Whenever you take a satisfying sip of your favorite drink from Starbucks (hello, pumpkin flavors at Christmas!), ever stop to wonder who guides the overarching vision behind the mega-successful coffee company?
Meet Clara Shih. At just 29, she’s the newest addition to the Starbucks board of directors, taking Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s place. As a young woman and Asian American, Clara is an anomaly in the world of corporate boards. According to a 2010 study conducted by the Alliance for Board Diversity, Asian/Pacific Islander women make up less than 1% of Fortune 500 boards nationally. And according to the Corporate Library, a nonprofit corporate governance group, the average age of Fortune 500 directors is over 63.
Despite Clara’s relatively young age, her remarkable achievements in the social media and technology sphere have made her a woman to watch. The Stanford and Oxford graduate worked at top tech companies such as Microsoft, Google and Salesforce, developed the first business application for Facebook called the Faceconnector, wrote a textbook on Facebook that is now used in Harvard Business School’s curriculum and is the chief executive and cofounder of Hearsay Social, an innovative social media firm that helps companies build better connections with their customers.
No wonder Clara was tapped to join the Starbucks board, as her social marketing expertise will help the company to boost its online experience and better reach its tech-savvy customers. A true trailblazer and innovator, Clara is someone we’ll be keeping our eye on to continue doing great things.