Jordan Williams (MBA ’13) is in the business of giving customers what they want. As the product experience director for U.S. Beverage, Starbucks, his team brings new products to market that reflect the evolving tastes and desires of today’s coffee consumers.
“Customer empathy allows us to get at what is causing friction in the person’s life, what they wish could be better, what satisfies them,” he says. “Ultimately, I want our product to solve a problem and spark joy.”
A former high school English teacher, Jordan pivoted to a career in brand management after working alongside an outside agency on his school’s rebranding effort. He was immediately taken by the process and knew it was where he wanted his career to go. That inspired him to pursue an MBA at the Wisconsin School of Business at UW–Madison, where he built a strong foundation in business strategy and marketing fundamentals.
After graduation, Jordan was able to put those skills to work as a brand manager for MillerCoors. It was a successful entry into the food and beverage industry which later opened the door for joining Starbucks.
Jordan credits his success to the individuals and mentors who helped cultivate and develop his budding passion for building successful brands. Now, the former teacher says it’s his turn to make time for others—even if it means having a calendar that’s occasionally bursting at the seams.
“I’m just trying to pay it forward,” he says. “I am standing on the shoulders of many who have helped me.”