SIG Speaks to Kelly Bengston, CPO at Starbucks

Kelly Bengston is Senior Vice President, Chief Procurement Officer at Starbucks. Kelly is responsible for enhancing Starbucks enterprise-wide functional strategic sourcing and supplier relationships, creating consistent global sourcing processes, developing a sourcing talent management program and building a values-based approach to working with suppliers across all categories of the business.

Kelly has held numerous leadership positions during her 8-plus years with Starbucks. Most recently, Kelly served as Vice President of Starbucks Global Supply Chain’s Strategy & Deployment team, a new team created under Kelly to support Starbucks supply chain’s aspirations of becoming digitized, strategically aligning resources against priorities and building capabilities through long-term capacity planning and supply chain intelligence.

Prior to joining Starbucks, Kelly gained broad experience in packaging, product development, manufacturing, and project management at Macy’s, Bensussen Deutsch, Cranium and Hasbro. She enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with her family. Her favorite Starbucks beverage is Nitro Cold Brew.

Kelly will share her expertise with attendees at the Western Regional SIGnature Event in Bellevue, WA on May 16th. 

Can you share a little more about your day-to-day role and responsibilities as the Chief Procurement Officer for Starbucks?

I am fortunate to have an amazing job, working for an amazing company.  My day-to-day is filled with connecting with great partners and suppliers to deliver products and services to our stores and customers.   

What are some examples of how technology has changed or impacted the way you approach your job?

Analytics and visibility tools are changing the view of sourcing today.  We now have the ability to analyze costs and the markets we do business in.  We also can see movement and production of goods to drive new and better discussions with our supplier partners.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

That the work is really fun! :-) I wish people fully appreciated that sourcing professionals are problem solvers and focused on delivering solutions.  We get a reputation for only thinking of cost, but cost is just one small part of what we negotiate on behalf of our companies. 

Can you talk about your background and education—how did you get involved in sourcing?

I love to say that sourcing found me.  My education is in management and my intent was to have a career in retail and store operations (which I did for a while).  I had an opportunity to begin getting involved in product development and factory management and never looked backed.  Sourcing allows me to be creative, work with interesting people and solve problems.

If you could talk to your “younger self,” what would you warn yourself about or tell yourself to do differently?

This is a difficult question because I live my life to always look forward.  My career has had many high points, some lows and some flat moments and that is what has made it interesting. My advice would be to always follow your passion and don’t be afraid to take a risk. Every “risky” position I have had has grown and developed me in to who I am today. 

At the Western Regional SIGnature Event in May, Kelly will give a keynote presentation for the delegates in attendance. Regional SIGnature Events are powerful one-day meetings in which buy-side practitioners benchmark with other organizations and network with colleagues facing similar issues. To learn more about attending and see who else is presenting, visit our website

Heather Schleicher, Senior Marketing Director

Heather Schleicher, Senior Marketing Director at SIG, has more than 15 years of experience in business and marketing with organizations ranging from independently owned franchises and small businesses to $12B international enterprises. Prior to joining SIG's leadership team, Heather served as Senior Marketing Manager where she was responsible for creating, executing, and supporting SIG’s marketing strategies across all regions and lines of business. Before joining SIG, Heather led digital marketing initiatives for outsourcing, recruiting and workforce management provider Allegis Global Solutions. Previously, Heather managed the marketing department at a contracting consultancy in Washington, D.C.

Heather is actively involved with local and national non-profit organizations. She was the spokesperson of a two-year nationwide campaign to bring home missing persons and teach safety education and prevention. Heather has a BS in Corporate Communication from the University of Baltimore.