How do you take your coffee?
My favourite morning ritual is a cup of Starbucks’ Sumatra with nothing in it. The earthy notes with hints of cedar remind me of spending time with my family at our cottage. The cedar notes are a part of my Indigenous traditional teachings of our four medicines: sage, sweet grass, tobacco and cedar. The cedar aromas bring cleansing notes to start my day.
Has the Canadian coffee landscape changed in terms of diversity & inclusion since you've started working 16 years ago?
In the last few years, there are many new Indigenous roasters and coffee companies that are opening across the country, who are giving back to communities within Canada. They support these communities by helping to close gaps that exist, such as access to clean water, or have struggled with access to resources, including technology that supports education or employment opportunities
At Starbucks, over the last few years the virtual world evolved. We now have more access and connection directly with our Farmers, Roasters and Global communities. This has helped to support with the connection and storytelling of the individuals who have a role in your morning cup of coffee.
Personally, I have seen the support and efforts that Starbucks has in place to give partners (what we call our employees) the space and opportunity to be their authentic self. I have seen this evolve over the last few years with our Partner Networks that provide a sense of community for partners to share and feel seen. There is also space for partners to learn and grow as allies. It is together that we will create change for a stronger Future.
If you could work towards ONE thing to increase diversity & inclusion in Canadian coffee, what would this be?
We have an opportunity to continue to share and show what is possible within the Canadian coffee space. There needs to be work done in the space of Reconciliation to build relationships that are built in mutual trust and respect. This work is for our Indigenous communities to continue to heal and for our allies to continue to educate and use their voice to support awareness and change.
Starbucks and the Canadian Indigenous Partner Network have worked together to mentor Indigenous youth and to support their journey to be represented – whether that’s in the coffee industry or in their fields of interest. The more that we can create opportunities to uplift each other and be a disruptor when we are missing voices or representation, the more we will continue to create space for everyone.