Today, Starbucks kicks off an unprecedented, three-day leadership experience for 12,000 of its store managers and field leaders from the U.S. and Canada. According to Starbucks, the event--which is being held in Chicago--is the largest employee conference in the company's history.

In a letter to Starbucks partners released this morning, CEO Kevin Johnson explained his hopes for the Leadership Experience:

We're going to use our time together to have an honest conversation about the things to support you showing up as the leader your partners and customers need, and we're going to deliver on a set of major commitments to help you on your Starbucks journey. Our store managers and field leaders will leave stronger and more equipped to carry Starbucks forward. 

The event will include a wide array of presentations by 14 different speakers, who will address the following key areas of importance for the company's culture and operations:

  • Recommit to the Heritage of Coffee: Store managers will learn more ways to engage partners and customers in the story of Starbucks coffee, from bean to cup. To that end, the company brought along 385 live coffee trees to the Experience Hall along with the latest coffee-making equipment for hands-on demos.
  • Empower Store Managers: The goal: create more time and space so every store manager can lead their business to higher levels of excellence in the third place experience and business performance.
  • Break the Stigma Around Mental Health. At the event, store managers and field leaders will experience a Mental Health Matters session with a clinical psychologist that will introduce emotional first aid, followed by a discussion about what it means to thrive and develop self-awareness.
  • Strengthen our Communities: Each store manager will have an opportunity to nominate a local nonprofit organization to receive a grant from The Starbucks Foundation.
  • Lead in Sustainability: Starbucks will share the company's latest environmental sustainability efforts with its 12,000 invited store managers and field leaders. 

It's no secret that Starbucks today is a huge company that depends on growing a strong group of talented leaders to run its more than 30,000 stores in 80 markets around the world. In the U.S. and Canada alone, Starbucks serves more than 11 million customers a day.

Of course, every company depends on great leadership. Bringing leaders together like Starbucks is doing this week is a very effective model for small business owners to emulate, if obviously on much smaller scale. Doing so can go a long way to improve the engagement and performance of company leaders while helping them better understand and connect with the brand.

Those are great leadership outcomes in anyone's book.