By Mary Saunoris / Starbucks Canada
Editor’s note: On World Refugee Day, as Starbucks announces its commitment to hiring 2,500 refugees in Europe, we are highlighting stories about refugees around the world and their journeys to find new homelands.
TORONTO, Canada – When store manager Dan Ardona heard in March that Starbucks Canada was committed to hiring at least 1,000 refugees over the next five years, he immediately felt a personal responsibility to play a role in making the commitment a reality.
“The commitment Starbucks made is something that’s very near and dear to my heart. I was an immigrant coming to Canada way back when,” said Ardona, who is originally from the Philippines. “I know what an opportunity to be a part of a company like Starbucks is worth, and it’s priceless.”
In May, Starbucks Canada in partnership with ACCES, a resettlement agency in Toronto, hosted their first event, at which Starbucks partners met with 30 people who came to Canada as refugees from around the world, some as recently as four months ago. The partners shared what it’s like to work for a company like Starbucks. Ardona talked about what it means to be a Starbucks partner and what they can expect if they do work at a store.
As a five-year Starbucks partner, Ardona has hired and helped develop nearly 100 partners. Now, his focus is on hiring refugees. He met his newest hire at the introductory event – an outgoing, coffee aficionado who arrived in Canada five months ago from Syria.
“It was an honor to meet so many incredible candidates and to be in the position where we can offer them an opportunity to make life better for them here in Canada, to be a part of their journey. Their passion for what we do and interest in being a part of Starbucks was really inspiring,” he said.
Ardona also called out what the new partners mean to Starbucks.
“Speaking as someone who lives and works in Canada, we’re such a diverse country that a lot of our partners and customers are from all different backgrounds,” he said. “To have a store full of partners who have had different experiences and can lend unique skills is key to us creating an even more welcoming third place for everyone.”