When Mandy Utton applied to Starbucks eight years ago while in high school, she didn’t realize she was starting a career.
Mandy quickly moved up from Barista to Shift Supervisor and then Assistant Store Manager. Today, she’s a Starbucks Store Manager, leading a busy location and a team of 13 partners (employees) in Toronto.
“At first, I thought Starbucks was just a cool coffee shop,” she says, “but working for Starbucks is unlike any other retail job in the world. I have never known any other company to go so far to make the customer happy.”
Winnipeg store manager, Stephanie Mitchell, joined Starbucks as a Shift Supervisor eleven years ago and has since explored a variety of roles, including a two-year stint as a Senior Training Specialist.
“I came from a background in hospitality and I really had to adapt my perception of what work could be,” she says. “Joining Starbucks was like being on a movie set for the perfect job.”
Together with their nearly 20 years of combined Starbucks experience, both Mandy and Stephanie are seen as valued leaders within the company and are happy to share their insights about long-term career growth at Starbucks.
Working at Starbucks
Starbucks store managers essentially run their own business.
“I am responsible for managing every aspect of the business from staffing, to inventory, to setting and achieving goals while maintaining a store environment that is welcoming to customers and partners alike,” says Mandy.
Of these responsibilities, Mandy’s favourite is working with people – something she gets to do a lot.
“My job isn’t 40 hours of paperwork in an office,” she says. “I absolutely love working with people and the people that I’ve had the pleasure of working for and with have been incredible!”
“The most important thing I’ve learned at Starbucks is how to lead. My job is managing a store, but it is leadership that inspires a team.”
– Mandy Utton, Store Manager
Being a store manager also involves looking at the big picture, growing not only the business but also developing great teams and supporting partner career development within the company.
Like Mandy, Stephanie loves motivating a team. “I love that my role involves seeing others succeed,” she says.
“I really am blessed to be able to lead an amazing team of people to achieve what we do every day.”
Starting with support
Baristas and managers are the face of Starbucks, so it is important that the partners feel they have the right tools, training and support when they join.
Stephanie was thrilled to discover that support on her very first day.
“I knew nothing about coffee on day 1, but Starbucks showed me that with the right attitude, enthusiasm, curiosity and initiative, I could be an expert in coffee,” she says. “I was blown away by their warm welcome, their detailed training plan and steps for success.”
As she moved into different roles, Stephanie found that support was ever-present. “Starbucks helps through constant professional development and leadership support with mentorship opportunities, job shadowing and internal interviews with fellow partners,” she says.
“When I was promoted to store manager, Starbucks ensured that I had the support I needed to lead a team to success, with training, observation, activities and presentations.”
Mandy adds that she’s always felt supported from above throughout her Starbucks career.
“Both my previous and current managers have been incredibly supportive in my professional development,” she says. “They have been inspiring, understanding and supportive and they have truly helped me grow, not just in the company, but as an individual.”
At Starbucks, support to learn and grow isn’t just there to help partners excel at their jobs – it’s also a key element in helping partners build their careers.
“Starbucks has a wonderful system of letting the learner drive their own path,” explains Stephanie. “To make sure that we reach our goals, we create action plans to ensure that we are leveraging our personal talent and doing the things we love to do.”
“Working with Starbucks allows me to be the best version of who I am and build a career while doing so.”
– Stephanie Mitchell, Store Manager
From her current position as Store Manager, Mandy says she can explore opportunities for coffee masters, district leads, manager trainers and more.
“What’s great about my current role in the company is the sheer opportunity for growth,” she says. “I can also work towards an eventual career at head office or further my retail career as a district manager. The roles within this company, both retail and non-retail, are endless.”
Your Starbucks career
With their own careers underway, Stephanie and Mandy know from first-hand experience that Starbucks is an employer with a lot to offer a student or recent grad.
“I think many recent grads are at a turning point in their lives,” says Mandy. “If you’re going to put years of your life into your career, why wouldn’t you do something you love doing every day?”
She knows that a career at Starbucks is a great fit for someone who is ready to work hard and enjoy the benefits.
“Starbucks is about quality in absolutely everything we do, which resonates with me because I always give 110%. We absolutely ask a lot of our partners, but we also give so much back, with benefits, growth opportunities and community involvement – and let’s not forget the free coffee!”
It’s a truly unique experience, adds Stephanie.
“If you love a fast-paced environment where human connection is key, quality is the baseline and passion is encouraged, then it’s time to redefine what ‘work’ has to be,” she says.
“Set yourself free to pursue a career that is rewarding, fun and gives back everything that you put into it.”