About a month ago, I shadowed the jobs of members of the Starbucks Newsroom at Starbucks Headquarters. Yes, coffee heaven. Often when we imagine what something will be like, we tend to picture it better than how it is in reality. (I still consider myself a child in this aspect.) However, when I went to coffee heaven, I was out-imagined by Starbucks.
The bittersweet aroma of roasted coffee beans filled the air as I walked up to the elevator. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight—the eighth floor was where I was supposed to wait. Once I met with the Newsroom Director, we went straight into the newsroom meeting. Here, I met the rest of the newsroom staff, people with diverse interests and roles in the newsroom. The meetings started out with a delicious tea tasting. The staff talked about news ideas, stories they needed to follow up with, and new systems to make communication easier between the editors and the photographer.
A small presentation was made by the photographer. She laid out a set of pictures. They were iconic pictures and posters, including "V-J Day in Times Square" and Joe Rosenthal's "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima." She then took out another photo she took of a soldier smiling so widely you naturally wonder what he is looking at. I saw the humanity in her photos—something spontaneous, mind-boggling, and hauntingly beautiful. As a musician, an artist, and a performer, I saw the members of the newsroom and their souls shine through their work. Their work, their life, and their being was their art.
They ended the meeting looking at the Starbucks' mission statement and values. Each member stated the words that really stuck with them and explained why they chose these specific words. If I were to choose three words that stuck with me since that meeting, they would be culture, passion, and community.
After the meeting, each member of the newsroom met with me one-on-one for 30 minutes, and I went on a tour of the headquarters. As I walked down the winding stairs of the coffee castle, I saw the buzzing headquarters. There are coffee rooms on every floor where partners can make their own drinks. And, of course, there are two Starbucks cafes within Starbucks Headquarters, so partners (as Starbucks employees are known) can live the Starbucks life. Everyone was extremely friendly to one another, and it felt more like a home than a workplace.
When I spoke to the members of the newsroom, I learned of their unique backgrounds and their journey to Starbucks. Many of them started off by working as baristas, and then, because of their unique talents, they were brought to the newsroom to use their talents to tell the untold stories of the company's amazing partners. As I spoke to each of the members, I saw how much they loved their work in their own way—that's what we all want isn't it?
If I cannot achieve my goals in life as an artist, I will change my life and let it become my art. The most important thing the partners of the newsroom taught me is this: Life is unpredictable. A combination of talent, peers, family, work ethic, and luck brought them to where they are. Whether by accident or divine intervention, they all ended up in the same place at the same time to work together. So if life takes me, or refuses to take me, somewhere, all I can really do is work my hardest and enjoy.
How did April K. get this super cool job-shadowing opportunity? By joining—and serving ~20 hours on—The New Guard: Teen Arts Leadership Society! New Guard members have the opportunity to be matched with mentors at TeenTix partner organizations and affiliates. In addition to selecting TeenTix as the beneficiary of Starbucks, STG, and KEXP’s recent Little Big Show #12, Starbucks graciously agreed to host April K. in their Newsroom for a day. Thank you, Starbucks!
Interested in being a part of a mini-mentorship of your own? We encourage you to apply for The New Guard next year! Sign up here to be notified when applications will be available for the 2016-2017 session. Learn more about April K. and The New Guard here!