Starbucks honours Women’s History Month

For Women’s Heritage Month this March, we have been celebrating women who are redefining leadership and stepping up in new ways. Here, we meet a few of our Starbucks EMEA partners.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, your career, your role in the business and how long you've been a Starbucks partner?

A: I’m married and mother to two beautiful kids, Angela & Karim. Born in 1987 and raised in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, I graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s in interior design from New York Institute of Technology. After I graduated, I worked as a designer for several years before changing careers and working as a business developer, before moving into sales and marketing for corporate interior projects, and then into district management. I’ve been a Starbucks partner for the past year and am passionate about women in leadership roles. As well as aspiring to be successful in my own career, I also aim to encourage, inspire, and chart the path for more women to achieve success, and increase diversity in the workplace.

Q: Why is International Women’s Day/ Women’s Heritage Month an important moment to mark for you?

A: International Women’s Day is an important day to celebrate smart, powerful women. It’s a chance to celebrate all the achievements of females, especially in Saudi Arabia with all the drastic changes we have had over the past few years. Saudi has taken action to accelerate gender parity by allowing women to work in almost all sectors, giving them leadership roles, and enabling them to drive, travel, and work without the consent of their father/husband to increase women’s independence and map the road to equality.

Q: What advice would you give your teenage self?  

A: Believe in yourself, everything and anything is possible - the sky is your limit. And, one that I always try remember when times get tough:

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself, your career, your role in the business and how long you've been a Starbucks partner?

A: I grew up in Chicago where my deep love for Starbucks began when I turned 15, when I could leave campus at lunchtime to get my daily grande mocha. Fast forward 27 years and I'm now an evangelically proud Green Apron Coffee Master and 2.5 year partner at the London office looking after sourcing for the UK. Without my team our stores wouldn’t have food, milk, or wooden cutlery for a start! At 17 I left home to start a meandering route to London, by way of Honolulu, Las Vegas, New York, and Edinburgh. In 2012 I moved to Amsterdam where I met a Dutch man and quickly locked it down – we had three children in three years, and in 2019 I returned triumphantly with all of them to London. I'm now raising my children as Dutch as possible - sprinkles on bread for breakfast and self-assured.

Q: Why is International Women’s Day/ Women’s Heritage Month an important moment to mark for you?

A: Seeing the evolution of awareness of women's experiences over the last few years, in particular the Me Too movement, has opened my eyes to the banal misogyny I grew up with in the 80s and 90s. We have come remarkably far in a short period of time to call out our experiences. Women's History Month and International Women's Day are opportunities to reflect on this, but more importantly bolster our nerve to talk. What I’ve learned in the last few years, in my 40s, is that there is no place for embarrassment, shame, or secrecy. 

Q: Data demonstrates that COVID 19 has had a significant impact on many women’s careers. How has the pandemic impacted you, and what advice would you give to help mitigate long term impacts of the pandemic for all women at Starbucks?  

A: I don't know any parents, women in particular, who have not had a hellscape of a year. For me, and others around me, there was immense pressure to hold it together for our families and our partners, and to protect my enormous privilege of employment. Women will be feeling negative economic impacts of the pandemic for years to come. But I try to remember that we are the lucky ones. In the moments you come up for air, give support to anyone you can reach, in whatever capacity you have.

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself, your career, your role in the business and how long you've been a Starbucks partner?

A: My journey with the Starbucks brand starter almost nine years ago when I joined 23.5 Degrees, working up to my current role as Regional Director. My job involves communicating a compelling vision to my team to grow and develop our business, and effectively deliver the Starbucks Experience for our customers and partners. Leading a team of local managers, it’s important that I inspire and engage my team while helping execute a seamless regional operation with minimal disruption.

Q: Why is International Women’s Day/Women’s Heritage Month an important moment to mark for you?

A: Women's Heritage Month is an essential moment to mark because it is a testimony to all women. For me, it’s important to remember those who went before us and challenged the status quo, surpassing tradition to strive for more with the belief and courage to reject conventional notions about the place of women in society, and instead having a vision of a diverse society where one and all’s contributions are celebrated and recognised equally.  

Q: What advice would you give your teenage self? 

A: Believe in myself and to be vocal. You won’t remember the good and positive things people say but you will remember how they made you feel. And also, to embrace your mistakes, and use them to thrive.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, your career, your role in the business and how long you've been a Starbucks partner?

A: I’m Roshnee, I live in London, and my highlight of 2020 was getting engaged!

I started my Starbucks journey in 2019 as a Beverages Product Developer in the Research & Development team and I’ve loved every minute of it so far.

Good food is more than just a passion for me – it’s an obsession. I’m always going over new flavour combinations in my mind and contemplating new techniques to experiment with in the kitchen – that rush when it all comes to fruition for my next meal is second to none.

I have a background in Chemistry as well as a Masters in Nutrition, so working to develop innovative and (more importantly) tasty food and beverages is a dream.

Q: Why have you joined WIN and what excites you most about the activities the group have planned?

A: University was a real eye-opener for me, as I was one of only ten female students out of 200 in my Chemistry BSc – a male dominance that’s sadly common amongst all the science, technology, engineering, and mathematical degrees (STEM).

Not only is there is a severe lack of women entering these fields, but for the women who do, they must navigate often exclusionary and inflexible male-dominated cultures to succeed, meaning women in leadership roles within the STEM industry are scarce. It really is a cycle we need to break!

Therefore, I was quick to join the Women's Impact Network as I think we need to recognise that there is still important work to be done when it comes to gender equality, particularly within the STEM industries. Ignoring the historic issue of gender inequality won’t remove the glass ceiling – we must address the invisible barriers to improve our future.

I’m already so proud of all that the Women’s Impact Network has so far, and as we continue to find new ways to support and educate, I hope we can show that we’re not a “women’s only club”, and that we’d love to see allyship from all partners.

Q: What advice would you give your teenage self?

A: Relax, and don't be so hard on yourself! Worrying too much about the future takes away the energy you need to enjoy your life right now, and those teenage years go by so quickly. Every mistake you make has led you to where you are today – learn from them and become stronger!

I heard someone say, "if something looks completely impossible, it's probably everything you should be doing. So don't say no too quickly". Be courageous, try it, ask the question! You're so much more capable than you think, so trust your gut and listen to your instinct.