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Howard Behar's career in business spans over 50 years, all in consumer oriented businesses covering several industries. He retired from Starbucks Coffee after 21 years where he led both the domestic business, as President of North America, and was the founding President of Starbucks International. He was responsible for taking the coffee giant from a small regional chain to an international powerhouse. 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.
He served as a Director of Sterling Financial Corp. in 2011. The qualifications considered in his appointment as a Director of Sterling included his broad multi-unit retail experience, management and leadership experience, national recognition and relationships within the global business community.
Howard now serves on several Boards including for-profit and non-profit organizations. They include Anna's Linens, Sterling Savings Bank, Wild Ginger Restaurants, EZ Grill, Inc. and the advisory board of Anthos Capital. His non-profit commitments are to the University of Washington Foundation, The Robert Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and the Washington Business Alliance.
Howard is committed to the development and education of our future leaders and has been a longtime advocate of the Servant Leadership Model. He has also authored two books on leadership titled "It's Not About the Coffee" and a new one called "The Magic Cup". He says it’s a parable about the power of putting people and values first. The book outlines the principles he followed to help Starbucks maintain its unique culture as the business scaled exponentially.