As executive vice president and president of Starbucks North America, Sara Trilling is responsible for driving operational excellence, and supporting more than 240,000 Starbucks partners (employees) who provide the Starbucks Experience in more than 18,000 stores, every day. During her two decades of service with Starbucks, she has touched nearly every aspect of the business, and demonstrated the best of the company’s Mission and Values as a leader who is committed to the experience of our Green Apron partners.
During her tenure with Starbucks, Sara’s leadership and commitment to human connection in our stores has led to positive growth in the numerous roles she’s held across the company. Most recently, Sara served as senior vice president and president of Starbucks Asia Pacific, driving Starbucks business and social impact priorities in collaboration with regional leaders – growing retail store count and digital offerings to meet unprecedented customer demand across the 14 markets in the region, while creating a positive impact for the communities we serve.
Sara came to Starbucks in 2002 in search of an entrepreneurial, purpose-driven company. She started in the Creative Studio to innovate the global retail store footprint before transitioning to the Store Development organization where she took on a leadership role for Global Design and Architecture during an incredible growth period for the company. In 2008, Sara was selected to serve as the Regional Vice President in Florida, where she was instrumental in increasing profitability and transforming Starbucks operations to profitable growth. She relocated to California where she served as the vice president and general manager, Evolution Fresh, from 2011-2013. While in the role, she led Evolution Fresh’s integration within the Starbucks brand, relaunched the brand and extended the brand nationally across premium grocery outlets.
In 2013, Sara returned to Seattle to lead and oversee 3,500 stores as senior vice president, North Division, where she simultaneously drove operational strategy and retail execution at scale. She then transitioned to senior vice president, Operations Service – Global and Americas where her leadership and oversight drove a simplified operational strategy to strengthen our partner connection with customers, each other and the company. Previously, she has led the Food Category and Innovation team as senior vice president, responsible for driving the U.S. Food Category, as well as building the future growth of the platform.
Sara’s career began in the design world where she managed a variety of accounts and projects for a woman-owned business and gained experience in human resources. Early on in her career, she learned the key to a good leader is asking good questions and uncovering the answers. This approach has led her to where she is today, leading teams to innovate and elevate their best work to the company.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in religious studies, with a minor in ethnic studies, from the University of Oregon. Her favorite Starbucks beverage is a short, dark roast brewed coffee.