2015 Speakers

Lorena Aguilar
Global Senior Gender Adviser, IUCN

Lorena has over 30 years of experience in initiatives involving public policy development, building local institutions, and incorporation of social and gender issues into development. She established the IUCN Global Gender Office promoting gender equality and has created the Network of Women Ministers and Leaders of the Environment and the Global Gender and Climate Alliance. She developed strategies for mainstreaming gender in leading organizations including UNISDR, UNEP, CBD and the UNCCD. She supports governments to develop gender policies and create organizational capacity in gender equality and has authored over 70 publications on gender, development, disaster risk, climate change, water, health, and environment.

Colleen Anunu
Researcher and Educator, Colleen Anunu Consulting

Colleen is currently a master’s candidate in International Agriculture and Rural Development at Cornell University. Her research focuses on coffee value chain governance; entry points for supplier upgrading strategies through gender equity and systems of innovation frameworks; and international project design, implementation management, and evaluation. As an independent contractor, Colleen works on various grant-funded projects and research initiatives. Colleen is also an active volunteer for SCAA’s Professional Development committee and served on the Roaster’s Guild Executive Council. She is licensed Q Grader, Q Grader Assistant Instructor, and Coffee Corps volunteer.

Paineto Baluku
Managing Director, Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union

Paineto Baluku has been working in the development sector for over 21 years. He is one of the founders of Bukonzo Joint MicroFinance and is the general manager of Bukonzo Joint Coffee Cooperative in Western Uganda. Bukonzo Joint promotes and is continuing to develop the Gender Action Learning System (GALS), which is one of the leading methodologies of work in gender equality today. He has worked on gender initiatives with Linda Mayoux, Hivos, Oxfam Novib, WEMAN, Twin and other organizations. Most recently Paineto has been carrying out work in Sudan to replicate GALS in order to create added value for fishermen in their supply chains.

Charlotte Biltekoff
Associate Professor, University of California Davis

Charlotte Biltekoff is Associate Professor of American Studies and Food Science and Technology at the University of California Davis. She is author of Eating Right in America: The Cultural Politics of Food and Health (Duke University Press, 2013), an exploration of dietary advice and the changing meaning of “eating right” over the last century. Biltekoff serves on the Advisory Committee for the UC Davis World Food Center, the Executive Committee of the UC Davis Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, and the editorial board of Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies. Biltekoff received her PhD in American Studies from Brown University in 2005. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a chef at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco.


Lindsey Bolger
Vice President Coffee Sourcing and Excellence, Keurig Green Mountain

Lindsey began her coffee career in the Pacific Northwest in 1987 and joined Keurig Green Mountain in 2001. As Vice President of Coffee Sourcing and Excellence, her duties include overseeing coffee sourcing and procurement strategies, coffee planning, supplier relationship management and coffee supply chain capacity development. Lindsey and her team partner with Keurig Green Mountain’s Agricultural Community Outreach Team on opportunities to enhance farmer livelihoods and resilience. Lindsey has served on the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Board of Directors and is the immediate past president of World Coffee Research.

Harry Evans
Dr. / Emeritus Fellow, CAB International

Harry Evans is an Emeritus Fellow at CAB International (UK) and a visiting scientist at the Universidade Federal de Vicosa (Brazil. Dr. Evans has degrees in botany, mycology and plant pathology from the Universities of London, Exeter and Keele. He was seconded for 15 years to the UK Foreign Office as a technical adviser in Ghana, Ecuador, Brazil and Honduras, specializing in cocoa and forest pathology. For 25 years, he was principal scientific officer and group leader at CAB International conducting and coordinating overseas projects on biological control of invasive weeds and pests, mainly in Asia, Australasia and Latin America. More recently, he has undertaken research on the life cycle of coffee leaf rust and is currently involved in a project to assess the potential of classical biological control for its management.

Pierre Ferrari
President / CEO, Heifer International

Pierre Ferrari joined Heifer International as its President and Chief Executive Officer in 2010 with more than 40 years of business experience, ranging from consumer organizations, such as Coca-Cola, to community development venture funds. Ferrari is a current board member of the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund, InterAction, and Global Impact. He is also a former chair and current Board member of Ben and Jerry’s. Ferrari is leading Heifer International to truly end poverty for 4 million families by 2020. To that end, Heifer is leveraging its well-proven values-based community development approach (12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development) and its deep livestock expertise to support communities in building pro-poor wealth-creating value chains. Ferrari holds a master’s degree in Economics from The University of Cambridge and a MBA from Harvard Business School.

