LEAD Scholarship Promotes Diversity in Leadership

The Specialty Coffee Association announces LEAD, a new scholarship developed in partnership with S&D Coffee & Tea to promote diversity in leadership and provide opportunities to members of the coffee community.


Photo courtesy of the SCA

On April 19, during the second day of the Re:co Symposium, an event bringing thought leaders to discuss high-level problems and solutions in the coffee industry, Candice Madison of Irving Farm Coffee Roasters announced the Leadership Equity and Diversity (LEAD) Scholarship Program. Currently, Re:co supports a number of coffee professionals through their Fellows program, which covers the entrance cost of the event, but the LEAD scholarship intends to be much more expansive, giving five coffee professionals two years of paid support and mentorship.

In the words of the Specialty Coffee Association:

The SCA is excited to announce the new Leadership Equity and Diversity (LEAD) Scholarship Program. 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 marginalized communities. This program is made possible thanks to the generous support of S&D Coffee & Tea.

Here are some of the program benefits:

  • Participation in events and educational activities
    • 2-year complimentary individual SCA membership
    • Year 1: Registration, travel, and lodging to annual SCA meetings during the scholarship term
    • Year 1: Travel and lodging to cohort meeting with program sponsor
    • Year 2: Registration, travel, and lodging to one global SCA conference as selected by the scholar (i.e. Re:co Symposium, Specialty Coffee Expo, World of Coffee)
    • Year 2: Registration, travel, and lodging to selected SCA education program as selected by the scholar (AST Live, Roaster Retreat/Camp, Sensory Summit, CTG Summit, or Barista Camp)
    • Inclusion of AST examination fee (provided the exam is taken within three years of scholar participation) and study guide materials
  • Career development and expansion of professional networks
    • Connection to an industry leader to serve as a mentor
    • Group coaching to enhance the connection of the scholar cohort
    • Service experience opportunity
    • Support from SCA senior staff and volunteer leadership

The application is live now, and potential applicants are asked to submit a resume or CV, along with three short essays and two letters of recommendation. The application is open to anyone who self identifies as a member of a marginalized group, has over three years of coffee experience, and demonstrates commitment to the betterment of the current and future specialty coffee landscape. Applications are due June 30, 2018.

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Ashley is the Online Editor for Barista Magazine. She's based in Chicago. If you want to share a story or have a comment, you can reach her at ashley@baristamagazine.com.