STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 5, Number 2

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 45 of 83

46 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 2, 2016 (April/May) Adam Pesce, director of relationships at Reunion Island Coffee Peter Giuliano, senior director for Re:Co Symposium SCAA members, some of whom have been active as competitors or judges, still express con- cerns about how communication about regional events is being handled. Referring to what has happened in the months after the initial news of regionals being cancelled came out, Christian Ott, director of coffee at Stone Creek Coffee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, said, "Communication really hasn't been the great- est around this — it's been a really big frustration for me and for our company." This misstep and the subsequent announce- ment of a new format for regionals could have derailed the work being done in the early stages of unification exploration. Instead, it served as a learning opportunity. "Once I understood that this was not handled properly, as the president I made this the posterchild for all communication going forward," Allen said. Rhinehart's September 2015 letter to the SCAA membership and the SCAA Unification website are just two of the ways the organization has attempted to increase transparency and com- munication about what has been happening to evaluate the proposed merger. "One of the hard lessons we learned as part of how the barista communications were structured was that [we] have to always put the priority on communication to members because our existence is predicated on benefiting [our] members," said Rhinehart. Both Allen and Rhinehart emphasized that SCAA is an organization of members and that the association takes seriously the need to inform members first of major changes or new initiatives. Of the unification process, Allen said, "The membership has full access to every piece of in- formation that we've discovered and that's on both sides. This [process] would never get off the ground without the support of the membership." What happens next Just because the information is available does not mean that members are reading it or are taking time to provide input. Rhinehart admitted that figuring out the most effective means for solicit- ing input from a membership of more than 8,500 individuals has not been easy. One method both organizations deployed was a survey. According to Rhinehart, membership surveys by trade associations in general struggle to get to a 3% response rate. With more than 700 responses in the SCAA survey, the response rate was more than double that minimum expecta- tion. (The SCAE survey had a similar number of respondents.) Top concerns among both groups included a desire for "proper levels of transpar- ency," ensuring increased value to members, and the ability of the new organization to deliver on demand for educational opportunities. Adam Pesce is director of relationships at Reunion Island Coffee in Toronto, Canada. His company is a member of SCAA and he serves on the board of the Coffee Association of Canada. He is optimistic that a merger between SCAA and SCAE will result in a better pooling of financial and educational resources. Pesce said, "Most [specialty] roasters in Can- ada are part of the SCAA because there is a huge need for all that information. We all benefit from having that available and the only way to get it is through the SCAA." Much of the work happening now is being driven by the opportunity to update SCAA and SCAE members in person in Atlanta, Georgia during the SCAA's annual Expo. There, the first opportunity to hear about the process will be dur- ing Rhinehart's Re:Co talk "On Mergers: Unifica- tions and Acquisitions." Rhinehart confirmed plans to hold a town hall style meeting on the subject of unification, though the final details were not yet confirmed. He said, "It will likely be on Saturday, but stay tuned for details." How can you provide input if you are not going to Atlanta for Expo? Allen suggested, "Read every email you get from the association. Be a member and use that member number, and vote."

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of STiR coffee and tea magazine - Volume 5, Number 2