Sweetgreen Hires Black Woman CTO Wouleta Ayele, Former Starbucks SVP To Lead Tech Innovation

Sweetgreen Hires Black Woman CTO Wouleta Ayele, Former Starbucks SVP To Lead Tech Innovation

Fast-casual health food chain Sweetgreen hired a Black woman to take its technology to the next level. Wouleta Ayele is joining the company as Chief Technology Officer after a 16-year career at Starbucks, where she worked as senior vice president of technology. 

Ayele will lead Sweetgreen’s technology teams, supporting them to scale their supply chain model, advance restaurant operations, acquire new talent, and develop their digital platforms, according to Essence. 

“Sweetgreen is a truly innovative company that is paving the way for a healthier future. The way that they approach the intersection of food and tech is unlike any other restaurant brand out there,” Ayele said. “I’m excited and grateful to be joining the Sweetgreen team as they lead the charge of changing the fast-food industry for years to come.”

Before her career at Starbucks, Ayele held leadership positions at many other companies; including Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Attachmate Corporation and Ciba-Geigy pharmaceutical. 

Sweetgreen’s mission is to build healthier communities by connecting people to “real” food. Their menu provides customers with a variety of fresh plant-based bowls with plenty of protein options. 

The company’s founders started Sweetgreen while in college. They wanted to bridge the gap between food that was slow, expensive, and fresh and options that were fast, cheap, and unhealthy. 

Two months after their graduation, they launched in Washington, D.C. They now have over 130 restaurants across the United States. Co-founder and CEO Jonathan Neman agrees that Ayele has what it takes to help the company reach newer heights. 

“As we continue to scale and think about what the future of fast food will look like, the technology powering Sweetgreen plays an integral part in creating efficiencies and providing our guests with the best experience possible,” Neman said. “Wouleta has the experience, savviness and leadership to help us make that vision a reality. We look forward to welcoming her to the team.”