The Business Case for Diversity in Coffee

By Melissa Pugash and Margaret Swallow


Source: IWCA

“Diversity matters because we increasingly live in a global world that has become deeply interconnected. It should come as no surprise that more diverse companies and institutions are achieving better performance. Most organizations, including [ours], have work to do in taking full advantage of the opportunity that a more diverse leadership team represents, and, in particular, more work to do on the talent pipeline: attracting, developing, mentoring, sponsoring, and retaining the next generations of global leaders at all levels.

“Given the increasing returns that diversity is expected to bring, it is better to invest now, as winners will pull further ahead and laggards will fall further behind.”

Source: Diversity Matters

Whether you are a wholesale roaster, café chain operator, importer, exporter, grower or supplier of allied goods and services, diversity is important to your business.

Research shows that the definition of diversity is changing and that there is an intergenerational difference – what diversity means to a Millennial is quite different from what it means to a Baby Boomer.

But how do you go about implementing the best team building practices in your own company?

Join the Diversity Dialogue at #NCAcoffee16

All men and women are invited to an interactive discussion at the NCA 2016 Annual Convention breakout session, “The Business Case for Diversity in the Coffee Sector: Actionable Steps Your Business Can Implement Now,” in San Diego, on Friday, March 18, 3 p.m. PDT.

Jane Marvin, Senior Vice President, People and Culture at Peet’s Coffee and Tea, and Henriette Kolb, Head Gender Secretariat, International Finance Corporation, will share their insights from a “seed to cup” perspective on this timely topic.

Jane will describe how she’s spearheading Peet’s Coffee and Tea’s effort to build an engaged, authentic, passionate culture across the company’s 4,800 employees – including green buyers, roasters, manufacturing teams, delivery drivers, baristas, salespersons, marketing and corporate office teams. Henriette will share her perspective from the agribusiness sector, including examples of the leadership, supply chain and workforce benefits achieved through closing gaps between men and women. (She will also be the featured speaker at the IWCA Luncheon during the NCA Convention.)

Don’t miss this a unique opportunity to ask your questions and engage in a candid discussion with these experts about the issues that matter most to you such as:

  • What are the advantages of having equity, diversity, and inclusion in your workplace?
  • What are the key components necessary to achieve multigenerational success?
  • How can your company attract, cultivate and retain diverse talent?
  • What are the practical steps your company can take to promote diversity, equity and inclusion now?

You’ll come away from “The Business Case for Diversity in the Coffee Sector – Actionable Steps Your Business Can Implement Now” with practical tips for building a team with the right talent for your company’s needs, now and in the future.

To submit your questions before the NCA breakout session, please send them to session moderator Melissa Pugash at or add them in the comments below.

Learn more about the NCA 2016 Annual Convention.

Read the full Diversity Matters report [PDF], by Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton, Sara Prince, McKinsey & Company

Related: The Power of Parity


Two-time SCAA Award winner, Melissa Pugash is a marketing communications and strategic planning consultant with 28 years experience in the global coffee sector. She is a co-founder of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance and serves on the UCLA Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Health Advisory Board. Melissa holds a BA from Tufts University and prefers filter drip coffee, served black.

Margaret Swallow is a marketing, high-performing teamwork, and personal leadership consultant. She has +30 years experience working in both the private and public sectors. She is a co-founder of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance. Margaret has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Sociology from the University of Maryland. She starts every day including Sundays with at least three cups of strong coffee.


One thought on “The Business Case for Diversity in Coffee

  1. Pingback: Related Reading: Gender Diversity in Coffee | The First Pull

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s