Celebrating Pride: Meet Dan Blaker, who shares the importance of celebrating Pride and how Starbucks can build an atmosphere of inclusion
At Starbucks, we value and support the Pride community – customers, partners, and allies alike. No matter your identity, no matter your background, we are better together. This Pride Month, Dan Blaker, chair of the EMEA Pride Network, shares his Starbucks journey, what Pride Heritage Month means to him, and the role of Starbucks EMEA Pride Network.
Dan (he/him) joined Starbucks as a barista back in 2007 while studying at University in Bath. Fast forward 15 years, minus a six-month career break where he went travelling, Dan progressed from barista to district manager and is now a Starbucks UK business manager. Dan adds, “I am also privileged to be the chair of our Pride Network here in EMEA, I have been part of the network for 18 months, since we first formed, and have held the chair role for the past six months.”
“The Pride Network began in the US around three decades ago. We now have four Pride Networks across the globe, and it was a privilege being able to help establish, develop and grow the network here in EMEA.”
"It is important for all our partners (employees) to have a voice, a space where they can learn, connect, share and truly be themselves. We also need to advocate for partners, amplify voices within the business for underrepresented groups, and influence support, driving change.”
“Our mission is to empower, support and celebrate the Starbucks LGBTQ+ community. We aim to do that by proudly cultivating an equitable, inclusive, and dynamic environment for LGBTQ+ partners, allies, and customers.”
This year’s theme for Pride Heritage Month is allyship. Allyship is essential for creating a culture of inclusion and acceptance.
For Dan, “Pride Heritage Month is a chance to celebrate how far we have come as a community, share stories, educate ourselves and others, and continue to raise awareness. I feel privileged to work for a company where I can be myself and inspire others to do the same. At Starbucks we are guided by our Mission and Values, challenging the status quo and doing everything we can to create a sense of belonging where everybody is welcome.”
Despite making progress, Dan believes that we still have a long way to go – suggesting that there are many challenges that the LGBTQ+ community faces every single day:
“It is essential we demonstrate solidarity, come together and show support wherever we can to underrepresented groups for everyone to truly feel included.”