“The LGBTQ+ family is big and diverse, and I feel the responsibility to make sure we are allowing everyone’s voices to come forward and be heard”

Euan James

Tell us a bit about yourself, your career, role in the business and how long you have been a partner?

I grew up on the west coast of Scotland, in a small(ish) town called Troon, which is famous for golf and it’s ‘Wee Hurrie’ fish & chip shop – check it out if you ever get the chance to visit. I was never that into golf, so I left when I was 18 and moved to Glasgow which is only 25 miles ‘up the road’ to go to uni. I spent the next eight years studying, working, partying a little and coming out a lot.  My first experience of Starbucks was going on study dates there, or meeting for actual dates at the Borders store in the city centre. I didn’t drink coffee then and I never imagined that one day I would work here. I moved to London in 2010 to work for the Olympic organising committee, which was a dream job - Starbucks is the only one that has come close since.  I became a partner in 2018 and I proudly lead talent acquisition for our EMEA market. I love being part of such a supportive people team where inclusion is so central to what we do and as we grow, I am excited about what comes next. I am also really lucky to live with my wonderfully supportive partner, Aaron, and our five-year-old pug, Papi, who keeps us both in check!

As the chair of the Starbucks EMEA Pride Network, please can you tell us a little more about it.

Being the chair of the Pride Network is such a privilege, and slightly daunting.  We were established in EMEA in August 2020, and we are shaping all that we do with inclusion right at the centre of it.  The LGBTQ+ family is big and diverse, and I feel the responsibility to make sure we are allowing everyone’s voices to come forward and be heard or be amplified regardless. I work with a dedicated group of members on our committee, we meet every two weeks and we are who we are today because of them.  We have celebrated Trans Awareness Week, hosted external guests discussing topics such as gender identity and lesbian visibility and I am really proud of our first Pride Heritage Month events schedule being delivered this June. I can’t wait to get planning for next year’s events already.

What does Pride Heritage Month mean to you, and why is it important to celebrate the landmark?

When I was growing up, Pride to me meant a big carnival celebration to have fun. While I'm still having fun these days, I am much more connected to the importance of why we celebrate in June now and feel that we have work to do to ensure that everyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ has a place to be recognised and uplifted within our Pride celebrations. There are still some fights to be fought in our community and our network will continue to raise these discussions and issues, Heritage Month is a great platform by which to do so.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

I came out when I was 21, so I would definitely need to give myself a BIG pep talk. I would encourage myself to be ok with not being like everyone else, to not supress my true feelings and own my journey.