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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What’s Ahead for Coffee’s Next Generation

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” — Bill Gates

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Meet the crema of the crop.

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The NCA Next Generation initiative was launched last year to help support talented young professionals who are passionate about the coffee industry. (NCA membership is not a prerequisite to join.)

Led by a volunteer board of emerging leaders, the Next Gen group has worked for the past year to develop new networking opportunities, professional development programming, and NCA social media initiatives.

The first Next Gen Breakout Session will be held at the NCA 2018 Annual Convention on March 15 in New Orleans. The educational session will include leadership lessons, investment insights for a young adults, and information on how to get involved.

Here, Brandon Jackson, Vice President in Commodities & Logistics, Brown Brothers Harriman, and the first Chair of the NCA Next Gen Committee, talks about why we need new voices to help guide the coffee industry’s future – and what to expect next.

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Looking Ahead: Your Business is Our Business

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

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What’s ahead for your business?

As you look to the months and years to come, what are the greatest challenges you are facing, the biggest opportunities you see?

And how are you going to build the future you envision for your organization?

We’re in the midst of this very exercise here at the National Coffee Association, USA. Our current Strategic Plan was written three years ago. At that time our priority was to evolve NCA, rapidly and efficiently, and catch up with a changing world.

Our 2015-2017 plan called for us to update our infrastructure and communications (websites, newsletters, social media) and add member benefits (discount programs, Coffee Career Center, Business Directory, webinars).

Even as we were making these changes over the past three years, our day-to-day agenda grew exponentially. We took on new projects ranging from science and health issues (like last year’s review of coffee and cancer by the World Health Organization), to Federal regulatory developments (like the proposed Border Adjustment Tax).

All of which raises the question:

What’s next for the NCA?

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What Does Leadership Mean For the Coffee Industry?

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Coffee – a beverage with a history of hundreds of years – is in the midst of a period of unprecedented change.

That change has unlocked deeper value and choice for business and consumers,even as it presents unprecedented challenges that continually shape the headlines: Climate change. La roya. Sustainability. GMO legislation. Gender inequality. Volatile prices.

All businesses struggle to identify and train leaders. But for the coffee sector, leaders deal with a complex array of variables, threats and opportunities – making leadership essential for the industry’s future.

At the NCA Convention, we talk a lot about professional leaders and industry leadership.

But what exactly does leadership mean today?

Here, 5 members of the NCA Board of Directors share why leadership matters to the coffee industry:  Continue reading