2013 BGA Executive Council Elections Voting Now Open

Voting is now open for the 2013 BGA Elections! Barista Guild of America members may vote until April 5, 2013. VOTING CLOSED 

We'll be filling four (4) Executive Council positions to represent all BGA members from the list of nominees below (in alphabetical order):

Laila Ghambari, Caffe Ladro Todd Goldsworthy, Klatch Coffee Alexandra Littlejohn, Verve Coffee Roasters Sarah Posma, Alaska Coffee Roasting Co. Cole McBride, Visions Espresso Alex Negranza, Liberty Bar Talya Strader, Bow Truss Coffee Roasters Matthew Scott, Lemonjello's Coffee Miguel Vicuna, Metropolis Coffee Lohi

Nominee Profiles

Laila Ghambari 

Bio: I have a passion for the coffee industry and community. I've been a barista for 10 years but I made it a goal last year to get as involved as I could with the BGA so, I ran for NW Chapter Rep. After winning the election I've had the chance to work with all the amazing people involved in the Executive Council and the Guild as a whole. They are a very passionate and inspring group of people that I would love to continue working with. I'm excited for the direction that the BGA is going. To quote Dismas Smith, one of the founders of the BGA, on the original purpose of the Guild "promote quality coffee, give baristas a voice, further education, and create a community." I woud love to be apart of helping continue that vision as a member of the Executive Council.

Qualifications: I am the Northwest Chapter Rep for the BGA. I send out a monthly newsletter informing members about community happenings such as cafe openings, latte art competitions, and educational classes. I have put on events during my year as the NW Chapter Rep, one being the NWRBC Prepfest. Held in Seattle and Portland, Prepfest was an event to ask questions and better understand what the judges are looking for. Sprudge created an amazing video from the event: http://youtu.be/8bmrz7wQBqo I'm the Director of Education for Caffe Ladro in Seattle. My job is to facilite growth for my community of baristas. I strongly feel this would also be my job as a member of the Executive Council. I'm Level 1 Certified and looking forward to getting Level 2 Certified this year at Camp! I'm IDP Certified also, so I get the opportunity to teach class at events like Camp and Expo. It's such a rewarding experience to see driven people come to learn, and leave with a greater understanding of the craft they love.

Todd Goldsworthy

Bio: Since his early teenage years, Todd was always fascinated with the coffee house experience. At first, he was drawn in by the environment and the atmosphere, but later learned that it was the coffee that would inspire his career path. Todd got his first job in coffee at the age of 19 with Starbucks. He moved up through the ranks in both the San Diego and Los Angeles markets working everything from barista to district manager. Todd is BGA level 2 certified, credentialed level 2 examiner, and SCAA lead instructor. Todd has a bachelors in Media Communication from Point Loma Nazarene University and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. In Summer 2012 Todd left Starbucks and joined the Klatch Team. The BGA has given Todd so many opportunities in the coffee industry and its time for Todd to give back. With his background he will be a great asset to help support the development and growth of the Level 3 curriculum, the Barista Guild of America, and all its members! Vote for Todd and help Todd help you! :) Don't be Odd, Vote for Todd!! Haha...

Qualifications: BGA Level 1 & Level 2 Certified SCAA IDP Certified BGA Level 1 & Level 2 Credentialed Examiner Coffee Guru for Klatch Coffee

Alexandra Littlejohn

Bio: Started in coffee at 15 and never looked back. Do what you love and love what you do! I've worked as a barista, trainer, manager, consultant and community outreach coordinator in my career in coffee; as well as working along side do many amazing people along the way.. Like my friend Stacey said in his performance this year "we want confident and empowered coffee professionals!" I agree! I'm always available to help wherever and whenever I can! I love service to this industry that's given me a life beyond my wildest dreams.

Qualifications: I've been in coffee for 14 years, I'm a level 2 barista, lead instructor, BGA examiner and in real life.. I just love baristas and truly have their best interests at heart. I currently do account management, training and community outreach for Verve Coffee Roasters in SoCal and nationally. I can travel for all events and have support at the Verve team too!!!

Sarah Posma

Bio: I grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska. I spent a good portion of my life living out in the woods in a cabin without running water, but I remember my parents still made coffee in a French press every morning. I got summer jobs a soon as I was able, one of my fist was as a hostess at a restaurant with an espresso machine with which I was completely obsessed, and spent every spare moment cleaning and polishing until someone finally taught me how to use it! I went to college for Biology and for a long time thought I would go to Nursing school, but I got a job at a local cafe to pay for school, and somewhere along the line I just fell in love with coffee. I love now that I can take what I learned studying biology and apply it to coffee; I think I was jumping out of my chair with excitement when I finally made the connection between organic acids and flavors. . . Basically: I love coffee, I love learning about coffee, and I love teaching others about coffee. I would be honored to be on the BGA Executive Council. Thanks!

Qualifications: I run a very busy café, where I do a little bit of everything; order green coffee, roast occasionally, train new baristas, work the bar, clean and organize the café, order supplies, manage social media, etc. . . I've been in the business for about fourteen years. I started out loving the smell of coffee, but not really understanding what "good coffee" was; I was convinced for a while that a caramel white chocolate mocha was the epitome of coffee drinks. Over the years I have learned so much: learned how to let the coffee shine and speak for itself. I believe there's much more to learn, and so much more we can do to improve specialty coffee. I love showing my customers, and sometimes my baristas, that coffee can be absolutely amazing without any sugar or cream. I would love to be on the BGA Executive Council. I think I have a unique perspective; being as I still work in a café every day. I have a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of knowledge to share, I want to learn as much as I can and support others who are as passionate about coffee as I am.