Keith Flury
Head of Coffee Research, Volcafe

Keith Flury is Volcafe’s Head of Coffee Research. He has been a researcher for 13 years, focusing primarily on soft commodities. His first interaction with the coffee market was as a barista at Café Roma in Davis, California, later branching into the development industry after studying International Agriculture Development at UCD. Keith received his MSc in Agricultural Economics from the University of Hohenheim in Germany and Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Covering all aspects of the coffee market while working with F.O. Licht in Germany, he came to understand the market and retail forces. After this he worked at BNP Paribas as an Agricultural Strategist in London, supporting the brokerage desk and with Rabobank International helping build strategy and analysis in the soft markets. Currently at Volcafe, he is charged with understanding the supply and demand dynamics that impact price as well as the industry as a whole.

Daniele Giovannucci
President, Committee on Sustainability Assessment

Daniele Giovannucci is President of the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA), a global consortium of 38 institutions advancing systematic measurement tools that balance scientific rigor with business-driven pragmatism. Giovannucci co-founded COSA to create clarity and ignite dialogue for leaders taking action on agricultural sustainability. In the last 15 years, he has served as strategic adviser to six multinational corporations, 11 governments, and five major development institutions. He chaired the global teams formulating the strategic input on Food and Agriculture for the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development and is a member of the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards. Downloads of his published work rank him in the top 1% annually of the more than quarter million professional authors tracked by the Social Science Research Network.

Paul Hicks
Water Resources Coordinator, CRS

Paul Hicks is the Water Resources Coordinator for Catholic Relief Services in Latin America, with nearly 20 years’ experience in water resources management and agricultural development. Paul has a Master’s degree in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis. He has spent the last 15 years with CRS living in Albania, the Philippines, Afghanistan, and Central America. Since early 2009, Paul has lived and worked in El Salvador leading the Global Water Initiative. Working with CRS’ water and agricultural development teams in Central America, Paul and his colleagues developed the strategy to integrate water resources management and agricultural development in the coffeelands of Central America. He led the design and launch of the Blue Harvest program, funded by Keurig Green Mountain. Paul is a contributor to the CRS Coffeelands blog.

Katherine Nolte
Coffee Marketer & Marketing Advisor, Twin

Katherine began working in Specialty Coffee in 2000 as a Barista for Colectivo Coffee Roasters. She has managed coffee shops, small businesses, and served as a Small Business Advisor with the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, West Africa. She earned her degree in Accounting and Music Performance and was the Controller at Atlas Coffee Importers before joining Twin in 2012. She currently works under the Joint Marketing Initiative project to develop long-term business strategies with East African coffee cooperatives, creating market access and adding value to the coffee they produce. She works closely with Bukonzo Joint and other African coffee producers to track the impact of work in gender equality on coffee quality. She also serves as Chair of the Consumer Awareness “Drink Tank” subcommittee of the Sustainability Council for the SCAA.

Mayra Orellana-Powell
Marketing and Outreach Director, Royal Coffee Company

In 2011, Mayra Orellana-Powell realized her dream of starting a coffee business (Catracha Coffee Company) that would have an impact in Santa Elena, Honduras, the community where she was born and raised. Mayra named her business Catracha Coffee Company because “Catracha” is a nickname for a Honduran woman. Mayra’s family has harvested small quantities of coffee on family farms for generations. Mayra understands that finding ways to improve the income earned per pound of coffee can impact the choices families are able to make in their daily lives. Through Catracha Coffee, Mayra has helped farmers from Santa Elena access the specialty coffee market. In 2013, Mayra became the Marketing and Outreach Director at Royal Coffee in Emeryville, California. In her role at Royal Coffee she takes personal joy in bringing the stories of coffee producers from around the world to consumers.

Ben Pitts
Vice President-Food Service & Hospitality, Royal Cup Coffee

Ben is Vice President of FoodService & Hospitality at Royal Cup Coffee, a specialty roaster serving all segments of the coffee market. Ben joined Royal Cup in 1988 and has served as an Executive Officer since 1998. He manages 8 Regions overseeing sales, service, and all field operations of Royal Cup’s FoodService Division. Ben is currently on the board of World Coffee Research helping launch collaborative coffee research initiatives. Coffee Certifications include the SCAA Golden Cup, Espresso Italiano Taster, and service as a Cup of Excellence judge.

