The West Midlands Mayor delivered a speech and took question from an audience of more than 100 Rotarians at the event at Patsull Park, Wolverhampton.
Addressing the event, which was put on by the Rotary Club of Tettenhall, Mr Street told how he had worked his way up to become managing director of John Lewis in 2007.
He spoke of having to cope with the global financial crash, and said he had two "golden rules" for turning adversity into an opportunity – decide on your fellow travellers and place your bet.
His 'bet' was to develop the online business, he explained, which became the firm's saviour.
Mr Street also spoke of his role as Metro Mayor, saying he was on a mission to reverse a trend of low investment in the region. He also pushed the case for high speed rail.
Rotarian Roger Timbrell said: "It was nice to hear Andy compliment all the Rotary clubs for their work in the community.
"He was particularly supportive of Tettenhall Rotary Club’s Santa Sleigh – which raises thousands of pounds each year for local charities – and Tettenhall Remembers appeal for Acorns Hospice."
The vote of thanks was given by Chris Jones, former managing director of Beatties.