The Road We’re On

Six years years ago Starbucks closed every store and office after the planes hit and fell. And the company sent everyone home. Everyone.

Starbucks core purpose is to provide an uplifting spirit that enriches people’s daily lives. In the midst of that tragedy Howard told us to go home to be with our families. We–I work for Starbucks too–to be authentically who we are, could not have done anything else.

For weeks afterwards, partners took container after container of coffee, trays of pastries and cases of bottled water to the crash sites… it was a reflex, we couldn’t not do that and be “Starbucks.”

In my area this involved driving over an hour each way to get to the crash site. The store manager who led the first efforts called a few folks the day after, loaded containers of brewed coffee into her jeep and went. I don’t think she even knew where she was going. But she couldn’t not go. As the days passed, partner after partner asked, “Jen, I want to help, when can I go?” going, in making the request, they embodied our purpose.

In the last couple of weeks a major earthquake hit Lima, Peru. Starbucks has stores there. We contacted our people there and made sure we knew everyone of our partners were safe. As we looked at hurricanes getting ready to hit the Yucatan penisula, we put plans into place to help our people there if we needed to — not just plans for our stores — but for our people.

After Katrina, we looked until we could account for everyone. We broadcast updates internally so that we could all know and have that peace that comes from knowing that everyone is ok.

That’s Starbucks six years ago and Starbucks today. Same company. Same culture. Same amazing group of partners, just more of them.

And that road we’re on? I’m proud to be on it–I hope you are too. ~ originally published as a letter to partners at starbucksgossip.com

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