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.
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?
Hosted by the ICO, “International Coffee Day is a global celebration of coffee’s long journey from the farm to your local shop — an opportunity to honor the women and men who grow and harvest the coffee we love.”
The seventy-seven member states of the ICO selected “Women in Coffee” as the theme for this year’s International Coffee Day.
By IWCA Co-Founders Melissa Pugash and Margaret Swallow
This is a year in which businesses and nonprofits are reviewing and reimagining the roles that women play within their organizations. As co-founders, we’re pleased that the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) was a pioneer in bringing the role of women in our industry into the national and global spotlight.
Supporting Coffee Communities at Origin: Q&A with Grounds For Health, the 2018 NCA Origin Charity of The Year Award Winner
The National Coffee Association is proud to recognize Grounds For Health as the first-ever recipient of the NCA Origin Charity of the Year Award, for their work providing cervical cancer screenings and treatment for women working in the coffeelands. The 2018 award is generously sponsored by Mother Parker’s Tea & Coffee, and was presented by Michael Gaviña, NCA Chair, on March 16 at the NCA 2018 Annual Convention in New Orleans.
“Our work in the coffee regions of Latin American and East Africa has been supported in great measure by the coffee industry,” says Ellen Starr, Executive Director, Grounds for Health, in the NCA news release. “Our relationship demonstrates just how much social change can be achieved when an industry fundamentally cares about its people at every step of the supply chain.”
Here, Star discusses what it’s like treating one of the greatest health care inequities facing developing nations, her experience working with the coffee community, and how the organization is scaling up.
Why International Women’s Day matters to the coffee industry
Women are essential to the coffee supply chain – but too often their contributions go unrecognized and unrewarded. Disenfranchisement and gender inequity are perpetuated through a myriad of economic, systemic, and cultural issues (from the insidious to the overt).
Grounds for Health, an international NGO dedicated to the prevention of cervical cancer in developing countries, is embarking on a large fundraising campaign and it began with a bang. A very generous supporter offered to match every donation received before January 2018, up to $200,000.
Thanks to strong local health partners and coffee industry support, Grounds for Health has successfully screened over 80,000 women and treated more than 6,000 women in low resource settings since 1996.