“New Opportunities For Leadership”: The Next Generation at #NCAUSA



Standing room only at the first NCA Next Generation Council educational session

Highlights from the National Coffee Association 2018 Convention

From the NCA Next Generation Council 

The NCA Next Generation Council hosted its first annual Educational Breakout Session on the morning of March 15, at the NCA 2018 Convention in New Orleans. The event is part of the NextGen’s larger initiative to support talented young professionals who are passionate about the coffee industry.

Judging by attendance, the inaugural installment was a huge success – standing room only!

Brandon Jackson, VP, Commodities & Logistics, Brown Brothers Harriman and Chair of the NCA NextGen Council, opened the session by providing the audience with a background on the Council’s formation, their goals from the NCA Board, and next steps.

He also gave a ‘state of the union’ on what the Council is up to, and shared that (happily) more than 50 Next Gen members are directly involved in Committees.  And if you aren’t already, send a note to Matt Cariani, Mcariani@ncausa.org for more info.

[Ed. note: Check out Brandon’s interview about the mission of Next Gen, and what to expect next]

From here, Michael Gaviña, the youngest NCA Chair in the association’s history, shared his leadership story – including how he got involved with the NCA, why he always raises his hand to contribute, and how he navigated his way to one of the top leadership roles in the industry.


Michael Gaviña, NCA Chair, speaking at the NCA 2018 Convention in New Orleans

“The coffee industry is changing at a rapid pace, which can be intimidating, but there are lot of positive aspects to change.  The fact is you’re different today than you were yesterday,” Gaviña told The First Pull. “These are all exciting things to be a part of, with the new opportunities for leadership.  There’s never been a better time to get involved, to be part of change.  And there’s room at the table.


Bob Pierce, BUNN

Next up was Bob Pierce, SVP of North American Sales at BUNN, who spoke about career talent management. 

Finally, John Lyons, a VP at Brown Brothers Harriman, explained the basics of investing at a young age.  He covered everything from personal balance sheets to the difference between owning Apple stock and Bitcoin (and probably spent as much time speaking as answering great questions from the crowd).  

Overall, it was a morning well spent (and there was plenty of coffee). The NextGen attendees heard from interesting speakers on topics uniquely important and relevant to them, while making new connections with colleagues from across industry.

NCA Next Gen in New Orleans

In addition to the first educational session, many NextGen members participated in the NCA Coffee Gives Back Day of Service, which is an annual tradition. This year, the NCA partnered with The Homer A. Plessy Community School, a progressive charter school in the 7th Ward of New Orleans, on a successful school beautification project. Volunteers worked together on projects from painting to planting, to improve the daily learning environment for local children and give back to the NCA Convention host city.


The NCA Coffee Gives Back Day of Service at the Plessy School

Later that evening, many attendees joined the the NextGen at The Maison on Frenchman Street, to enjoy some NOLA-style networking over refreshments and local music. 

Get Involved

The NCA NextGen is just getting started. We’re planning to roll out similar events at different coffee conventions around the country, with the NCA Annual Convention continuing to be the flagship session. (Mark your calendar to join us next year in Atlanta, March 5-7!)

For more updates and opportunities to get involved, stay tuned to the monthly NCA NextGen newsletter.

In the meantime, we encourage you to get involved! You can start by following the @nationalcoffeeusa on Instagram, and tag your coffee photos with #NCAUSA to help grow our online community. 

And if you have ideas on topics you’d like to hear about, don’t be shy! We want to hear from you. Send a note to Matt Cariani, Mcariani@ncausa.org. And if you haven’t already, sign up to join the NCA Next Generation, or learn more about the group. (Please note that NCA membership is not required for general membership.)

Up Next

Join the NCA Next Generation at the 2018 SCA Coffee Expo in Seattle for a networking Event!

Where: Tap House Grill, 1506 6th Avenue Seattle, WA 98101
When: Friday, April 20 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Learn more about the NCA Next Generation group for young professionals

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