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VP of Tax, Julie Wieting's Inspiring Path to Leadership at Starbucks

In our Real leaders. Real stories. series, Julie Wieting talks about her inspiring path to becoming VP of Tax at Starbucks.

In the executive world, standout leaders both inspire and pave the way for others. Julie Wieting, Vice President of Tax at Starbucks, is one such leader who has charted a remarkable course toward success. Her journey, characterized by ambition, family values and resilience, provides invaluable lessons for aspiring leaders. Join us as we explore Julie’s inspiring path to leadership excellence and the wisdom she has gained along the way.

The power of connections


Julie’s journey began as a student at Washington State University, where she formed two distinct long-term goals: to ascend the ranks of tax leadership and to nurture a thriving family. These ambitions set the stage for a unique and relatable leadership journey — one that eventually led her to the pivotal role of Vice President of Tax at Starbucks, just a month before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During her early career, Julie joined Ernst & Young LLP (EY US), where she spent a decade honing her skills. She was particularly drawn to the leadership style of Rich Jones, the EY Seattle Office Managing Partner, who emphasized the importance of work-life balance. Rich’s personal approach, which involved getting to know Julie’s family, left a lasting impression. It showcased the significance of authentic leadership, inspiring Julie to follow in his footsteps.


Balancing priorities and evolving as a leader


Over the years, Julie transitioned from public accounting to the corporate sector, continuously aligning her career choices with her family’s needs. Despite working in demanding roles that often required travel and flexibility, she remained steadfast in her commitment to work-life balance. Each step in her journey brought greater responsibility, but she ensured it didn’t come at the expense of her family time.

In 2015, an irresistible opportunity emerged at Starbucks, a company she had long admired. Julie made the conscious decision to prioritize her professional growth, marking a turning point in her career. This transition not only led her to the pinnacle of tax leadership but also transformed her into a mentor, guiding others on their own leadership journeys.


A test of leadership


Just as she assumed her role as VP of Tax in February 2020, Julie faced an unexpected test of leadership — the COVID-19 pandemic. Her well-laid plans for transforming the tax function had to adapt rapidly to the complexities of the crisis. Julie leaned on her mentors for guidance, learning the art of delegation and focusing on high-impact tasks.

With the pandemic now behind us, Julie embraces the newfound possibilities of technology and remote work, offering her team a fresh perspective on how they can excel.


Empowering the team


Today, Julie’s leadership ambitions revolve around her team. She continues to elevate tax to a strategic role at the decision-making table. She is committed to supporting the entire organization, partners (employees) and customers by leveraging technology and empowering her team.

Julie’s vision is clear: to enable her team to focus on projects and tasks aligned with their unique skill sets. Her passion for watching others grow and succeed fuels her dedication to nurturing the next generation of talent.


Lessons learned


Julie’s journey is marked by profound lessons:

  • Expand your network early. Recognizing the importance of relationships and guidance, Julie advises expanding your network early in your career, including peers, mentors and sponsors.
  • Respect who you are. Julie learned that authenticity is key to success. You don’t need to be an extrovert to thrive; introverts bring valuable strengths to the table. Diversity in teams is essential.
  • Focus on your strengths. Instead of trying to turn weaknesses into strengths, Julie recommends focusing on your strengths and building teams and processes that complement your areas of weakness.

Julie’s path from a student with ambitious goals to Vice President of Tax at Starbucks is a testament to her leadership prowess. Her story is a source of inspiration for those seeking to balance personal and professional ambitions while fostering a culture of authenticity and empowerment. Julie’s lessons are invaluable, offering guidance for emerging leaders on their own path to excellence.


Julie Wieting's rise to Vice President of Tax at Starbucks encapsulates the essential lessons of authentic leadership, strategic balance between career and family, and the value of empowering team members. Navigating through crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Julie's journey underscores the importance of adaptability, genuine connections, and leveraging personal strengths for success. Her story serves as a beacon for emerging leaders seeking to harmonize personal and professional ambitions while cultivating an environment of authenticity and empowerment.

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