Two-year-old Killian slowly spun a globe in his bedroom. With his mom’s finger on the spot where they lived, he looked for the place on the map where his dad was after flying “up, up and away” in a plane.
Jeff Haggard, a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant, was half a world away. He missed many nights of tucking his son into bed, and he wasn’t there for the birth of his second child, Regan.
“He was training at Camp Lejeune at the time. We had to FaceTime him into the delivery room, with the sound muted of course,” said Jeff’s wife, Erin. “This kind of thing happens all of the time to military spouses. I’m lucky I had support from my family and my team at Starbucks.”
Erin Haggard didn’t imagine when she first put on a green apron to become a Starbucks barista 10 years ago that the job would lead to a fulfilling career with the company, and she didn’t know her fellow Starbucks partners (employees) would become a second family.
Starbucks initiative to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2018 is underway and Haggard is among the many who appreciate the attention being given to spouses. While many have a built-in support system because they are near a military base, Haggard says she lived “100 percent in a civilian world” when her husband was in the reserves.
“I would have felt isolated, but Starbucks partners were a large part of my support system during that time,” said Haggard.
After starting as a barista, Haggard was promoted to store manager, then a district manager for Starbucks. Now she’s a senior operations consultant manager, working in the company headquarters in Seattle. Haggard sees several areas within Starbucks that are a “perfect fit” for former members of the military - especially in Global Safety and Security, Operations, and Store Development.
“I see people in the military having to build trusting relationships with their peers and leaders. Everything at Starbucks depends on relationships, so those skills are needed,” she said. “There are ways that Starbucks has the structure military veterans understand and appreciate, and there are things our company can learn from vets.”
Hiring is just a first step for veterans and spouses within Starbucks.
“Veterans come to us with a sense of community and service for one another that adds tremendous value to Starbucks,” said John Kelly, senior vice president, Global Responsibility and Public Policy. “We want to make sure that we are providing long-term, meaningful work for veterans and spouses for many years to come.”
As part of the hiring initiative, Starbucks launched Roll Call. Partners are invited to identify their connection with the military. Of the thousands who have responded so far, here are a few comments from military spouses:
My husband and high school sweetheart, Kenny, is a U.S. Marine currently deployed to Afghanistan. We’ve been together for four years and married for one. I can’t wait until he comes home so he can meet my family of partners at my store. They have been such a huge support system. I don’t know what I’d do without them. Loriann Thompson
I am a Navy wife. My Starbucks store and community have helped me send lots of coffee overseas to my husband and his fellow Navy guys, and when my husband gets home he loves going to the store to thank everyone. I’m so glad to be working with a company that makes me feel safe in the fat that there is always family there if I need it. Julia Bovee
As the wife of an Airman, I’ve never been more proud of my husband and his commitment to defending his country. But I’ve also never been more anxious and worried that he wouldn’t return home safely. It is not easy being the spouse of a military member. Kristin McGinnis
I was a Marine wife for four years when we were stationed in Twentynine Palms, California. It was very hard to find a job there. I felt like some employers didn’t want to hire military wives because they thought we would just get relocated. At one point I felt hopeless until Starbucks posted that they will be hiring military spouses as well. Now I am so happy and thankful to work for Starbucks. Abigail Valderama
I moved to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to be with my husband. I decided to get a job so I wouldn’t be alone at the house so much. It was the greatest decision I’ve ever made. I love our Starbucks family and I love how Starbucks is hiring military spouses. Sophia Carr
I am a proud Starbucks partner and my wife is a Tennessee Army National Guard Supply Sergeant. She has bravely served four tours overseas in Afghanistan, Turkey, and Iraq. I came to work for Starbucks almost two years ago and the support we’ve received from my fellow partners and customers has been overwhelming. Every day I see veterans, people who are active duty, and family members. We support and encourage each other every way we can. Any time someone in uniform comes in, our partners go out of their way to thank them for their service. It really means a lot. Erin Smith
As a military spouse, I have been able to pursue my career dreams while moving around the country with my husband. We’ve lived in four different states and I’ve worked in eight different Starbucks stores in five years. I cannot think of another company that I would enable me to do this. Margaret Mills
I have been a military spouse for over ten years. I really appreciate knowing that I work for a company that will allow me to relocate when my husband receives new orders. This eliminates the added stress of having to worry about finding a new job. Rachel Howard
Starbucks has allowed me to transfer and grow with my husband as we change locations. It’s been an amazing experience and each new store is very welcoming and accommodating. It’s nice to have such a wonderful Starbucks family. Jayme Gleason
To learn more about job opportunities visit starbucks.com/veterans
For more information on this story, contact the Starbucks Newsroom