Jay Ruskey
Owner / Grower, Good Land Organics

Jay is the owner and farmer of Good Land Organics, California’s first commercial coffee farm. At 18 he began farming and developing new markets for exotic fruit in the northern Santa Barbara County. He is testing 13 Coffea arabica varieties under various growing conditions. Recent cupping scores have proved his harvests a success, being ranked in the top 30 in 2014 for Coffee Review. He aims to utilize existing avocado orchards along the California coast for new coffee growth. You can find his organically grown exotic fruit in the Sensory Experiment Room at this year’s Expo.

Michael Sheridan
Director, Borderlands Coffee Project

Michael Sheridan has worked in coffee for Catholic Relief Services since 2004. Since 2007, he has worked with smallholder farmers in the coffeelands throughout the Americas. Michael is currently based in Quito, Ecuador, where he directs the Borderlands Coffee Project in Colombia and Ecuador and advises other CRS coffee projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. From 2004-2007 Michael led the CRS Fair Trade Coffee Project. He publishes perspectives from the intersection of coffee and international development for the CRS Coffeelands Blog at coffeelands.crs.org.

Flávio Borem
Professor, Federal University of Lavras

Flávio Borem is an agronomist with a PhD in Plant Production and a post-doctorate in Science and Process Engineering of Agricultural Products from Wageningen University. He is currently a full professor at the Federal University of Lavras (Universidade Federal de Lavras). His areas of specialization are coffee processing, drying, storage and quality. Dr. Borem is fully devoted to specialty research and learning about the industry in order to understand the most pressing problems in coffee. He listens to the industry as a way to understand where he can be of help in the community.

Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood
Director, Colonna & Small's

Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood is a director at Colonna & Small’s and Colonna & Hunter in Bath, England. A three-time UK Barista champion, two-time World Barista Championship finalist, and a qualified Q grader, he has particularly enjoyed working with chemist Christopher H. Hendon on the impact brewing water has on the flavor of coffee, which included the co-authoring of a published peer-reviewed paper.

Heather Ward
Research Analyst, SCAA

Heather is SCAA’s research analyst and is responsible for providing leadership and vision in gathering analyzing and reporting coffee related industry research. Before moving into the coffee industry, she completed her MBA at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego with studies focusing on the economics of coffee. She has a passion for coffee, market analysis, and helping the coffee community better understand the landscape of the industry.

Luis Samper
Chief Marketing Officer, Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC)

Luis Samper has over 20 years of experience in the coffee industry working in Europe, North America and Colombia. He has been featured in two Harvard Business Case Studies, is recognized as a leading expert in the field of Geographical Indications and was president of Origin, the Geneva, Switzerland-based international network for GIs. Luis’ academic background includes an Economics degree and MSc in Law and an MBA. He is co-author of different academic papers published in international journals, such as Food Policy and the Journal of the Commons, and of the book “Juan Valdez, the Strategy Behind the Brand”.

Bernard Lahousse
Co-Founder, Foodpairing.com

Bernard Lahousse makes it his life work to ponder the intersections of food and science. He has worked as a research and development manager at several food companies, and as a consultant for innovation processes for various global enterprises. In 2007, Lahousse launched the interactive website Foodpairing to inspire chefs and those interested in food to experiment with new combinations. Today, the website is used by thousands of chefs, bartenders and baristas in more then 50 countries to inspire their menus. Lahousse will apply Foodpairing on Colombian Coffee, starting from the diversity and the aroma profile of the Colombian coffees, to indicate the matching ingredients.

Kim Elena Ionescu
Host, Water: The Invisible Driver of Coffee

Kim delights in exploring the areas where coffee and business interests overlap with environmental and social themes. When not tackling assumptions about sustainability in specialty coffee, she spends her time cupping coffee, writing and speaking on behalf of Counter Culture Coffee, where she serves as a coffee buyer and the company’s Sustainability Manager.

Peter Giuliano
Director of Symposium

Peter Giuliano has been working in the trade of Specialty Coffee for 25 years, beginning as a barista and working as a trainer, retailer, cupper, roaster, coffee buyer, and business owner. The Specialty Coffee Association of America has been a constant inspiration for him during this time, and he now serves as director of Symposium for SCAA, committed to helping cultivate and develop new ideas and leadership in coffee.

