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The Power List
Camille Hymes, regional vice president at Starbucks

Starbucks regional VP on connecting with employees and building inclusive teams

Camille Hymes talks about the coffee brand's 'virtual dialogue sessions.' Meet the innovative, inclusive and industry changing leaders of the 2021 NRN Power List.

Camille Hymes, regional vice president at Starbucks, was chosen for the Power List by Starbucks because she is “on the front lines of how we can be a better third place that welcomes everyone every day.” Here’s what else the company had to say:

Camille leads thousands of partners (employees) across hundreds of Starbucks stores in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. She leads with our Mission and Values at the center, by creating a culture of warmth and belonging and nurturing the human spirit of her partners, customers and community members. She is an active member in all of Starbucks Partner Networks (Employee Resource Groups) so she can continue listening and learning from the diverse life experiences each partner brings to Starbucks. Camille is on the front lines of how we can be a better third place that welcomes everyone every day.

Nation’s Restaurant News talked with Camille Hymes about making employees feel connected, supported and valued. Here’s what she had to say:

What are you most proud of in terms of company leadership and community impact as you look back at the challenges of 2020?

At Starbucks, we believe it’s is the responsibility of every business to care for its employees during this time of uncertainty.


Early in the pandemic, we emphasized that partners (employees) should not have to choose between coming to work and their personal well-being. So we paid partners until May 31, even if they chose to stay home. This included partners who had been diagnosed with or were exposed to COVID-19, those who needed to take extra precautions (such as those 60 years or older or who have underlying health conditions) or were worried about or feeling unsafe coming to work.

In addition to that, we have provided a new mental health benefit for all Starbucks partners in addition to helping with childcare through Care@Work program.

Over these last few months, I have been inspired by our partners and their ability to adapt.They make Starbucks resilient, and that encourages me that we can overcome any challenge we face.


What does leadership and impact mean to you? 

Every day, I join thousands of partners in the aspiration to create a place of belonging where all are welcome — in and outside the four walls of our stores. It is clear, now more than ever, that our communities need us and seek out their local Starbucks for that extra dose of care, comfort and human connection in their day.

Whether it is delivering coffee to front-line responders, partnering with a local nonprofit to put up temporary handwashing stations for vulnerable neighbors, or taking that extra minute to connect with a customer, our partners find creative ways to strengthen their communities.

How are you or your company fostering diverse and inclusive future leaders of foodservice?

We have a responsibility to build bridges and create environments where all are welcome. Our partners represent the diverse communities we serve, and it is important that we constantly listen and learn from our partners and seek ways to make sure they feel we are an inclusive, equitable and inspiring place to work.

We want our partners to feel connected to something bigger together. Our Partner Networks (Employee Resource Groups) have been instrumental to creating a connection with one another as they support how our partners identify themselves through their common experiences and aspirations.

Over the last few months, many Partner Networks shifted to virtual activities to continue promoting inclusion and diversity in our company. One activity I’ve seen go a long way is how Partner Networks have hosted virtual dialogue sessions focused on sharing partner experiences and needs. We’ve seen these activities reinforce the welcoming environment we want to create for our partners to feel seen and heard.

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