Meet the NCA Next Generation: Amber Gray, Starbucks

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The following Q&A is from the NCA Next Generation Group, a National Coffee Association initiative to engage and support young professionals and emerging leaders across the coffee industry. 

Join the NCA Next Generation Council for young professionals in the coffee industry at the NCA 2019 Convention in Atlanta on Friday, March 8.


Amber Gray
Mgr Sr Coffee Operations, Starbucks
NCA Next Gen Council Member

How and when did you get involved with the coffee industry?

I got involved in coffee in 2013 when I joined Atlas Coffee Importers in north Seattle.

Having a culinary degree, I was trying to find an opportunity that would allow me to stay connected to the food and beverage industry, but still utilized my analytical background.

I worked in their Logistics department, managing and coordinating orders from green coffee warehouses to various customers across the US.

What interested you in joining the NCA Next Generation group, and then becoming part of the council?

I found out about the Next Gen council opportunity while on an origin trip in Costa Rica. Experiencing the first 10 feet of coffee inspired me to find a way to contribute more to the larger conversation.

I hope to help inspire the next generation, especially women, to get involved in coffee and supply chain.

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Building a Legacy of Leadership: NCA Chair on Family Values and Coffee’s Next Generation

Join the NCA Next Generation council for a professional development breakout session and networking event at the NCA Convention in Atlanta, GA

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Michael Gaviña delivering his General Session remarks at the 2018 NCA Convention

Exclusive Q&A: Michael Gaviña, F. Gaviña & Sons

“We really have something special, we have a very collegial industry that is passionate about a product that our customers hold dearly.”


Michael Gaviña is the current of the National Coffee Association. He is a fourth-generation executive at F. Gaviña & Sons, Inc. (FGS), responsible for pricing raw materials and managing inventory. A Coffee Quality Institute Q grader, he joined FGS in 2002 as a buyer. He is has served as CFO of DF Roasters since 2015.

Here, talks to Next Generation Council Communications subcommittee member Kyle Bawot about what he’s learned over his career, the challenges ahead for coffee businesses, and his hope for next generation of industry leaders.

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Meet the Real Bill Murray

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Bill Murray speaking at the 2018 NCA Convention in Atlanta

Behind the scenes with the President & CEO of the National Coffee Association USA


William (Bill) Murray has served as President and CEO of the National Coffee Association (NCA) since 2014, following leadership positions at the Public Relations Society of America and the Motion Picture Association.

And clearly he’s kept caffeinated. In a few short years, the NCA has evolved as an organization to provide enhanced member benefits and educational opportunities, while also serving as a critical advocate on key industry issues like the Prop. 65 labeling case in California.

Here, he talks to Zach Olsen, Regional Sales Manager at Bunn USA and incoming Chair of the NCA Next Generation Council, about his career, the coffee industry, and Caddyshack.

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Meet the NCA Next Generation: Shelby Westfeldt Mills

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Mardi Gras World at the NCA 2018 Convention

The following Q&A is from the NCA Next Generation Group, a National Coffee Association initiative to engage and support young professionals and emerging leaders across the coffee industry. 

 

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Shelby Westfeldt Mills
President, Coffee/Tea Trader
Westfeldt Brothers, Inc.
NCA Next Gen Council

Interviewed by Janet Colley Morse


How and when did you get involved with the coffee industry?

It was right after Katrina in 2005 and I was living in New York City interviewing for jobs in advertising. My dad had to relocate Westfeldt Brothers to North Carolina, and asked if I would work on the New York Board of Trade (now the ICE) as a clerk and assist WBI.

I put everything on hold and started immediately. I fell in love with it!

If you ask how I ended up at Westfeldt Brothers, that was probably because my mom made my dad give me a job.

What interested you in joining the NCA Next Gen group and then becoming part of the council?

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Convention Networking: A Practical Guide

NCA Networking

By William “Bill” Murray, President & CEO, NCA

This post was originally published on LinkedIn

For over twenty years, I worked for the motion picture industry. Networking has always been the lifeblood of Hollywood – even while it was maddeningly difficult.

Take film industry conventions.

Hollywood has a couple of typical industry conferences, but most gatherings revolve around film festivals – often in glamorous, expensive places. There’s seldom a big exhibit hall with vendors – instead, filmmakers show clips of their work in private rooms, writers “pitch” scripts in one-on-one meetings, and deals are made at unadvertised parties.

There’s a secretive, fluid mystery to everything that’s happening, and always the sense that you are missing something. That uncertainty is complemented by the chaos of autograph seekers, paparazzi, and publicists all jockeying for attention. Unless you know how to “work” a film festival, you might as well stay home.

While networking at film festivals and association conventions may seem to have little in common, there is one key aspect in which they are similar: if you plan to network at either, you’ll need to have a strategy and go prepared.

For association conventions, here’s what’s key:

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What I Wish I Knew: Advice From Coffee Shop Owners

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The following post originally appeared in full on the Bond Street Small Business Blog

Starting a coffee business is not for the faint of heart. It will bring blood, sweat, and tears (plus a lot of caffeine).

Yet, there’s still something that makes the pursuit worthwhile.

And as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. So what better way to truly learn what it takes to successfully build a coffee business than to turn to those who know best?

The editors at Bond Street asked individuals behind some of America’s best cups  to share what they wish they knew before opening their coffee shops, or other caffeine-infused operations. The result is 33 pieces of advice that all aspiring entrepreneurs would benefit from knowing.

From mistakes made to tricks of the trade, you’re bound to discover at least one nugget of wisdom that will save you time, money, energy, and quite possibly your sanity — or all of the above.

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