SCAA Lecture Series Offers Engaging Sessions Included in the Price of Admission


By Andrew Hetzel, Café Makers

This year’s SCAA Event Lecture series promises to be one of the best in the association’s history, offering a variety of engaging topics that provide practical solutions to business challenges or encourage discussion of important issues facing our industry, all presented by knowledgeable experts in their respective fields.

Returning from last year’s record-setting attendance of more than 4,000 lecture participants, the series has been relocated to a larger venue, The Conference Center, directly across the street (or over the skybridge) from the Washington State Convention Center. (Many will recognize the site as the location of the 2014 SCAA Symposium, which will be held at Benaroya Hall this year.) From the Conference Center, we’re able to offer presentation rooms double or triple in size those housing last year’s lectures, in facilities that will be more comfortable and offer enhanced audiovisual capabilities.

Over one hundred session proposals are received each year by SCAA between June and September, which are reviewed and selected by the Lecture Committee, a volunteer panel of 15 to 20 association members plus staff and board representatives. Only 40 total lecture slots are available, including eight that are reserved for sustainability topics (curated by the Sustainability Council) and two others reserved for the annual portrait country sponsor. The high-quality bar set by those who submit speaker proposals makes the task of choosing the right lineup for thousands of U.S. and visiting international attendees challenging for the committee, as is determining where and when each session appears on the short three-day schedule.

The schedule of lectures includes a diverse selection of subjects meant to educate and motivate attendees from every membership category. This year’s series includes:

  • Practical advice from sessions like: “How to Mitigate Coffee Price Volatility: A Case Study,” by Julio Serna that can help improve your company’s bottom line
  • New, provocative ideas, from sessions including: “Discovering Specialty Robusta: A Global View of the Ongoing Quality Movement with the Infamous Coffee Species”
  • Engaging discussions, including: “Building Vibrant Coffee Communities Through Improved Gender Equity,” hosted by a panel of gender studies experts and leading industry practitioners
  • Highly-rated returning favorites like: Tom Palm’s “Designing a New Café – Build it Once!”
  • Insightful guidance, from: “Sustainability in Practice: How Sustainability Professionals in Specialty Turn Good Ideas into Better Business Practices,” featuring a panel of recognized sustainability leaders

…and many more.

On behalf of the Lecture Committee and all of our presenters, we hope that you have a positive experience at the 2015 SCAA Lecture Series and we genuinely look forward to your feedback following the Event. Your presentation reviews and other comments will guide us to create an even better program next year in Atlanta. Enjoy the show.

Andrew Hetzel of Café Makers is an SCAA Board Member and the liaison to SCAA’s Global Education and Professional Development Committees.