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SCA announces first LEAD scholars

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has announced the first five recipients of the Leadership Equity and Diversity (LEAD) Scholarship Program.

First announced at the Re:co Symposium in April 2018, LEAD is aimed at increasing diversity of leadership within the global coffee community by enabling access to professional development resources to people from underrepresented or marginalised communities.

The 2018-2020 LEAD Scholars include Karly Ly Quinones, Owner of Café Comunión in Puerto Rico; Lisette Barbera, Assistant Manager of Cartel Coffee Lab in the United States; Smayah Uwajeneza, Senior Barista and Question Coffee in Rwanda; Stephanie Alcala, Graduate Student at the University of Michigan in the US; and Taya Brown, PhD Student at Program Director at the Center for Coffee Research and Education in Guatemala.

“I hope my community sees me as more than a senior barista, I hope they see me leading the fight to forge the futures for Rwandan women and girls through coffee,” Uwajeneza says.

As a global non-profit organisation, SCA recognises that access to membership, coffee events, and education differ for individuals depending on their identity, background, and access to financial resources.

It says the coffee industry has a lot of work to do to diversify its leadership at every point in the value chain, and overcoming these obstacles will require proactive efforts and dedicated resources. LEAD is designed to be a small but important step towards progress in this area.

SCA received more than 60 applications from individuals all over the world, representing a wide range of coffee professions, including baristas, café managers, graduate and PhD students.

After much deliberation, the five recipients were chosen for the two-year program, which includes participation in events and educational activities, as well as career development and expansion of professional networks.

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