Servant Leadership, Culture, and Coffee: Lessons from Former Starbucks President Howard Behar


Howard Behar, former President of Starbucks, and Dr. Kim Villeneuve, Co-Founder of bluSPARC and Elite Executive Coach


Informed by their professional collaboration, shared passion for leadership, and friendship, Howard Behar and Dr. Kim Villeneuve discussed the key focus areas for fostering a culture of servant leadership within your organization.

Drawing from his experiences cultivating one of the world’s most renowned brands, Howard shared his guiding principles that resulted in their growth from 28 to more than 15,000 stores. Howard understood that servant leadership could create a lasting, positive impact, within Starbucks and across the broader business landscape.

Employees and consumers are increasingly seeking organizations that not only deliver results but also prioritize values, ethics, and the well-being of their teams and communities. Servant leadership seamlessly integrates these expectations by emphasizing integrity, empathy, and a sustainable, purpose-driven approach to leadership.

During this webinar, Howard and Kim focused on:

  • How servant leadership enhances organizational culture and delivers tangible benefits.
  • Strategies for nurturing growth, trust, and accountability within your team.
  • The importance of aligning actions and decisions with organizational purpose and prioritizing the needs of employees, customers, and business partners.
  • How servant leadership fuels resilience and innovation in challenging times.

Meet the Speakers

Howard Behar is a renowned business leader, author, speaker, and mentor who has influenced the lives of numerous men and women at all stages of their careers and at all levels and roles. For 21 years Howard led Starbuck’s domestic business as President of North America, and he became the founding President of Starbucks International opening the very first store outside of North America in Japan. During his tenure, he participated in the growth of the company from only 28 stores to over 15,000 stores spanning five continents. He served on the Starbucks Board of Directors for twelve years before retiring. Howard now serves on the boards of several for-profit and non-profit organizations, including Education Element, iD Tech, and The School of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University. He is on the advisory boards of Anthos Capital, University of Washington Foundation, and a Trustee for The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation.

Dr. Kim Villeneuve has built high-performing boards, executive teams, and leadership teams for companies ranging from new ventures to Fortune 500 firms. She has particular expertise in organization development, focusing on culture shaping and transformational leadership. As an elite executive coach, Kim is known for her work with founders, corporate executives, those preparing for succession opportunities, and those developing complex leadership capability. Kim is also a noted guest lecturer and speaker at doctoral and graduate business programs.

Watch the Recording