Sara Kelly is executive vice president and chief partner officer for Starbucks. In her role, Sara is responsible for helping partners realize their career potential and building global partner capability to enable growth and help deliver the company’s strategic plan.
Sara first joined the company in 2001 as a Partner Resources coordinator in California and continued to follow her interest in Partner Resources by becoming a business partner, supporting multiple business units within the enterprise, and deepening her business acumen. Regardless of her role, Sara has always strived to ensure that all partners who wear the green apron around the globe have the support to develop, lead, and grow at Starbucks. She believes in leading by example, embracing vulnerability as a partner and especially as a leader, and finding the meaning in every moment.
Prior to her current role, Sara was senior vice president, Talent & Partner Experience, where she was responsible for advancing Starbucks talent and organizational leadership agenda and was focused on amplifying the strategic work being led by the talent acquisition, talent management, partner experience, learning and development, and organization and leadership effectiveness teams.
Before leading Talent & Partner Experience, Sara led the organizational leadership and effectiveness team, where she was instrumental in Starbucks enterprise change management journey through the COVID pandemic, and she continues to lead the partner and leader experience as Starbucks transitions to a first-time hybrid workforce. With greater flexibility in mind, through the work of Sara and her team, Starbucks is committed to connecting all partners to our unique culture and creating a hybrid workplace that enables every partner to deliver their best work in support of retail partners and customers.
Before returning to Seattle in 2019, Sara lived in Hong Kong for four years, where she served as vice president of Partner (Human) Resources for the Asia Pacific Region. While in Hong Kong, Sara committed much of her time to advancing women’s equality for female partners across the Asia Pacific markets. Upon her return to Seattle, Sara was eager to continue her focus around women’s equality and quickly became an executive champion of Starbucks Women’s Impact Network, a partner network that focuses on igniting the power of women through partners, allies, and community. Through her sponsorship, Sara hopes to continue her commitment to inclusion and diversity by helping remove workplace barriers to promote equality and creating opportunity for career advancement and development.
Sara is originally from Southern California and graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, with a B.S. in business administration and an emphasis in human resources. Sara and her husband live with their three children and puppy in Seattle. Sara’s go-to Starbucks beverage is a venti English Breakfast Tea Latte with nonfat milk, no foam, and two pumps of classic syrup, but she also enjoys a coffee press of Caffè Verona every morning at home.