Profiles in Courage: Watch Starbucks’ Season 2 of ‘Upstanders’


Starbucks Upstanders season 2

Raising the bar on content marketing and brand storytelling, Starbucks’ second season of Upstanders is a collection of stories about “extraordinary courage in unexpected places.” It’s a tribute to people making a difference in their lives and communities by Starbucks, which is up 16% on the new Interbrand Best Global Brands table.

Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ Executive Chairman—who swears he’s not contemplating a run for political office—produced the series with veteran Washington Post journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran.

Schultz told CBS This Morning, “The goal is there’s a better side to America than what’s coming out of Washington. Those stories are not being told. The sense of unity, compassion and empathy that’s going on in every city and town around the country has to be told. I think people are longing for truth and authenticity.”

“Starbucks has a really important opportunity to demonstrate the country needs a more compassionate society and a more compassionate government,” he added.

Meet the Season 2 Upstanders:

Knives, Fire and Opportunity: Chad Houser quit his job as the executive chef at a hot Dallas eatery and risked his career to open a restaurant staffed almost exclusively by former juvenile detention inmates.

The Wave to Recovery: Navy SEALs Alex West and Kyle Buckett spend their nights and weekends designing specialized surfboards for wounded warriors, helping them find strength and confidence in the waves.

From War to Montana: Mary Poole, a mother with no background in foreign policy, convinced her community to welcome refugees by harnessing hundreds of volunteers and embracing her opponents.

Befriending Her Shooter: Ian Manuel was just 13 when he shot Debbie Baigrie. A year into his life sentence, he called her to apologize. That eventually led to her forgiveness, an unlikely friendship and a mission to help free him.

Planting Hope in a Coalfield: Entrepreneur Brandon Dennison decided to address poverty in his native West Virginia by extending a hand of opportunity to former coal miners.

A Racist’s Rehabilitation: When Garry Civitello, a white man, admitted he was prejudiced on national television, Heather McGhee, who is President of the public policy organization Demos and a black woman, offered him advice to become a better American. Their exchange transformed his life and forged a remarkable friendship.

One Doctor’s Needle Fix: Hansel Tookes spent four years on a life-saving mission to convince Florida legislators to allow drug users in Miami to exchange dirty needles for clean ones.

Love for All in Utah: Stephenie Larsen forged past fear and skepticism to create the first LGBT community center in Provo, Utah, in an attempt to reduce suicides among gay teens and build bridges with the Mormon Church.

Saving Middletown: Ami Vitori gave up a successful big-city career and tapped her retirement fund to help rebuild the struggling Rust Belt community of Middletown, Ohio.

The Firefighter’s Rescuer: Seattle firefighter Mike Washington told colleagues about some of his most painful and personal moments to encourage them to seek help and draw more attention to stress among our nation’s first responders.

The Disappearing Island: Former South Carolina Republican congressman Bob Inglis, who once scoffed at climate change, overcame a humiliating defeat by deciding to take on skeptics within his party.

Starbucks is asking fans to tell them about Upstanders they know in their own lives on their Facebook page.


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