Update on the 2019-2020 SCA Board of Directors Elections

Update: Thanks to all who joined us on October 17 to meet the slate during a special webinar. If you missed the webinar, watch the recording above.


Translations available: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Russian, Spanish

As presented on a webinar on August 30, the elections process for the 2019–2020 SCA Board of Directors is the first to take place at board level since the unification of the SCAA and SCAE in 2017. The SCA Board nominated a slate of six candidates that includes Asli Yaman of KiMMA Coffee Roasters, Pamela Chng of Bettr Barista, Katie Booser of Bellwether Coffee, Khalid Al Mulla of Easternmen Trading, Vava Angwenyi of Vava Coffee, and Vera Espindola Rafael of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food in Mexico (SAGARPA).

The slate is now joined by two petition candidates: Mbula Musau of Utake Coffee Limited, and Choi, Seongil of Choi Coffee Company. According to the SCA Bylaws, anyone not selected to be on the slate may petition to be added to the ballot. Both Mbula and Choi received over one hundred signatures during the petition period, and their names will be included on the ballot alongside the slate recommended by the Nominating Committee.

When elections open on November 1, all eligible voting members will choose six of the eight candidates to join the SCA Board of Directors.

Dozens of SCA members responded to the call for nominations in June, and over the month of July, the Nominating Committee interviewed each candidate and evaluated its selections based on competency, geographic and membership representation, and experience. In line with the SCA’s diversity and inclusion values, the committee also sought balance in gender and generational representation as well as the inclusion of people of color.

Read the updated candidate profiles below and meet them during a special webinar we are hosting on Monday, October 15, 2018. Register here.

Asli Yaman – Slate Candidate

Istanbul, Turkey

Asli Yaman is from Istanbul, Turkey. She earned an MBA from Istanbul Bilgi University, where her dissertation analyzed the international proliferation of Starbucks. She began her career in coffee 12 years ago as the Trainer and R&D Department Manager at Turkey’s first specialty coffee wholesale roaster and retailer. She worked with Soyuz Coffee Roasting (SCR) as Director of Production, where she managed coffee buying, production, and quality control of SCR’s specialty coffee line. After five years in Kaliningrad, she is now working on her own project to increase knowledge within the coffee community.

In March 2014, she attended the National Brewers Cup Championship in Turkey where she took first place for the second time in a row. Following her success in the national championship, Asli represented Turkey in Rimini, Italy at World Brewers Cup Championship 2014 where she achieved third place in the finals.

Asli is a member of the judging panel at Turkey’s National Championships. She also runs SCA CDS courses in Introduction to Coffee, Green Coffee, Sensory Skills, and Roasting and Brewing. Yaman worked as SCA Turkey Education Coordinator and is a Coffee Quality Institute Licensed Q Arabica Grader. Asli is co-founder of KiMMA Coffee Roasters. 

Pamela Chng – Slate Candidate


Pamela has over 18 years of start-up and business experience. She is the co-founder of Bettr Barista, a for-profit social business and specialty coffee company in Singapore that aims to change lives through coffee. Bettr Barista empowers lives through its holistic vocational programs for marginalized women and youth. It nurtures direct and sustainable trade across its supply chain, builds community, and encourages socially conscious consumption wherever it operates.

Prior to founding Bettr Barista, Pamela co-founded, ran and grew a successful web consultancy, Digital Boomerang. A sociologist by training, Pamela is very passionate about solving problems and is constantly excited about the possibilities that social businesses present to the betterment of business and society.

Trained in Melbourne, Singapore, Italy, and the US in various aspects of the coffee industry, Pamela is a World Barista Championship Certified Sensory Judge, World Coffee in Good Spirits Sensory Judge, Licensed Q Arabica Grader, WDA ACTA-certified Trainer and Assessor, and an SCA Certifier and Authorised Trainer.

Katie Booser – Slate Candidate

Oakland, United States of America

Katie Booser’s career in coffee started with Blue Bottle 15 years ago. She helped lay the foundation for the company, and worked in a variety of critical positions throughout her time there. Her roles spanned from Head Retail Manager, creating and implementing operations framework for the business in its formative years, to Director of Operations, managing retail, production, and wholesale departments. These positions led her to become VP of People Operations and Chief Operating Officer for the company. Throughout her diverse roles, she was critical to the expansion of the company, from the Bay Area to LA, New York and Japan.

Since her time at Blue Bottle, she has become a small business consultant who works with companies in a wide variety of industries to develop a strategy for growth that brings people together with operations. Katie believes that a strong link between operations and culture creates an environment of collaboration and purpose. People who feel cared for and respected are more productive, stay with the company longer and are invested beyond the potential for financial gain.

Khalid Al Mulla – Slate Candidate

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Khalid Al Mulla is the CEO of Easternmen & Co. and the Dubai Coffee Museum, which is well known to most members of the coffee community in the wider UAE region, as it is one of its kind in the region. He is the National Coordinator of the SCA UAE Chapter. Since 2009 Khalid has grown his coffee enterprise by establishing Easternmen & Co.

Since late 2013 Khalid has played a major role in bringing the specialty coffee community to the UAE through various events such as the National Coffee Championships and the World Championships. Khalid sees coffee as an integral part of the culture and believes it should be celebrated and preserved for future generations. 

