From Invisibility Towards Inclusivity: Building Diversity In the Coffee Industry

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Daiane Vital embracing her mother Vanilda de Souza Vital, south of Minal Geraris Brazil. Photo: Danielle Sereio

“The industry must do a better job at telling coffee’s history, beyond those who carried the bean throughout different parts of the world…”
– Phyllis Johnson, BD Imports, NCA Board Member


In the most recent issue, Roast Magazine published an insightful and important article by Phyllis Johnson, NCA board member and BD Imports president & co-founder.

Strong Black Coffee, Why Aren’t African Americans More Prominent in The Coffee Industry?” features perspectives from 14 black coffee professionals.

The following is a summary of the original piece, with new reflections and an update from Johnson’s recent trip to Brazil during International Coffee Week.

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Gender Equity: Strengthening the Links of the Coffee Supply Chain

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Gender equity is good for the coffee business.

The Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE) believes that vibrant farming communities are the key to producing better coffee, and more of it. Therefore, they’re working to address this issue through large-scale collaboration, standardized best practices, and stronger data – starting with the report, “The Way Forward: Accelerating Gender Equity in Coffee Value Chains.”

During a recent NCA webinar, “Gender Equity: Strengthening the Links of the Coffee Supply Chain,” industry experts Kimberly Easson, Samantha Veide, and Chad Trewick discussed key findings, required resources, and where the industry can go from here.

Four highlights emerged from the research:

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Related Reading: Gender Diversity in Coffee

Curated by Melissa Pugash and Margaret Swallow

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Photo: IWCA

Join experts Jane Marvin, Senior Vice President, People and Culture at Peet’s Coffee and Tea; and Henriette Kolb, Head Gender Secretariat, International Finance Corporation for an in-depth in the break-out session titled, “The Business Case for Gender Diversity in the Coffee Sector – Actionable Steps Your Business Can Implement Now” at the NCA 2016 Annual Convention in San Diego, on Friday, March 18, 3 p.m. PDT.

Bring your questions and get the answers you need to foster diversity and inclusion in your company’s workforce. You’ll come away with tips for building the right team, with the right talent for your company’s needs, now and in the future.

For those interested in learning more, here is a curated list of resources on a variety of diversity related topics:

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The Business Case for Diversity in Coffee

By Melissa Pugash and Margaret Swallow

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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?

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