Meet the veterans and military spouses who make us better every day

August 20, 2017
HOME People Meet the veterans and military spouses who make us better every day

Starbucks has hired over 10,000 veterans and military spouses, and we’re committed to hiring 15,000 more. We’re learning some pretty amazing things about not just what they have done for our country—but about what they are doing for our communities every day. The first step is getting to know them better as co-workers, neighbors and friends.

Instead of just being the new guy, I like to go into places and be like ‘Hey, what can I change for the better?’
- Mark Anthony A.
Navy Veteran & Navy Spouse

Mark Anthony worked at a clinic in Hawaii while he was in the Navy; his wife still serves in a Navy hospital in San Diego. He joined the service during his first year of college when his brother, who was in the Marine Corps at the time, suggested it as an alternative to nursing school. “You meet people from all over the world,” Mark Anthony explains. “You know, they say make bridges, don’t burn them—and that’s what’s cool about the military. You make a lot of bridges.”

Now that he’s left the service, Mark Anthony is working at Starbucks as a barista while he follows through on his original dream and applies to nursing school. His contacts from the Navy have offered to write him letters of recommendation.

Starbucks partner since: 2017
Military service: E-4 Hospital Corpsman, Navy, 5 years
Favorite drink: Chai Tea Latte

What people need in general is connection and understanding. No matter whether you’re a spouse or veteran or not even on the military side at all, just connecting with each other. Taking the time.
- Kelli W.
Marine Spouse

Kelli is a shift supervisor and an expert barista trainer who’s been with Starbucks since 2008. She loves talking to people, especially on the phone, so she often screens applicants for jobs at the store where she works. Her husband is in the Marines—he works with helicopters as part of the logistics team, which Kelli says is similar to a postal service, handling packing, shipping and receiving.

She likes wearing her Starbucks apron with a U.S. flag and “Marine Spouse” on it because it starts conversations about what that means with her co-workers and customers. “I love when people ask questions. My favorite is, ‘What does he do?’ And then, ‘What does that mean?’ It’s a cool job! He’s proud of it. I’m proud of it.”

Starbucks partner since: 2008
Military service: Husband works in logistics in the Marines
Favorite drink: Venti Iced Coffee, 2 pumps white mocha, 3 pumps coconut, breve

I got out of the military and everybody just assumed that I was hurt and struggling. And that wasn’t the case. I was prepared; I was ready for my transition. I think I’m living the best life that I can.
- AJ B.
Navy Veteran

AJ was a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy and he recently joined our team as a barista. People sometimes ask questions that indicate they think AJ was reattaching limbs on a battlefield, but that wasn’t the case. Most of the time, it was routine care, much like you’d see at any medical clinic. One big difference? “The latter half of my career I got to jump out of helicopters and do all that fun stuff,” he says.

These days, AJ is proud to be a full-time uncle and dog owner. Plus he says, “I’m killing it at school. I’m an honor student and all that good stuff. I’ll happily wear that with a badge of honor.”

Starbucks partner since: April 2017
Military service: HM3 (E-4), Navy, 5 years
Favorite drink: Starbucks Doubleshot® on Ice

Ask me what I like to do for fun.... Ask me what sports I play. I play rugby because of the teamwork and camaraderie.
- Blair H.
Marine Spouse

Blair is a cheerful joker who can make his co-workers laugh no matter what the situation. He started working at Starbucks when his wife joined the Marines to play French horn in the Marine Corps Band.

“It was hard ... I had a decent paying job at the time. They wouldn’t transfer me out,” he says. “I had just got in with a great rugby team as well. We had made it to 16th in the nation. I had to go start with a whole new fresh group of hooligans.”

He adds with a laugh, “Love is a vicious mistress.”

We can’t help with the rugby team, but as part of our military commitment, we’ll transfer military spouses wherever they need to go—so Blair will be able to keep his job if and when he and his wife need to move again.

Starbucks partner since: 2014
Military service: Wife plays French horn in the Marine Corps Band
Favorite drink: Gold Coast Blend® brewed coffee

Veterans and military spouses are changing our perspectives and our company for the better every day.
Learn more about our hiring commitment to veterans and military spouses, and our programs that support them.

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