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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ICO International Coffee Day Highlights Women in Coffee

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Demonstrate Your Commitment to Supporting #WomenInCoffee with the IWCA

By Melissa Pugash & Margaret Swallow, Co-Founders, International Women’s Coffee Alliance


Monday, October 1, 2018 is the International Coffee Organization’s 4th Annual International Coffee Day.

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.

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International Women’s Coffee Alliance Celebrates 15-Year Anniversary: Looking Back and Moving Forward

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By IWCA Co-Founders Melissa Pugash and Margaret SwallowIWCA logo

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.

In that spirit, the ICO announced that “Women in Coffee” is the theme for International Coffee Day 2018 on October 1.

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How a Nonprofit Is Fighting “One of the Great Inequities in Health Care” For Women Coffee Producers

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Photo: Grounds for Health via Evan Gilman, @evan.gilman

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.

NCA Origin Charity of the Year Award Winner

The NCA Origin Charity of the Year Award is part of the NCA Coffee Gives Back Showcase & Award Program, to recognize the outstanding impact of nonprofits dedicated to supporting coffee communities at origin. (Learn more about NCA Coffee Gives Back Showcase & Award eligibility and application requirements.)

“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. 

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The Future (of Coffee) is Female

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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).

However, through hard work and persistence, we’re beginning to see a powerful (and empowering) change across the industry.  These inspiring initiatives are fueled by new (and overdue) research on women in coffee, which gives us critical data to measure real impact.

But there is still a long way to go.

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Grounds for Health Receives $200k Challenge Grant to Support Innovation in 2018

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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.

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Breaking New Ground in Gender Research in Coffee

The following is a guest post submitted to The First Pull. See our guest post guidelines

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Women coffee farmers in Rwanda. Source: IWCA

By Ruth Ann Church and Josiane Cotrim Macieira, The International Women’s Coffee Alliance

In coffee, the women who perform much of the labor – up to 70%, according to the ITC’s Coffee Exporters’ Guide – to grow, harvest, process, and export coffee are all too often invisible.

Few organizations are focused on collecting or publishing data specifically on the women involved in the supply chain for commodities like coffee; and there has been little to no funding allocated to this task. Even in Brazil, the world’s largest coffee producing country, the lack of data makes one believe that women do not exist.

Experts agree that women are the greatest untapped resource available to avert challenges to the global coffee industry. But the lack of data on women makes it impossible to understand their impact  in the value chain. This leads to under-performance in the coffee industry, much like how poor recognition of contributions in any industry can cause lagging productivity.

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Women’s Work: The Economic Imperative for Gender Equity in Coffee

“Gender equality is both a fundamental human right and a necessary foundation of an economically prosperous coffee community.”

Robério Oliveira Silva, former Executive Director of the International Coffee Organization (ICO)

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This International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the work of women in coffee, and to advocate for gender equality across the entire supply chain.

But how can the coffee industry go beyond the hashtag and create systemic opportunities for women to thrive?

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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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