A message from Laks: A community we call Starbucks

No one can solve the difficult problems the world is facing alone, but we can provide a place for people to come together, connect, find common ground and feel like they belong — we call it the third place. 

Dear Partners,

I am very grateful for all that you accomplished this past year, my first full year at Starbucks. I thank you for all you taught me when I worked in our stores, farms, support centers and supply chain. I am thrilled that the executive leadership team and I ended the year by earning our black aprons and deepening our coffee knowledge. It was a proud moment for us all.

While I am grateful for so much, I am concerned about the state of the world we live in. There are conflicts in many parts. It has unleashed violence against the innocent, hate and weaponized speech, and lies — all of which we condemn. Cities around the world – including here in North America - have seen escalating protests. Many of our stores have experienced incidents of vandalism. We see protestors influenced by misrepresentation on social media of what we stand for. We have worked with local authorities to ensure our partners and customers are safe. Nothing is more important. Our stance is clear. We stand for humanity.

In these times and always, I am inspired by you. You are special. You care. You give. You give as partners to other partners. You give to customers. You give to farmers. You care about the environment. You give to the communities you serve. And because you are givers, you create a community of givers — a community that contributes positively around the world. A community we call Starbucks. 

Our goal next year is to further reinvigorate our partner culture. We do a lot, but we are not perfect. It is time to restitch the fabric of the green apron for all partners. It is during times of conflict and pain when it is most important to come together. I am realistic that it will take time. But I know it will happen.

No one can solve the many difficult problems in the world alone, but at Starbucks we can provide people with places to come together, to connect, to find common ground, to feel they belong and to bring a little joy. All around the world, we call it the third place.

In my daily meditation, I pray for peace — immediately. The executive team and I are privileged to serve you as leaders, and I wish you all peace and love in the New Year. Let us together build the bridge to a better future.