Starbucks understands representation does matter and as part of their two-part holiday series, they are highlighting two women who are breaking the mold, not only in their careers but in their communities as well.
Meet Mercedes, Sr. Sourcing Specialist for Starbucks. Like the rest of us, she cherishes the Holiday season and like us, she’s done so since she was a kid. A native of Seattle, she grew up with a Starbucks store in her backyard, which is why for her, community means everything.
Community Means Everything
Even with a busy schedule, Mercedes manages to find time to spend with the residents of a retirement home in her neighborhood. There, you will find her playing cards and engaging in fun conversation with the residents. However, her commitment to community doesn’t stop there. Mercedes is also a huge supporter of Black owned businesses that are coming back to her area. These include The Liink Project, an art gallery and a resource for artists and entrepreneurs. During the holiday season, they hold a market called The Liink to support local small black businesses.
A Holiday Family Tradition
The more things change, the more things stay the same and during the holidays Mercedes enjoys a Starbucks treat during her down time. Growing up, Mercedes fondly remembers the times she and her mom would go to Starbucks, spending Saturday mornings together just letting time pass and now, Mercedes carries on this same tradition with her niece and sister.
She’s a self-described “sucker” for holiday decor and after hanging out in the neighborhood enjoying the holiday lights and festive activities, it’s family onesie time. Her mother, sister and niece get dressed up in their holiday onesies and cozy up with her favorite holiday movies, which her mom still has on VHS.
Mercedes’ sister also loves to decorate her home during the holidays. Her sister’s home is where they gather for Christmas, a tradition they have carried on for many years.
Mercedes is also very aware of the opportunity and platform that Starbucks has given her to inspire people that look like her, especially her niece. “Representation matters,” Mercedes said. “It’s important for her (my niece) to see me doing all the positive things I’m involved in. It brings me a lot of joy to have my niece look up to me.”
When Mercedes joined the Starbucks family, via a short-term consultancy, she never imagined that her six-month contract would turn into a full-time opportunity as a sourcing specialist on the Food Team. As a member of this team, she is responsible for supporting bakery and packaged foods, thus ensuring successful product launches for new and returning items like the Reindeer Cake Pop.
Mercedes not only does her part of ensuring that her niece sees how important representation is but also embodies that calling through her work within Starbucks. As social media coordinator of the Black Partner Network (BPN), an employee resource group for Black Starbucks partners (employees). In 2021, Mercedes assisted in the creation of a virtual gala, raising awareness of the BPN’s past year of accomplishments at Starbucks.
Love What You Do
Mercedes’ love for the Holiday season and love for her work at Starbucks is always on full display, “especially when we’re in the office…there is a lot of jolliness and creativity,” she said. “When I walk into a store it’s amazing to see what I have created,” she continued.
This resident of Seattle is thankful for the lifelong friends and connections she’s made while working at Starbucks. Through this opportunity, she has been able to fulfill her creative passion as well as celebrate what the holidays mean; kindness, generosity, and family. When asked what she likes most about the holidays, Mercedes responded, “I love how cheerful people are. People are humans again.”