Taking advice from his grandmother, Mychal Brown altered his coffee ritual and began drinking green tea instead. Little did he know that his exposure to tea would serve him well later in life.
“I’m a basketball player, so I used to drink coffee to give me energy on the court,” said Brown, a partner (employee) at Teavana. “My grandmother convinced me to try green tea because of the antioxidants it’s known to provide.”
In October 2015, Brown attended the Opportunity Youth Fair and Forum in Phoenix, Arizona and landed his job with Teavana. The event was hosted by the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, a coalition of leading U.S.-based companies committed to hiring at least 100,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not in school and not working – often referred to as opportunity youth – by 2018. The next job fair and forum will take place on February 11 at the Los Angeles Convention Center with more than 4,000 young people expected to attend.
“I went to the fair to practice my speaking skills,” said Brown. “I had no idea that a company would actually hire me on the spot.”
Brown learned about the event from his teachers at Year Up, an organization that provides urban young adults with skills and experience in hopes of leading them to higher education and professional careers. Brown joined the program after he stopped taking classes at a local community college and was in between jobs.
“I was looking around the fair when the Teavana booth caught my eye,” he said. “I saw a guy in a nice collared shirt and apron, so I decided to go talk to him and find out what this company was all about.”
Brown hit it off with the partners at the Teavana booth, including area manager Michael Taylor. “Right from the start, Mychal had great energy, enthusiasm and positivity,” said Taylor. “He truly wants to succeed. He starts each shift determined to be more productive than the shift before. We are delighted to have him as part of our team at Teavana.”
“I was so excited to get the job and learn even more about tea,” Brown added. “It’s hard to believe that a simple conversation led to a job. I was just being myself and they liked me for being me. It was pretty neat.”
At Teavana, Brown greets customers, answers questions and serves tea at the company’s store in the Chandler Fashion Center in Arizona. “I throw out a smile and stick my arm out with a tray of tea. I’m 6-foot-5, so I have long arms that can reach a lot of customers,” he joked.
For Brown, the best part of the job is when his customers are satisfied.
“It feels great when a customer returns to the store and asks for me,” said Brown. “That’s when I know I’m doing a really good job.”
Just two months into his role at Teavana, Brown is taking advantage of Starbucks College Achievement Plan, a program the company developed in partnership with Arizona State University to provide full tuition coverage to eligible partners at both Starbucks and Teavana. He plans to start classes in March and pursue a degree in nutrition, healthy living and wellness with a minor in psychology.
“In about three or four years, I hope to be playing ball overseas or training athletes around the world,” Brown said. “And I’ll have green tea with me wherever I go.”
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