The CEO of your favorite place to get a white chocolate mocha (or is that just us) has gone from admirable coffeehouse entrepreneur to impassioned orator.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, furthered the conversation on America’s stance with diversity and racism and held another open forum with hundreds of Starbucks employees at the California African American Museum this week.
First initiated weeks ago in Seattle, Schultz’s goal of widening the talk of race in America has evolved into a series for the company. The businessman, traveling from Oakland, St. Louis and New York, is on a quest to get his employees to honestly share how they view and treat different cultures and ethnicity in their everyday lives. Wow!
Starbucks openly hires (at 40 percent) people of various backgrounds and Schultz was inspired to hold these massive talks from the aftermath of Ferguson last fall. Despite his success as a White male in America, the racial elements of Michael Brown’s death touched him deeply and caused him to reflect on his own manners of dealing with race.
“Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have unconscious biases,” as he told USA Today. “We had to do something. No ignoring it or being a bystander.”
He shared with USA that as a child, he remembers the images on TV of the civil rights movement and hearing Robert F. Kennedy speak after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
There is also a business component to the forum. Schultz noticed that based on “the national mood” of the country, Starbucks’ sales would rise or fall. In New York, during the #BLACKLIVESMATTERS protests, sales were “tanking.”
He insists that the forums aren’t organized to keep business afloat, but to check in with his employees because if they are happy and the topics they care most about aren’t neglected, business in return is a more fruitful experience for everyone.
But don’t write off Schultz for someone just only looking out for his brand. Just last October, he introduced a partnership with Starbucks and non-profits in New York and L.A. to help fund educational programs and he also has a foundation geared towards helping veterans.
Schultz’s effort is admirable–and smart–because of course everybody wins when people are generally happy, but at the very least, feel understood. He’s hopeful that our CEOs and managers will follow his lead.
“In every city we’ve had these meetings, there has been a tremendous amount of learning. There’s been a true level of compassion about what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.”
Hands Up, Don’t Shoot: Ferguson Sparks Photo Movement
1. A Call To Action1 of 40
2.2 of 40
3.3 of 40
4. Young Black Men Support4 of 40
5. No Justice, No Peace!5 of 40
6. Hands Up6 of 40
7. Don’t Shoot7 of 40
8. Beyond Color8 of 40
9. Youth Movement9 of 40
10. Don’t Shoot10 of 40
11. Generational Support11 of 40
12. Activists Of Our Generation12 of 40
13. Gathering Crowds13 of 40
14. Mike Brown’s Mother14 of 40
15. The Revolution Will Be Socially Shared15 of 40
16. Anonymous?16 of 40
17. T-Shirt With A Message17 of 40
18. RIP Mike18 of 40
19. Hands Up19 of 40
20. We Are One Race20 of 40
21. Do I Fit The Description?21 of 40
22. Am I Next?22 of 40
23. A Happy Protestor23 of 40
24. We Are Praying With My Feet24 of 40
25. Masked Supporter25 of 40
26. A Stand Off26 of 40
27. The Power Of Banning Together27 of 40
28. We Want Answers28 of 40
29. We Need Justice29 of 40
30. Hands Up30 of 40
31. Don’t Shoot!31 of 40
32. Passive Aggressive32 of 40
33. The People Flee33 of 40
34. Hell No, We Won’t Go!34 of 40
35. Solidarity35 of 40
36. Assume The Position36 of 40
37. A Sniper, Really?37 of 40
38. Never Give Up38 of 40
39. Is It A Race Thing?39 of 40
40. A Powerful Image40 of 40
Coffee Talk: Starbucks CEO Sparks An All-Too-Real Race Conversation was originally published on hellobeautiful.com