Emma Bladyka
Host, The Cutting Edge of Coffee Sensory Science

Emma joined SCAA in 2012 to lead initiatives around providing greater insight and deeper scientific understanding of specialty coffee to its membership. She has investigated a variety of scientific topics relevant to the specialty coffee industry by way of original research projects, expanded scientific-based educational content, and has lent her expertise to SCAA’s publication, The Specialty Coffee Chronicle, as well as mainstream media outlets. She oversees a variety of established SCAA programs and is the staff liaison to the SCAA Standards Committee, as well as the SCAA Liaison to World Coffee Research (WCR). Emma holds a M.S. in Botany from the Univ. of Wyoming and B.A. in Ecology.

Kimberly Easson
Host, Gender Equity: Can Shifting our Focus Improve the Coffee Supply Chain?

Kimberly is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Gender Program Advisor for the Coffee Quality Institute where she is spearheading the Partnership for Gender Equity and other strategic alliances for the organization. Previously, as the Director of Producer Services and Relations at Fairtrade International in Bonn, Germany, she held responsibility for producer capacity building services for over one million producers in 63 countries. Her work with Fairtrade was instrumental in securing high value market linkages for producer organizations with traders, manufacturers and retailers in the US, Canada and Europe. She is a past board member of the SCAA, member of the Sustainability Council, Co-Founder and past-President of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) and Co-Founder of the JavaJog for a Cause.

Ric Rhinehart
Host, The Heart of It: Quantifying and Optimizing Specialty Coffee

Ric Rhinehart is the executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America. He has more than 20 years of experience in the specialty coffee industry and has designed, developed, and produced a wide range of coffee and tea products. He has considerable experience in developing manufacturing and packaging capabilities, and has traveled extensively as a green coffee buyer.

Laila Ghambari
Coffee Service Lead

Laila Ghambari works along side her father at their 20 year old family owned and operated business, Cherry Street Coffee House. She is the Director of Coffee for their ten locations. Laila is the 2014 United States Barista Champion and sits on the Executive Council for the Barista Guild of America. This is her 5th year participating in the Symposium Coffee Service and 2nd year overseeing it.

Cody Kinart
Lead Barista

Life without coffee isn’t a choice for Cody. Coming up on his 13th year in the Specialty Coffee Industry, Cody has performed every task from dishwasher, to cashier, barista, barista trainer- and most recently a Wholesale Representative for Colectivo Coffee Roasters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is an SCAA Certified Lead Instructor and Level 2 certified BGA Barista. More than anything, he is excited to welcome all of the World Barista Championship competitors to the United States.

Joshua Boyt
Lead Barista

Coffee has not only helped Joshua know many cultures around the world, but also truly know himself. Boyt spent over 14 years in specialty coffee sales & marketing and business & brand development. In 2011, he opened Metronome Coffee in Tacoma, WA, and Tuning Fork Consulting, a brand development firm. In 2012 Boyt partnered with Victrola Coffee Roasters as Director of Sales and Marketing. He is a past NW chair for the BGA and currently on the editorial advisory board and contributor for Barista Magazine.

Sarah Leslie
Lead Barista

Sarah Leslie is the Director of Education at Gimme! Coffee where she develops and executes training programs. She holds the Barista Level 1 and 2 Certificates and is also a credentialed Barista Certificate Examiner. Sarah has been teaching people to make coffee since 2010. Her coffee career began in 2006 in NYC, and since then she taken on many roles in companies around the city. She is serving her second year on the BGA Certificate Committee and is looking forward joining the BGA Executive Council this year. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys tossing the frisbee around with her husband and their dog Pickles.

Lorenzo Perkins
Lead Barista

Lorenzo Perkins is currently serving as a member of the Barista Guild of America Executive Council. After spending nearly a decade as a production barista and in store trainer, he now produces baristas as Cuvee Coffee’s lead educator in Austin, TX. He still makes coffee, too. Sometimes, people like it.

Julie Housh
Lead Barista

Julie Housh is a Wholesale Educator for Intelligentsia Coffee and current Chair of the Barista Guild of America. She previously worked on Capitol Hill before being lured into coffee where she spent three years with World Coffee Events organizing coffee championships and events across the globe. When Julie is not training the future of Specialty Coffee, you can find her enjoying daily snacks and reading The Economist.