Seattle: Starbucks and Brooks Sports

On the third day of our site visits, fellow Ramblers and I ventured to Starbucks Headquarters and Brooks Sports — with various, tasty pit stops along the way. Sharon Schwartz and Susan (Sue) Fox led the tour of Starbucks’ coast-side campus. Prioritizing collaboration and inclusion, the “support system” described by many aims to acknowledge and advocate the work of Starbucks partners. From architectural innovation to the different atmospheres around the site, Starbucks is at the forefront of employee satisfaction and retention. We were welcomed by various, distinguished partners of Starbucks during our question and answer portion of the visit. A highlight of the experience, for me, was the notion of opportunity and communication. The two go hand in hand; one cannot go without the other. All Starbucks partners, during the visit, stood behind the idea of upcoming opportunity and how valuable communication can take someone in the workplace. Rounding out the visit with a taste test, we traveled to Brooks Sports – not before stopping at Yellow Dot Café, however.

At Brooks Sports, Mike Billish, a double alum of Loyola Chicago, took us through the life of a new employee. Later on, we toured their beautiful, on-the-water campus where we witness the amount of detail and hard work that goes into their products. From different material to technique, the meticulous decision-making that goes into their shoes and apparel signified the quality and mastery of their craft. Us Ramblers enjoyed a dinner at the Pike Place Brewery to a intensive day where we all were able to unwind and reflect on an eye-opening and productive day.

Over the course of the trip, the definition of “business” has changed dramatically. Coming into this opportunity, I believed the work that goes into operating a business was quite liner and straight-forward however, if I had to take anything away from this experience, it would have to be that business is anything but linear. As the younger generation becomes a more prominent voice in the way of operation, it is apparent that many successful companies have taken it into their own hands and have taken the initiative to advocate for social awareness and identities. At Starbucks, the diversity in backgrounds of their partners was incredible to witness. From a variety of perspectives, they are able to view any topic in a new fashion and breed creativity from their identities. Brooks Sports also integrates a sense of awareness within their community. As an avid partner to the Special Olympics in Seattle, they connect back to their vision to inspire.

All the visits thus far embody the meaning of opportunity and initiative, and Starbucks and Brooks Sports both carry that same medal. It has been an incredibly humbling and empowering time in Seattle and as the trip crosses its halfway point, I am starting to compile all of the lessons and value I have acquired from the visits. Moving forward, I aim to continue to push myself outside a sense of comfort and to get the most out of any opportunity that comes my way. With the help of peers and faculty at Quinlan, I can ensure that they will continue to support of myself and fellow Ramblers as the trip makes its way to an end.


Sean Ryan (BBA '21)