Video: A Starbucks Partner’s Personal Story of Courage and Leadership

As 2,100 Starbucks district managers from around the world gather in Seattle for the Starbucks Leadership Experience 2014, they are hearing powerful messages from the company’s senior leaders about how to create an inspiring culture and successfully grow their stores and their teams.

They're also hear personal stories from fellow partners (employees), who share lessons from their own leadership journeys. Anita Kinchen, store manager of Starbucks store in Houston’s East End neighborhood, shared her experience of finding her passion after moving to America from Mexico City.

“I came to the United States with two kids and zero English. I couldn’t speak a word – couldn’t say hello and couldn’t say my name,” Kinchen said.

After two years of working odd jobs and struggling with the language, Kinchen enrolled in a course to learn English through the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA), a nonprofit organization that encourages young Latinos to finish their education and prepares them to be successful in the workplace.

After completing her course, “My life changed completely,” she said. “I could move forward instead of staying in one place. I could hope to get a better life for my kids and myself.”

Once a customer at Starbucks, Kinchen became a partner at her neighborhood store.

“I started at Starbucks as a shift supervisor, three months later I got promoted, and three months later I got my own store,” she said. “I think my speed of growing up in the company has been because of my passion.”

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New global microblends reflect the unique spirit of six Starbucks Reserve Roasteries