Linda Mills’ broad-reaching responsibility for thought leadership, executive communications, and external and influencer communications at Starbucks coincides with the coffee purveyor landing in the fifth slot of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies list for three years straight.
But it’s no surprise to those who know her. From product launches to financial communications, this agency expert turned in-house communications pro is an effective storyteller and strategic counselor trusted by her managers and clients alike.
"Linda is a motivational leader, skilled at charting a path-breaking course and inspiring her team and others inside and outside the organization to join her on the journey," explains Jim Olson, Starbucks’ VP of global corporate communications, who has known Mills for more than a decade.
Since joining the coffee giant in January 2012, Mills has held leadership roles on both the consumer and corporate communications teams. Highlights include leading three holiday campaigns and introducing a number of new products, including Refreshers, Fizzio beverages, various food items, and Teavana Oprah Chai, which has donated more than $5 million to educational organizations.
Colleagues commend her most for the strategic work showcasing Starbucks’ investment in its more than 300,000 employees, with programs such as its College Achievement Plan, which offers college tuition to workers, and a far-reaching program to hire low-income youth during a period of high unemployment for young workers. She’s also providing support to company leaders, including company founder, chairman, and CEO Howard Schultz.
Mills refined her consumer brand expertise during eight years at Waggener Edstrom, where she was a VP in the consumer marketing practice, leading the HTC account, among others. Prior to WE, she spent four years with MWW in Seattle, overseeing the Getty Images account and working on Amazon and Philips Sonicare.
"She exhibits the conviction and managerial courage to advocate for the right things and the composure to lead with grace and fortitude, even in the most intense and ambiguous of times," says Olson.
- She generated more than 1 billion media impressions with her flawless execution of Starbucks’ 2015 shareholders meeting, attended by 3,000 investors
- Mills volunteers with Starbucks’ corporate team, The Lagrant Foundation scholarship awards, and the nonprofit Washington Women in Need
- Her Starbucks team earned a PRWeek 2014 Global In-House Team of the Year award and was a finalist for the 2015 Multicultural Marketing Campaign of the Year for
its Caramel Flan Latte Hispanic Community Program