Spotlight: Rory Dugan, Starbucks by Jackson Slaughter

Creating 10,000 meaningful relationships between youth and adults is an ambitious goal for any organization, and yet that is exactly what Starbucks, LinkedIn, and MENTOR have joined forces to do. The focus for this particular program is to help young adults jumpstart or grow their careers by fostering valuable connections. Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Rory Dugan from Starbucks to catch up on the 10,000 Connections campaign. Before my time with MMP, we paired with Starbucks and LinkedIn to host mentoring events at local Starbucks venues. Although this blog will focus on the Commonwealth, these events take place all over the country and seek to develop both in-person as well as virtual relationships.

While speaking with Rory, I learned not only about her career, but also the role Starbucks plays in local communities. She started working as a barista 20 years ago, eventually working her way up to her current role as the district manager. Rory mentioned that her passion was always supporting and serving others, and she identified with Starbucks’ mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit. She recalls that even as a barista the commitment to community was preeminent and “a huge part of the company’s DNA.” 

Both within the company’s corporate structure and their community-based identity, there was not only a sense of mutual success tied to investment, but also a moral commitment: “It’s a business imperative to take care of people.” It was clear to me that corporate social responsibility was more than just a buzzword. They truly believe that what you put in is what you get out. Their dedication to community empowerment is clear, tailoring a unique approach to each community, because each community is different. Boston, for example, has a highly concentrated and rapidly changing community due to its urban setting. The community is not only aware of issues like inequality, but eager to work towards a solution.

10,000 Connections is well underway. We are looking forward to hosting more events soon, and the campaign has even inspired Starbucks to partner with additional mission driven organizations, such as the Urban League of Massachusetts to advance inclusive and equitable opportunities for all by supporting personal and professional development programs.  If you are interested in hosting a similar event, or If you would like to learn more, you can click here to access the program overview and materials!

Jackson Slaughter is the AmeriCorps Ambassador of Mentoring Communications and Network Outreach Associate at Mass Mentoring Partnership.