By Joanna Furgiuele
The SCAA Expo is the most exciting coffee event of the year, bringing together a diverse and passionate community of coffee professionals from around the world. It is about learning, sharing, connecting, and growing in this unique specialty coffee market. There are an incredible number of events, lectures, classes, and other opportunities for attendees to continue shaping their role in this continuously evolving industry.
One special area that is specifically designed to foster meaningful exchange is the Re:co Symposium Fellowship Program. Symposium is an event that brings together thought leaders in the industry to engage in dialogue and collaborative efforts, sparking innovation and long-term strategy development. The Fellowship Program is an avenue to encourage growth in the community that is attending Symposium, providing access to those who would not normally be able to attend for financial or other reasons. The intention is to expand the experience and perspectives included in discussions at Symposium.
The group of fellows is always incredible, but this year’s group is quite remarkable. The diversity of knowledge, skills, and interests is sure to challenge current systems and inspire new ideas. The fellows are actively working on issues from community development to gender equality to environmental steward- ship and food security. They are producers, entrepreneurs, academics, business professionals, baristas, and lovers of coffee representing over 12 countries. Most importantly, they are enthusiastic, highly motivated, curious, and committed to making coffee better.
In its third year, the Fellowship Program is introducing a new mentorship component, which
is included as a way to connect current leadership with the next generation of leaders. Mentorship is designed to establish rapport and community prior to the event, as well as increase communication among fellows and attendees during the event. Fellows and mentors engage in introductory conversations prior to Symposium, and connect in person with activities facilitated by SCAA with the help of key partners. Also, for the first time this year, a Fellows Talk took place the evening prior to Symposium. This is a series of short talks by 5 fellows that high-lighted the variety of expertise and interests of the group.
The Fellows Program is possible thanks to the generosity of S&D Coffee and Tea. The Re:co Symposium registration fee is completely underwritten by S&D for all 39 Fellows, up from 25 last year, clearly expressing their commitment to specialty coffee. S&D also sponsors a Fellows Lounge, which is a space for attendees to listen to live feed of the talks and at the same time feel free to converse, connect, and sample coffee.
To learn more about the 2016 Re:co Symposium Fellows, please visit recosymposium.org.
Joanna Furgiuele is a past recipient of the Randy Wirth Memorial Fellowship and is serving as the volunteer Re:co Symposium Fellowship Manager for 2016.