Vava Angwenyi – Slate Candidate

Nairobi, Kenya

Photo: Michael B. Maine

In 2009, Vava Angwenyi started Vava Coffee, a social enterprise that trades, roasts, and consults on coffee value chains, and whose main aim is to contribute to better future prospects for coffee communities and the industry as a whole. Vava Coffee has been recognized over the years for its grassroots initiatives and contribution to smallholder farming communities and youth in agriculture. Vava is also the co-founder and Director of Business Development and Fundraising at Gente Del Futuro (People of the Future). Formed in 2017, Gente Del Futuro is an organization born out of a partnership between African Plantations Kilimanjaro and Vava Coffee, two private sector players within the coffee industry. Its aim is to tackle two of the main problems the coffee industry faces: producer profitability and next-generation involvement. Gente Del Futuro’s focus is to amplify the voices of youth by creating economic empowerment, choices, and sustainability for the coffee industry. The organization offers young people a unique and one-of-a-kind learning opportunity by fusing coffee cultures and knowledge from three different growing origins: Tanzania, Kenya, and Colombia.

Vava’s vision is to challenge the status quo and promote positive social disruption within the coffee industry. This vision comes from an inborn passion for transformative change and a drive to promote the sustainable production of coffee at various origins by tracing the production of high quality coffee beans to the independent smallholder coffee farmer. Such farmers work day in and day out, against major obstacles and with meager resources, to produce some of the world’s best-tasting coffees, often without an understanding or appreciation of the final fruits of their labor.

Vava holds an MSc in International Finance and Management from University of Groningen, as well as a Certificate in Global Asset Management from Warrington College of Business in University of Florida, and a BSc in Statistics and Actuarial Science from University of Western Ontario, Canada.

Vava is a Licensed Q Grader and was part of the 2015 International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), a prestigious State Department-sponsored program. Vava also serves as an Advisory Committee member for the SCA’s Sustainability Advisory Council, and she served on the SCA’s Events Site Criteria Ad Hoc Committee.

Vera Espindola Rafael – Slate Candidate

Mexico City, Mexico

In 2016 Vera began work with the  Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food in Mexico (SAGARPA) on the Plan Integral de Atención al Café (Plan for the Care of Coffee). She focuses on harmonizing the elements of sustainable coffee production in this national coffee program which has the ambition to revive the Mexican coffee sector by increasing productivity in a sustainable manner. Additionally, she oversees its market strategy. In 2017, the activities expanded towards other key crops, for example cocoa, palm oil, and grapes under the Agricultural Plan (Planeación Agrícola Nacional 2017–2030) of the Secretariat. She is also part of the Mexican delegation at the International Coffee Organization.

Vera has a master’s degree in Development Economics and a bachelor’s degree in International Business. She has previously worked for Anacafé in Guatemala, researching the coffee supply chain and its added value for coffee producers. She later worked on the sustainability program UTZ, now called the Rainforest Alliance, as Regional Manager for Latin America.

Since October 2015 Vera has been an active member of the SCA’s Sustainability Advisory Council, and she leads the work on the Farm Profitability stream.

Mbula Musau – Petition Candidate

Nairobi, Kenya

Mbula is the Founder and Director of Utake Coffee Limited, the first certified SCA Premier Teaching Campus in Africa with a resident Q instructor and Authorized SCA Trainer (AST). Mbula has a Degree in Business (Nairobi University), Masters in Development Management (Open University, UK) and a CPA Qualification (Strathmore Business School, Kenya). Her work and leadership as a coffee professional is focused on the sustainability of the specialty coffee sector through empowerment, coffee education, gender equity advocacy and fair recognition of efforts as an important coffee producing region. An SCA member and Coffee Corps Volunteer, Mbula actively promotes and implements programs such as CQI’s Q Grader Courses, SCA Coffee Skills Program, World Coffee Events competitions and Farmer Trainings. She has organized and often judges at coffee cupping competitions, including Taste of Harvest and Cup of Excellence, to identify and promote the best coffees from Africa, raising the profile and earnings of exemplary producers.

Mbula works with governments to increase their active participation in specialty coffee promotion, including SCA Expo and Portrait Country involvement. She spearheaded the formation of the International Women in Coffee Alliance (IWCA) chapters in Africa and serves as the Chapter Facilitator enabling equitable engagement of women in the sector.

Choi, Seongil – Petition Candidate

Seoul, South Korea

Choi is active in Seoul, Korea and has a Ph.D. in research on the coffee franchise ongoing support system. He started a coffee in a company that produced ceramic cups for coffee in 1995 and worked on the spot as an espresso machine repair worker and a coffee shop barista. In 2005, Choi was the first to conduct a barista qualification test and in 2006 he registered Korea’s first coffee education company with the Ministry of Education. Choi spoke at the Korean National Assembly to raise the barista’s social position as “Suggestion for improvement of social position of barista” and now he is vice-chairman of Korea Coffee Roaster Alliance. He has been a member of the SCA since 2008 and has worked as a WBC judge from 2009 to 2012 and as coordinator for the SCAE Korea Chapter for five years from 2011. During this period, he not only made a lot of ASTs, but also increased the number of members of the SCA.

Choi has improved his educational ability by passing through IDP of SCAA and the Job Training Trainer of the Korean Government. Currently, he is cultivating a good barista as a coffee trainer at Seoul Barista School. Currently, he is most active in the selection and purchase of green coffee in coffee producing areas, and especially interested in the support of organic coffee and farmers.

Don’t miss our webinar on October 15 to meet the candidates for the 2019-2020 SCA Board of Directors elections. Click here to register now.

Do you have questions about the elections process? Get in touch with our Member Services team at membership@sca.coffee. The election process and procedure is outlined in detail in the SCA bylaws as published on our website here: https://sca.coffee/bylaws.

JAMES HUMPOLETZ is the Chief Membership and Communications Officer at the Specialty Coffee Association.

Translations available: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean, Russian, Spanish

Visit the Specialty Coffee Association Board of Directors Election Portal for the most up-to-date elections information. Click on the various tabs to familiarize yourself with the process and timeline. Voting will open on November 1, 2018.