Advancing all women podcast

Episode 27

Empowering Women in Coffee

This week, our guests will discuss the experiences of women in the coffee industry, and supporting DEI&B efforts in coffee, from coffee farmers to corporate workplaces.

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Lotta Bengtsson

Lotta Bengtsson

Owner, Newport Coffee House

I grew up in Sweden outside Stockholm. My parents have a fast food wholesale company, so I have always been involved in a family business. Already since first grade my sister and I took turns helping out in the business during the weekends. After high school I went abroad to study Hotel & Restaurant Business Management in England, and got to do internships in London and Guernsey, which have helped me throughout the years in my own businesses.

Coffee and food has always been my passion and in the late 90’s my sister and I started our first cafe/restaurant, Systrarna Lundberg that is still around today with the same name and pretty much the same concept. Sweden has always been a big coffee country and was early out learning about specialty coffee. It was at that time I got my passion for artisan coffee.

In the 2000’s I got married and started a family. I stayed home with our two boys for a few years before we decided to move to Chicago. After a couple of years in retail I decided to continue my passion for specialty coffee and building businesses. I am now running Newport Coffee House with our own roasting, bakery and two shops.

Michelle Burns

Michelle Burns

Executive VP Global Coffee, Tea & Cocoa, Starbucks

Michelle Burns is Executive Vice President of Global Coffee, Tea and Cocoa for Starbucks. In this role Michelle drives the company’s strategy for delivering a diverse portfolio of high-quality, ethically sourced coffee, tea and cocoa to partners and customers around the world. She leads a global team of industry experts responsible for sourcing, developing and roasting coffee; advancing coffee R&D and innovative farming practices; developing and executing programs, initiatives and partnerships to support Starbucks people and planet positive goals thru the lens of farmers and coffee, tea and cocoa communities; and driving partner and customer engagement, education and experiences to bring coffee storytelling to life – all with the aspiration of ensuring a sustainable future of coffee for all.

Michelle is a 26-year Starbucks partner, with much of her career focused on business development and relationship management, driving strategic retail relationships across numerous segments through licensing and foodservice channels. She previously led the Branded Solutions team and has been a key member of the Starbucks Channel Development and Licensed Stores leadership teams.

Contributing more broadly to Starbucks culture, she is the executive sponsor for Starbucks’ Women’s Impact Network (WIN) and also serves on the board of The Starbucks Foundation. Outside of the company, Michelle is a member of the Women’s Foodservice Forum and serves on the Board of Directors for FareStart and the National Coffee Association.

Prior to joining Starbucks, Michelle worked in sales and distribution in the Natural Foods Industry where she first found her passion for coffee. After an expedition to the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard Norway in 2018 and her many conversations with farmers around the world over the course of her career, that passion has grown to include a desire and sense of responsibility to care for the future of our food supply and the many people who grow it.

Michelle has a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from The University of Iowa. Following a great Starbucks journey living in many cities across the country, Michelle, her husband and two children enjoy calling Seattle home. She starts every day in a Starbucks store.

Kelly Marsh

Kelly Marsh

Director, Director of Coffee Experiences and Industry Affairs, Nestlé Coffee Partners

Kelly Marsh is the Director of Coffee Experiences and Industry Affairs for Nestlé Coffee Partners. A contagiously passionate coffee leader in the industry for nearly 20 years, Kelly spends her time educating on all facets of the coffee sector from challenges facing coffee producers at the soil level to tips on creating your personally crafted cup at home.

Her coffee career has been in marketing and sales roles growing coffee brands through community programming, sponsorships, and retailer partnerships. She spent 17 years with Starbucks before joining Nestlé Coffee Partners through the Global Coffee Alliance that formed in 2018 between Nestlé and Starbucks.

An avid champion for inclusion and creating opportunities for women, she was a co-founder of the Starbucks Women’s Impact Network, an employee resource group. Kelly currently serves as Leadership sponsor for the Nestlé Coffee Partners Green Team, and Nestlé employee resource group focused on Sustainability and driving awareness about the impact our choices make on the future of our coffee.

Kelly has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Indiana Wesleyan University. She lives in Seattle with her family and enjoys a freshly brewed cup of Pike Place Starbucks by Nespresso to start her morning.

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