"Welcome to Houston!" (Cheers)
Starbucks' president and CEO Howard Schultz kicked off the event by reflecting on the company's progress since its last conference in New Orleans in 2008. Schultz had then just returned to the top posts after an eight-year hiatus, and the company was floundering.
"So many people across the country and across the world were counting Starbucks out. In the four years that passed, we showed the world it wasn't about the competition. It wasn't about the financial crisis. The future of the company then and now has been about one thing. It's been about you."
The three-day conference will send thousands of visiting store managers on volunteer projects around the city. The economic and community benefit of the conference to Houston is estimated at $22 million dollars.
Nearly 10,000 Starbucks partners (employees) gather in Houston for the company's Global Partner Leadership Conference (Courtesy of Starbucks)