SCAA Leadership Summit 2010 Wrap-up

This past weekend, over 100 coffee professionals from around the world, some of the most involved members of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, came together in Houston, Texas for the annual SCAA committee and council meetings, referred to as the SCAA Leadership Summit (SLS). Last year, around this time, the SCAA introduced a restructuring of the SCAA volunteer leadership. The committees and councils were realigned to better reflect the SCAA’s mission and strategic objectives: Manage a sound organization, provide professional development, compile and communicate information, and build a vibrant specialty coffee community. Over the past year, significant progress has been made in these committees and councils towards this end – evidence of which was apparent in every meeting room throughout the weekend.

The SCAA Events Committee, which works towards the objective of building a vibrant specialty coffee community, was busy at work during SLS, planning and working out details for the SCAA’s annual Exposition and Symposium, The Event, which will be held in Houston, Texas this April. The Professional Development Committee had a jam packed weekend of lesson planning and course development for not only the SCAA’s Event, but for the entire SCAA Skill Building program that brings regional trainings throughout the country and abroad. The Instructor Development Program (IDP) was held once again, the sixth iteration of the course, bringing the number of SCAA Credentialed Instructors to 163! Also in attendance was the United States Barista Competition Head Judges Subcommittee, who trained and tested potential Head Judges for this year’s USBC, which will also be in Houston at The Event. The Lectures Subcommittee worked tirelessly as well to finalize the lecture offerings for the 2011 Event. The Statistics Subcommittee of the Statistics and Standards Committee was also busy at work, helping to develop our SCAA Sector Report: Annual Overview, a comprehensive look at the coffee retailer sector, and outlining areas of opportunity for other statistical information that are relevant to the specialty coffee industry. The Standards Subcommittee was working away at a couple of new standards and finalizing protocols for the SCAA’s Laboratory Certification program, which will be released shortly. The Executive Committee, working towards the objective of managing a sound organization, was busy planning and strategizing new areas of opportunity and growth for the association and its membership.
The SCAA’s Councils are advisory boards that generate ideas and advise the Board of Directors on issues related to their particular interest group, as well as conceive of and elaborate on projects that further their objectives. The Allied Council works closely with the SCAA events team to strategize around The Event, regional events and activities, and other initiatives that pertain to how the Allied community is affected. The Sustainability Council has some exiting projects coming down the pipeline, including the “Greening of Expo” and other initiatives to make the SCAA Event, as well as the organization, more environmentally sustainable. Another exiting project that was born out of this council and has developed at a rapid pace over the past year is the START (Sustainability Tracking and Reporting Tool) project, which is very close to launching to test users who will begin beta-testing the system. The system will launch at The Event 2011 in Houston. The Barista Guild of America Executive Council and Roasters Guild Executive Council reviewed membership initiatives, worked on their events (RG Retreat, BGA Camp, activities at Expo such as Coffees of the Year and the BGA Café) and joined the Professional Development Committee during the Summit to work on their certification programs and improve their course offerings wherever possible. The International Relations Council (IRC) joined the Symposium Subcommittee and the Events Committee during SLS to share their worldly knowledge and experience and contribute suggestions to strengthen the Symposium program, as well as advise on how to make The Event as a whole a valuable experience for international attendees. The IRC also joined in discussions about the Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative, and shared their valuable perspectives on this important work.
Thank you, once again, to our dedicated volunteers who make this kind of progress a reality. We could not do all of this important work with them. If you would like to learn more about becoming a SCAA volunteer or serving on a committee or council, please visit the committee or council page you are interested in and click Request to Join, or contact
PHOTO: Chris Schooley, Vice Chair of the Roasters Guild Executive Council, brews an aeropress in the “Espresso Annex” – which was the most popular room at SLS. Stocked with espresso machines, grinders, and all kinds of manual brewing methods, this room was the place to be between meetings.