#TheCoffeewoman was first hosted in KCMO, during the USCC Qualifiers, in February of this year. It was an opportunity to have an open and honest conversation. I personally learned so much from the amazing woman who spoke. I wanted to share some of those take aways:
The first was about taking risk. It was a very common and powerful theme throughout the night. It became very clear to me that many of the woman shared in the opinion that often times we, us, ourselves, are the one holding us back the most. We tend to need more time, more information, more skill set, before we are ready to put our ourselves out there.
Hailee Bland Walsh spoke of the difference between being brave and fearlessness. Fear is very much a part of being brave and taking risk. Often times being brave can be the scariest thing we do. It’s a good fear. Sarah Kluth expanded on this idea when talking about risk management. What’s on the line here? Your ego? Worried about people judging you? Worried about failing? Are any of those things big enough to hold you back from pursuing your dreams and passions? A resounding “HELL NO!”.
Hailee looked at failure as a stepping stone in her life. That failure was not the opposite of successes. On the flip side, when I asked Andrea Allen, who later went to take second place in the US Barista Competition, the candid question about if she could in fact be the WBC knowing the time commitment it would entail, she answered gracefully. “Yes, I could…but would I? I’m not sure.” In the end the risk here is loosing time with her family, her child, her business. That risk might be too big to bare. We all have to know our boundaries.
Speaking of boundaries, everyone jumped in on the conversation of boundaries in the workplace. The coffee industry can be very casual, and we love that! However, we all need to understand that a causal work environment does not justify insensitivity. If a coworker says something to us that makes us feel uncomfortable we experience the internal struggle of “Do I say something? Do I let it slide? I don’t want to offend someone.” We all agreed we woman need to have each others back in these situations. Speaking up for others when they become stunned speechless.
These boundaries can become different as we visit Burundi or Guatemala where cultural differences come into play. Ultimately, it’s about being understanding, speaking up when things have gone too far, and supporting one another. The men that joined us this night voiced their openness to understand and respecting these boundaries.
The last question I asked my panel was “What would it mean to have a female WBC?” Holly Bastin spoke to the impact that this would have on the entire coffee community across the globe. For coffee woman in all parts of the world. Parts of the world where we see even fewer woman participating in all aspects of this industry. It’s meaningful for woman to have someone to look up to. To have a role model. Someone to strive to be like. It challenges us. It encourages us.
The in person #TheCoffeewoman event was a time for bonding, connecting, and working through the tough questions and concepts we face in our daily lives. This event later branched into this online format so we that we could bring this conversation to the masses. However, that need for intimate, personal connection still stands. That is why we are asking others to host #TheCoffeewoman events in their own communities. Here’s how:
The Coffeewoman Events
Purpose…to support, encourage, and inspire female coffee professionals
Through… events that promote a conversation representative of different viewpoints, which encourage diversity and inclusion, and cover a wide range of topics related to the coffee industry, competitions, leadership, etc.
Supported by…Thecoffeewoman.com an online platform, newsletter, and social media presence that promotes and features female coffee professionals
We encourage others to host their own local #thecoffeewoman events.
Let us know if you plan to host one and we will:
•provide our logo and other available marketing assets
•promote your event on our website and social media
•feature photos, articles, and videos from your events on our website
When hosting an event be mindful to keep our purpose in at the core: support, encourage, and inspire. So please…
•Be positive and professional
•Be thoughtful about diversity and inclusion in all forms
•Be mindful the topic isn’t women but rather issues important to the coffee industry voiced through different perspectives
And more specifics…
The Coffeewoman provides promotional support and connection to the broader community. You are the host of the event. Venue, logistics, speakers, and local promotion are the exciting things in front of you!
Let’s do this…
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or via our “contact us” page on our website
Thank you for your partnership to TheCoffeewoman.
Laila & Tracy