Howard Behar || Former President of Starbucks International

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.

Shaped by his experiences working in his parents’ Seattle market, schooled in operations and management in consumer-oriented retail business, and part of the leadership triumvirate that built the Starbucks brand, Behar is the ultimate “servant leader” who is known for such memorable lessons as “The Person Who Sweeps the Floor Should Choose the Broom” and “Only the Truth Sounds Like the Truth.”

For 21 years Behar 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, 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.  

Howard is committed to the development and education of our future leaders and has been a longtime advocate of the Servant Leadership Model. After the successful publication of his first book, It’s Not About the Coffee: Lessons on Leadership from a Life at Starbucks (Portfolio, 2008), Howard now travels the world speaking to leaders, corporations, and students. His motivational message inspires everyone to be servant leaders and to lead with their values first. 

Behar lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife Lynn, and enjoys spending time with his children and five grandchildren. Boating is his favorite hobby, exploring the waterways from Seattle to Alaska.

Throughout a lifetime of filling his cup, Howard has sustained a work ethic and level of integrity which has had a profound impact on his own life the hundreds and even thousands of people who have been touched by his example.