Some 12,000 Starbucks store managers and regional leaders were in Chicago last week for a leadership conference with top company executives, including CEO Kevin Johnson, who succeeded Schultz in 2017. It's the first time the company had convened its managers in one place since 2012 and was the largest employee conference in its history.
The event is an outgrowth of the April 2018 incident in which a manager at a Philadelphia Starbucks called police on a pair of black men who were waiting at a table, Brewer said. Amid an uproar, the chain closed all of its stores for a day of diversity and inclusion training and has conducted 12 other training sessions since.
The conference, called Leadership Experience, focused on the company's shift toward streamlining and automating some menial tasks to give managers more time to interact with customers and train store employees. It also urged greater community involvement, and each store manager at the conference was able to nominate a local organization to receive a grant from the Starbucks Foundation.
The company also planned to announce sustainability initiatives and a commitment to addressing mental health issues.
The event, which included a football-field-size replica of a Costa Rican farm in McCormick Place to encourage managers to tell the "bean-to-cup" story, as well as opening and closing ceremonies at United Center, was expected to generate $29 million in economic impact for the city, Chicago officials said when the conference was announced earlier this year.
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