a practice that took 1-800-flowers nationwide and raised its customer base from 30 to 30 million. He and his team have also consistently expanded their product base, acquired other companies, and created new platforms such as and McCann recently stepped down as CEO after 40 years at the helm to focus on philanthropic pursuits, though in his new role as chief chairman, he continues to play a crucial role in talent management and development.

    McCann is the author of several books including Talk is (Not!) Cheap which illustrates the leaderships habits and philosophies that helped him continuously grow for four decades.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio
        • Not many CEOs can say that they′ve learned more about corporate management from underprivileged children than from Harvard MBAs, but that′s one of the keys to Jim McCann′s remarkable success. President of, he transformed a struggling $500,000 company into a $300 million industry leader. And he did it with a management style based on his understanding of human behavior learned as a social worker rather than the focus on business behavior taught in most business schools.

      McCann is that rare corporate leader who recognizes that management consists of more than keeping track of profit and revenue. It requires an understanding of people, what McCann calls a “contact economy.” It also requires an eclectic approach to business, rather than rigid adherence to any one school of thought. And that applies to any industry, whether it be flowers, insurance or making cars.

      The world′s largest florist,, operates through three “access channels” (the 1-800 telephone number, a growing chain of retail outlets and the pioneering internet site), and McCann has proven himself a visionary with all three. His interactive division, in particular, is a model for profitability and business expansion through the Internet.

      McCann′s unconventional philosophies have earned him great demand as a corporate speaker. He is an active lecturer on business and social issues, addressing audiences for such prestigious corporations as AT&T, IBM and Inc. 500, as well as numerous national and community organizations. Building on a deep respect for corporate culture, partnership and management-by-involvement, he translates his experiences into a case study for success in today′s accelerated business climate, where change is the watchword and rules are made to be broken.

    Jim McCann Speaking Videos

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    Jim McCann's Speech Descriptions

    At first glance, many might credit Jim McCann’s success to taking advantage of the right technology at the right time; however, it is truly his understanding of human behavior and uncanny ability to connect with others that has fueled 1-800-flowers’ legacy for 40 years. McCann’s fascinating story stresses the human side of managing and growing a business. The former bartender and social worker turned CEO offers key insights and tips on understanding and engaging employees, customers, or potential partners. A visionary, McCann is also an excellent fit to address starting and growing a business with few resources, developing cost-effective creative solutions to intimidating problems, and maintaining a willingness to embrace new trends and technologies.

      Stop and Sell the Roses
      The story of Jim McCann, tracing his early days as a social worker in New York City through the development of as an internet pioneer and a leading gift company.

      What Being a Social Worker Taught Me
      How McCann′s years spent running a home for boys in New York City influenced the management style he uses today.

      The Importance of Relationship Building and Customer Service
      Nothing is more important than customer service, and to McCann, nothing establishes strong customer service more than building a relationship. But how do you do that? He has some definite ideas...

      Lessons as an e-Commerce Pioneer was a pioneer of e-commerce in 1992, when it became one of the first companies to sell online. The company has continued to enhance its pioneer reputation over the years. Learn some of the company′s secrets of its online success.

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    Books by Jim McCann:

    Talk is (Not!) Cheap: The Art of Conversation Leadership

    Jim McCann has spent his career talking. For McCann, the founder and CEO of the world’s largest florist,, being open and ready to speak to a variety of audiences is his most powerful leadership tool. In Talk Is (Not!) Cheap, McCann illustrates how the art of conversation leadership—the process he developed to engage others and create forward momentum in the workplace—can be used to inspire, innovate, and win. Using a blend of how-to and insightful personal stories, this book argues that the gift of gab may just be the most critical (and undervalued) skill set in today’s workplace.

    Lessons include how to overcome hesitation when diving into conversation with strangers and knowing when to just “shut up and listen!” McCann’s practical advice comes from twenty years of experience as the voice of small business, and from meeting and exchanging ideas with other influential business leaders around the world.

    Whether you’re interacting with customers, pitching new business to a client, or seeking to be heard within your own company, Talk Is (Not!) Cheap will strategically transform the way you communicate and listen. With McCann as your guide, this important book will teach you how the art of conversation leadership can improve and joyously change your life.

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