Rosalind Brewer, Starbucks COO and Group President .

One must wonder if becoming the Chief Operating Officer of one of the largest corporations in the world was always in the back of Rosalind Brewer’s mind; it’s right there in her name. In fact, Brewer might have some of the most impressive credentials in modern American business.

After working at Kimberly-Clark for 22 years she eventually found herself at Walmart Stores Inc. in 2006. In 2012, she became CEO and President of Sam’s Club before eventually settling into her current position as COO and Group President at Starbucks Corporation in late 2017 (she was also recently named to the board of directors at Inc.).

Brewer was both the first African American and the first woman to head a Walmart division when she was at the helm of Sam’s Club, yet she’s never been one to rest on her laurels. She came to Starbucks during a tumultuous time for the business. The company had been facing protests following the arrest of two African American men at a Philadelphia location and it was time for a change. Starbucks enacted racial bias training and policy changes for employees at more than 8,000 stores in response to this.


The ability to be forward-thinking is paramount in the restaurant world and here is another area that Brewer succeeds in spades. She has spearheaded a number of sustainability initiatives including the introduction of a reusable version of their holiday cup. In a time where consumers are becoming more conscious of sustainability, Starbucks needs to be an innovator in the space given their platform and Brewer is pushing for this to ring true.

The company has also revamped its rewards program to great success. Starbucks stated that membership for the program is up 15% when compared to 2018 and has gained 1.5 million new users in 2019 alone. All of these initiatives stem back to Brewer never settling and always pushing forward towards the next mountaintop.

The way in which Brewer is continuing to push the envelope by no means ends there. After the success of the ‘Starbucks Now’ stores in China, the company is working on bringing a similar concept to the states. ‘Starbucks Pickup’ caters solely to consumers who order drinks via the company’s mobile app. The success of these concepts illustrates how consumer demands are changing; time is the most precious commodity we have and by streamlining service, a cultural shift is taking place where companies are changing the way they think about the customer experience. Brewer herself pointed out that the more the company is able to learn about its customers, the better they can serve them from an operational standpoint.

Something new is always brewing at Starbucks under Rosalind Brewer’s watchful eye. Constantly innovating and constantly striving to improve the customer experience when being the best still isn’t good enough. This is Brewer’s motivation; never letting her best escape her. Despite her impressive credentials and all she has accomplished already, one must recall that this is only her second year at Starbucks. One can only imagine what headlining innovation she’ll come up with next as we move forward towards a new year.

This year, Rosalind Brewer was named as one of the top 50 women in Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2019 Power List.

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