Seattle’s Most Influential People 2018: Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson

Under his leadership, Starbucks has partnered with Mary’s Place, a shelter for homeless women, children and families, in the No Child Sleeps Outside campaign
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 
He did the right thing: Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, photographed at Starbucks HQ

This article appears in print in the November 2018 issue, as part of the Most Influential People of the Year feature. Click here to subscribe.

In the year since he became CEO of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson has demonstrated that some corporations can do the right thing. Earlier this year, when two black men waiting for a business partner in one of Starbucks’ Philadelphia locations were arrested for “trespassing,” Johnson’s response was swift: He flew to Philadelphia to offer a sincere apology and personal mentorship to the men, told them Starbucks would pay for them to complete their college degrees and announced a plan of action that included shutting down the coffee chain nationwide for an afternoon of employee racial bias training in May. And then there is Johnson’s local commitment to our city’s most visible problem, homelessness.

Under his leadership, Starbucks has partnered with Mary’s Place, a shelter for homeless women, children and families, in the No Child Sleeps Outside campaign, contributing $2.5 million so far; partnered with Pearl Jam this summer to raise funds for unsheltered families; and earlier this year, gathered 50 business leaders, government officials, service providers and families at Starbucks’ headquarters to discuss how the county can better reach homeless families. All told, Johnson is showing us his progressive vision for leading one of Seattle’s most iconic companies forward. 

Related Content

Meet this year’s class of our Most Influential People: 35 Seattleites who are altering the fabric of our city

As a reporter on the aerospace beat, Gates extensively covers the Boeing 737 MAX crisis

From climate change to police accountability, these four public officials are bring important issues to the spotlight

Spade's company will be doing the composting work once the Washington state human composting law goes into effect in May 2020