International Women’s Day at Starbucks

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, Starbucks shines a light on women across the business; from rising stars just starting out their careers, to category leaders from across the EMEA region.

We have asked them to describe the experiences they’ve had as women in the retail industry, how they have been supported and the challenges they have faced, as well as what International Women’s Day means to them.

Carol Muldoon, vice president, partner resources, EMEA

Carol has been at Starbucks for six years. Her role involves supporting partners across the EMEA region, including looking after our partners (employees) speaking multiple languages, living in various legislative statuses and working within different cultures across 43 countries.

Q. When and where did you start your career in retail?

A. My retail career began 30 years ago, where I started working at Sainsbury’s before joining Starbucks.

Q. What does International Women's Day mean to you?

A. It is a chance to celebrate the success of women across every level of our business and recognise the balance between work and home life, with or without children, which women with a professional career have to maintain.

Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received when it comes to your career?

A. The advice that stands out to me is to love what you do. This resonates with me because when people don’t love what they do it really shows.

Jane Gibbon, director, Total Rewards EMEA

Jane has been at Starbucks for just over a year, looking after Total Rewards and partner’s inclusion and wellness. Her role sees her responsible for looking at our partner’s journey from first starting, helping them to reach their potential and having the right rewards solutions to support them.

Q.  When and where did you start your career in retail?

A. My career began in the technology sector at AOL. I then worked McDonald’s for almost a decade. Retail is a great place to be an HR leader because you can have an impact on so many people’s lives, and really help younger employees to learn key life skills that will stay with them, but also to love and understand our brand.

Q.  What does International Women's Day mean to you?

A. It’s a chance for us to reflect and celebrate the achievements  of women throughout history but it is also a chance to look forward and make sure that our workplace today is better than what women have faced in the past. Starbucks is a brilliant organisation for women, with fabulous values that are lived day to day in the organisation, giving us an opportunity to be a role model for others. International Women’s Day inspires me to leave a legacy for young women of the future.

Q.  What advice would you give to the Next Generation of women wanting to start a career in retail?

A. I would advise people not to think of their career as a ladder, but more as a climbing frame. Sometimes it can be just as important to move sideways as it is to move upwards, because sometimes you need to have horizontal exposure as much as progression. Your next role doesn’t always have to be promotion.

Karen Fenwick, director, Licensed Retail, EMEA

Karen has been at Starbucks for 16 years. She supports geographic licensees across the EMEA region, looking after store growth, helping to improve store performance and promoting company culture across the region.

Q. When and where did you start your career in retail?

A. I worked at British Home Stores as a Retail Manager in 1991, after graduating from university. I then worked at City Centre Restaurants, followed by Pizza Hut, before joining Starbucks.

Q. What does International Women's Day mean to you?

A. The day offers us a chance to celebrate diversity through the achievements of women and I see Starbucks as a real metaphor for that. Diversity is a real strength of ours right across our business, which is definitely something to celebrate.

Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received when it comes to your career?

A. A piece of advice that has really stuck with me is to only do something as long as it makes as you happy.

Q. What advice would you give to the Next Generation of women wanting to start a career in retail? 

A. What makes you different makes you stronger. Standing out is a positive thing, and my advice is that you should embrace your differences and use them as a strength your career.

Jaz Rabadia MBE, senior manager of Energy & Initiatives

Jaz has been at Starbucks for three years and is currently enjoying her maternity leave. Day-to-day she is responsible for reducing the electricity used across our stores and improving the environmental impact of Starbucks operations in the UK, including implementing energy saving and recycling opportunities with baristas, store managers and  leadership team alike.

Q. When and where did you start your career in retail?

A. My love for retail began with my first job as a checkout assistant for Sainsbury’s, where I worked part time whilst studying for my Mechanical Engineering degree at City University. The head of energy was so impressed with a project I carried out as part of my degree that he offered me a full-time position in the energy team as soon as I graduated. I’ve now been working in energy and sustainability roles for various retailers over the last 10 years and I have loved every minute of it.

Q. What does International Women's Day mean to you?

A. International Women’s Day is not only a celebration of the significant contribution and achievements of women across the world, but also a time for reflection on just how much more needs to be done to reach a state of gender equality. As the only female on my engineering course, I left university with a passion to raise the awareness of engineering careers amongst young women and, with just 9% of engineers in the UK being female, there is much more to do.

Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received when it comes to your career?

A. A piece of advice that I often refer to is‘Confidence grows as you ask questions. Be inquisitive and be hungry for knowledge, there really is no such thing as a silly question. But, you may feel silly for NOT asking’. Throughout my career, my confidence has come from the questions I have asked, not the questions I have answered.

Zara Guiste, category manager, retail lobby, EMEA,

Zara has been at Starbucks for two years and looks after gift merchandising and coffee packaging, which involves analysing current products and looking ahead to future seasonal campaigns. 

Q. What does International Women's Day mean to you?

A. I see it as a day to celebrate women of all nationalities and backgrounds, and to be proud of women’s achievements everywhere and to recognise their success.

Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received when it comes to your career?

A. The best advice I’ve received is to focus on where you want to be in your personal life and pave a career to get you there. I was motivated by the opportunity to travel and so went into stock buying to give me the opportunity to do so.

Q. What advice would you give to the Next Generation of women wanting to start a career in retail?

A. I would encourage young women to have broad experiences in their early stages of their career. Being too focused too early on can narrow your opportunities, so keep your options open as much as possible. If you have more diverse professional experience from a young age then you will have more doors open to you as you progress in you career.

Courtney Daniels, IT apprentice

Courtney started on the Starbucks apprenticeship programme almost two years ago. Today, she is responsible for everything with a plug that is not in a store!

Q. When and where did you start your career in retail?

A. I started my apprenticeship at 16 so this is my first role. I considered A-level courses but the idea of going to university wasn’t for me. As an apprentice, I am able to gain qualifications and earn as I learn, and the trust and opportunity that Starbucks has given me has helped me enormously to take this first step of my career.

Q. What does International Women's Day mean to you?

A. As I work in technology, I’m proud to be a representative of women in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) sector, and I see International Women’s Day as an opportunity to reflect on this.

Q. What advice would you give to the Next Generation of women wanting to start a career in retail?

A. The key thing is quite simply to be yourself; it’s important to not let anyone get you down and to focus on what you are good at. It’s also important to be hungry for opportunity and take chances when you are presented with them.