Inspirational Person Highlight: Kevin Johnson. Current CEO of Starbucks.
I’ve spent the last three hours listening to interviews and reading articles on Kevin Johnson. Here are my biggest take aways.
Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, only has a Bachelor’s Degree. “Honorary Degrees” in my opinion, are a Universities way of trying to stay relevant by saying someone has a “degree” from you….that you donated. Just silly. Kevin has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from New Mexico State University but he was born here! In Gig Harbor, Washington.
When learning about inspirational people/business role models, I do find it important to know what their parents did. The home someone grew up in or the influence of their parents is highly underrated when considering a person’s accomplishments or career direction. Kevin’s mother was a pediatric nurse and father a Theoretical Physicist.
Even with a degree in business administration, he began his career as a Software Engineer. Before Starbucks, he is most known for his role working for Microsoft. In 2008, Kevin Johnson began working for President George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He was chairman of the Cyber Security Committee.
In 2001, he was in charge of the introduction of Microsoft Wireless Internet in Starbucks locations. This, is how he met and began a relationship with the founder of Starbucks who later passed the CEO baton off to him after a health scare with melanoma.
Now, if you’d like to go read his Wiki page like I did, you can, HERE.
Otherwise, let’s get to why I like Kevin.
It was clear to me, almost right away, that Kevin Johnson has a deep understanding of what it takes to complete a task. So often, people want to know, “What will happen this year?”, “When will this be done?”, etc. Rather than evading the question entirely, like allot of CEO’s are trained to, he makes the intention clear.
Steady work. Overtime. Gets us where we want to go.
I loved this reminder as I listened to him speak today. I have learned this lesson to be more true than anything in everything.
In 2012, when Kevin Johnson took a break from work with his medical diagnosis, he made the intention to focus on people, projects, and activities that bring him joy. “Things that are joyful” has been his main focus ever since, and that surly carries into the Starbucks brand we know today.
In 2019, before I even knew the CEO of Starbucks’ name, I set the intention to live for Joy. Before 2018/2019, I didn’t know there was enough joy in this life for it to be something we even COULD live for. It took nearly 100 weddings for the joy of a first dance, your friendships, and your families to heal that part of me. I will forever be grateful to each one of my couples who showed me the joy this life has to offer through documenting your wedding days.
I’ll leave a couple favorite business tips from Kevin Johnson himself:
“I think it comes down to, you know, are you clear about what is your purpose in this world and is that relevant to your customer? Are you authentic in how you create that? And are you imaginative to keep it fresh and healthy?”Kevin Johnson Fireside Chat GeekWire Summit 2017
My last one isn’t quiet a quote because it was a note I took from something he said to put it into words for myself. My take away was, “What are all the good things about my culture that got me to where I am? What do I need to reinvent?” This is something Kevin asks himself and his team regularly.
Here is a link to that Fireside Chat with Kevin Johnson. It’s a good one!