19 Dec ‘Coffee is the new leisure’ – Lynn Day – Design Director for Starbucks in the EMEA region
Guests at a recent Isle of Man Business Network event may have expected to hear about the inner workings of life at one of the world’s leading hospitality brands when they signed up for its recent learning session with Lynn Day – Design Director for Starbucks in the EMEA region – but instead were treated to a fascinating insight in to her career and her passion for empowering females in the workplace.
For the majority of its learning events, the Isle of Man Business Network uses the expertise of local speakers, but every so often it invites guests from off-Island, such as Lynn, to come and address its members. She spoke with real self-depricating humour to a sell-out crowd at The Claremont Hotel about her journey through what she describes as a ‘difficult and harsh’ industry to work in, as well as her much coveted role at Starbucks and how she reinvented her career in her early 50s.
Genuinely, we’d say she really is living her best life!
So, how did a young girl from Yorkshire find herself in the bright lights of London at the age of 21 in the recession-hit early 80s?
Quite simply, she followed her then boyfriend, and took a part-time job working in the Food Hall at Harrods where she described meeting some incredible characters, and rapidly building her confidence in dealing with the public. Not long after, she applied for an entry-level in-house design role with the household Conran brand and, thanks to standing out because of her very neat handwriting learnt at Art College, was picked from more than 100 applicants and offered her dream job designing store interiors including Debenhams, Habitat and Richards.
It probably seems alien to most reading this article that job applications were done by hand, graphic design images were sketched using pencils and rulers and starting salaries were £5,000, but thanks to a series of fascinating photos and stories, Lynn took guests all the way through her career in words and pictures from working for Conran, designing exquisite carpets for palaces in the Middle East, running campaigns for Marlboro and designing for Selfridges on Oxford Street in London, Harrods in Heathrow T5 and M&S in Westfield – amongst many others – all the way through to today and launching Starbucks sites at some of the most iconic places in the world where life ‘never stands still’ and each store is individually designed to be as personal to the location as possible.
One thing the audience really appreciated was Lynn’s honesty around her struggles as a working mum, and her personal opinion that women should try wherever possible to stay in the job market after having children to maintain their confidence and reduce the barrier that exists when women – as well as men – try to re-enter the workplace. She also had a very clear message for employers having a moral duty to look after their staff; investing in your people will not only prove good business sense long-term, but will increase their loyalty no-end