As senior vice president and president of Starbucks Asia Pacific, Sara Trilling is responsible for our store operations and cross-functional support across the 14 markets in the region. Her exceptional leadership is helping to achieve operational excellence, elevate the partner and customer experience and lead diverse, growth-oriented teams.
For the past 16 years, Sara’s commitment to the Starbucks culture and the human connection in our stores has led to positive growth in the numerous roles she’s held across the company. Most recently, Sara 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. Under her leadership, Starbucks expanded breakfast offerings, defined and launched an enhanced lunch program, and built food capabilities across the organization.
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. After supporting the function’s transition to the Store Development organization, 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 and culture, relaunched the brand, developed the Natural channel 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. Her leadership and oversight of Global Operations Services, including the Customer Contact Center and Safety and Security, drove a simplified operational strategy to strengthen our partner connection with customers, each other and the company.
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.
Sara will be relocating to Hong Kong this summer with her husband and daughter. Her favorite Starbucks beverage is a short, dark roast brewed coffee.