Luminary Ladies Introduction
A luminary selection of women in coffee will feature a discussion panel beginning at 2 PM this Sunday at the Coffee Potluck Mini-Fest. Moderated by Vania Ling, this phenomenally talented cross-section of women is a snapshot of Vancouver's vibrant, but unsung coffee scene.
The role and perspective of these industry leaders is not only inspiring, but will shed light on the many paths that coffee may lead. It's greater than just coffee or women, this conversation is about how a progressive & evolving coffee scene is reflective of growth culture similarly found in larger industries like tech & design.
We set out to select a diverse perspective and here, we have the dream team:
Laura Perry, 49th Parallel - Green Buyer
Andrea Piccolo, Swiss Water Decaffeination - Brand Manager
Kuni Inaba, Platform Coffee - Store manager
Laura Gonzales, Genius Coffee - Operations
Shelly Bolton, East Van Roasters - Founder
Kuni has been working as a barista for 4 years. She started at Platform7 Cafe in Vancouver with no experience. She is a celebrated Latte Artist, having competed in Coffee Fest World Latte Art Championship 3 times and taking 3rd place in Portland in 2015! She is a top contender at the CafeYVR Invitational Latte Art competition.
Prior to moving to Canada, she was working 14-hour days at Internet advertising agency in Tokyo for 4 years. She mastered online marketing and selling search ads, but coming to Canada and getting in to coffee was all about timing. She came to visit her sister in Toronto; and seeing her sister in Canada reminded her of a dream she had since high school, to live abroad and speak English! The rest is history.
Falling into coffee was very unexpected, she didn’t even drink black coffee at the time! She dreamt of one day owning her own cafe back home, so she sought out a different experience than most, learning a new language and the skill of running a cafe business! She had a difficult time finding a job in coffee without any coffee experience - it took over one month, but once she was hired at Platform 7 she stayed! She’s still there today.
Laura was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico and Graduated in International Commerce. She worked for an international courier company, and two companies specializing in electronics.
Coming back to Vancouver was an easy choice, it was the change she needed in her life; new challenges and new experiences. So, she quit her job, sold everything and packed her bags! “Sometimes we just need to take risks and jump in to the unknown, expecting that everything will work out; and so far it has been a decision worth every risk.”
In her work, she has the opportunity to work with a great company that is open to sharing knowledge; even with someone with very little experience in the coffee industry. Laura loves being a part of the Vancouver coffee scene and experiencing it first hand. She sees how more and more people are getting involved, and wanting to learn.
She is always learning about coffee! Every day is a new experience and I love it! I want to share all the knowledge that I'm so lucky to get from the best people in the industry not only from Canada but also people from all over the world. She owes this to the coffee lovers in Vancouver.
Shelley Bolton - East Van Roasters
As the founder, head chocolate maker and director of East Van Roasters, Shelley has one of the sweetest job imaginable!
She works alongside a dynamic, nurturing and tenacious team comprised of staff, peers and board members of the PHS Community Services Society. Shelley believes deeply in the mission of East Van Roasters and the PHS to foster a compassionate, forgiving and non-judgmental approach to supporting and participating in the community we live, work and play in.
Shelley has decades of hands-on experience advocating for individual rights, working in challenging social environments with those affected by difficult personal histories, including persons suffering with mental health issues and diminished capacities due to emotional, mental or physical abuse and addictions.
Shelley first began working with the PHS Community Services in 2001 producing various community special events, aimed at fostering a healthy connection between local business groups and the Downtown Eastside drug user community. In 2011, Shelley was recruited to a new full time position created for her to act as Director of Social Enterprise for the PHS. Her main objective was to launch two peer employment programs -- The Window Community Art Shop and East Van Roasters.
East Van Roasters’ model has become an incubator of social innovation, drawing social entrepreneurs to visit, study and be inspired to launch inclusive employment opportunities in cities across the globe.
The East Van Roasters’ employment model has been studied by universities, social entrepreneurs and governments from around the world and has received global recognition and broadcast media attention.