Michelle Burns is executive vice president of Global Coffee, Social Impact & Sustainability for Starbucks Coffee Company. In her role, Michelle drives the company’s strategy to support a thriving business powered by thriving people for a thriving planet and communities, always with coffee at our core.
She leads a global team of industry experts responsible for sourcing, developing and roasting coffee; advancing coffee R&D and innovative farming practices; developing and executing programs, initiatives and partnerships to support Starbucks people and planet positive goals through the lens of farmers and coffee, tea and cocoa communities; and driving partner and customer engagement, education and experiences to bring coffee storytelling to life – all with the aspiration of ensuring a sustainable future of coffee for all.
Michelle has been a Starbucks partner since 1995, with much of her career focused on business development and relationship management, driving strategic retail relationships across numerous segments through licensing and foodservice channels. She previously led the Branded Solutions team and has been a key member of the Starbucks Channel Development and Licensed Stores leadership teams.
Contributing more broadly to Starbucks culture, she is the executive sponsor for Starbucks’ Indigenous Partner Network and serves on the board of The Starbucks Foundation. Outside of the company, Michelle is a member of the Women’s Foodservice Forum and serves on the Board of Directors for FareStart and the National Coffee Association.
Prior to joining Starbucks, Michelle worked in sales and distribution in the Natural Foods Industry where she first found her passion for coffee. After an expedition to the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard Norway in 2018 and her many conversations with farmers around the world over the course of her career, that passion has grown to include a desire and sense of responsibility to care for the future of our food supply and the many people who grow it.
Michelle has a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from The University of Iowa. Following a great Starbucks journey living in many cities across the country, Michelle, her husband and two children enjoy calling Seattle home. She starts every day in a Starbucks store.