Award-winning manager says company’s ‘anti-racist’ indoctrination led to choice between ‘my morals, my values, my beliefs—or my job’
Amanda Wannagat was an exemplary Starbucks store manager.
Wannagat had repeatedly received accolades from the global coffee shop chain for her performance. New store managers would get sent to her store in Salt Lake City to learn how to do the job properly.
Despite solid career prospects and reasonable pay that supported her three children, she quit her job in June due to a toxic work environment that, she said, was the result of political indoctrination masked as “anti-racism” and other employee trainings.
“I felt like I was in a cult and I was drinking the Kool-Aid,” Wannagat told The Epoch Times via email.
She joined Starbucks in 2015 as a store manager and quickly became a manager trainer.
Wannagat said she recognized that most of the employees were left-leaning, if not “political activists.” But she thought that had nothing to do with the workplace. She believed the company to be admirable in many regards.
She noticed that the atmosphere of her workplace began to change around 2017 and especially in 2018, after an incident in Philadelphia when a manager called the police on two black men who refused to order anything and refused to leave when asked.
The company issued an apology, its CEO arranged a meeting with the two men, and the manager, reportedly, was to undergo “unconscious bias” training. At the time, the company had just started a new initiative called “The Third Place.”
The initiative was intended to make Starbucks a “warm, welcoming environment, where anyone who crosses the threshold feels like … they’re welcome,” one executive said in a video that serves as part of the program’s training materials that was obtained by The Epoch Times.
The company produced sophisticated quarterly training routines, with videos, slides, and worksheets. It invited speakers who would record talks on various subjects related to the improvement of company culture and professionalism. A group of managers would undergo the training and then go through it with their staff in small groups or individually.
The first several training sessions were rather innocuous, Wannagat said.
But after the Philadelphia incident, the program started to include training with an apparent political bend, she said.
BY PETR SVAB