Cole McBride

Bio: I've been working in coffee since I turned 18. It was my first job after moving away from my home town of Nashville Tennessee to Seattle Washington. At first I did not care for quality coffee that much but I immediately enjoyed serving guests. Service has has always been my main focus. After being in coffee for about a year I began to fall in love with the complexities of coffee and have since then taken every opportunity to learn and experience as much as I can about Specialty Coffee. I never thought that making coffee could be something someone would do as a carrer but now I can't imagine doing anything else. I have been fortunate to have learned from some amazingly talented people along the way and I would like to share what I have learned with everyone. I'm very active in the Barista community and I would be honored to serve on the Barista Guild of Americas Executive Council. I'm a motivated and very hard worker and I have the full support of my employer Visions Espresso Service for which I'm very grateful.

Qualifications: 11 years in Specialty Coffee. I've worked as a Barista, Manager and trainer. I also have experience in event planning.

Alex Negranza

Bio: Dodging near death experiences from the mafia in Northern California, Alex Negranza- or so he goes by now- is part of the witness protection program and moved to his Seattle home to pursue a professional career in the beverage world. A transfer of 5 years now, Alex has worked non-stop learning the craft and culture around libations. Accumulating approximately 10 hours of sleep since relocation, he spends most of his time drinking coffee until the wee hours of the morning paranoid of Keyser Soze finding his true location and avoiding drinking himself to sleep with mezcal. While on the run from the mafia, Alex has judged numerous United States Barista Championships as well as participated in various events around the country. Negranza currently is the Bar Manager at Liberty Bar on 15th Ave nestled between an alley and that other place and can be found there more often than not working or drinking.

Qualifications: Craft Cocktail Bar manager, US Bartenders Guild Member, WA State Bartender's Guild Member, former NWRBC Competitor, 4 years of USBC Judge's Certification and regional competitions, Photographer, events coordinator and former coffee blogger and consultant. Throughout my time in coffee I've watched the industry evolve and the craft become more and more refined. We are all familiar with specialty coffee and what goes into it, but what is the future of the barista and how do we make the job of being a barista more sustainable? It is my hope that I bring a refreshing and new outlook to the BGA E.C. with my experience and expertise in the craft beverage world. I hope to raise awareness in the craft coffee world through outreach and collaboration with new allies and expanding the membership base in new markets.

Talya Strader

Bio: I started making coffee back in 2001, and while it wasn't Specialty, it was a good training grounds for learning about operations and customer service, while trying to build a palate. I eventually became the manager of this shop, and started to develop my critical thinking and interpersonal skills. After this, I found my way to Starbucks, where I learned much more about standards and work flow. All of this was a great foundation for finally working with Intelligentsia in 2007. I eventually became the retail manager in 2009. The lessons that I learned from working for them, are countless, as they completely equipped me to work as a coffee professional for the rest of my life. I ended my tenure in 2012 to help start a new roasting company called Bow Truss. I have been a barista competitor since 2007 and have only fallen more in love with coffee and the community that it creates. I hope to one day own my own coffee shop ( a dream since I was 14), but feel completely honored to continue learning more and more about how that can be achieved by the people who have jumped before I have.

Qualifications: I am a detail oriented person with a hard work ethic, a dedication to character, who appreciates challenges. I am an effective leader, with a far reach, who always has a strong support system to help me accomplish goals/events/projects. I like to problem solve, plan, and work on a team. While I am no innovator, I love working with creative people in order to make their crazy ideas come to light. I have exhibited these characteristics through managing anywhere from 4-18 people at a time, for many years, with grace. I have also given back to the community that honed my skills by co-founding a coffee community in Chicago called New Gotham. I am committed to continuing, cultivating, and elevating the Specialty coffee scene in my city, region, and country.

Matthew Scott

Bio: I opened shop at Lemonjello's Coffee in Holland, MI in 2003 because there wasn't anywhere near me that could teach me what I wanted to know about coffee. I had the opportunity to take over space that was central in our town and spent the next several years working around the clock to build a craft-focused business that doubled as a community oriented space. We grew faster than I expected and I knew we had to keep up. As I developed a curriculum for my baristas, I realized that there was a need for education for those who wanted to learn to be a barista as a Trade and not "just a job." As I delved into the BGA's opportunities, I realized there are more and more of us who want to learn. I would like to see the next phase of the BGA be to expand regional opportunities with educational and social events that are accessible. This means we need more instructors, testers, and organizers with real life café experience. I'd like to take my 10 years of 10+ hours a day on the bar and help others reach their potential in this industry.

Qualifications: BGA Certified Level 1 and 2 SCAA IDP Certified Competition Barista 2012 and 2013 Great Lakes Regional AeroPress Championship Competitor 2013 Store Owner & Barista Trainer for 10 years Barista for 14+ years

Miguel Vicuna

Bio: Miguel Vicuna has 10 years in the coffee industry, starting as a barista then moving into more training roles over the years. He recently opened and operates Metropolis Coffee Lohi, a coffee shop dedicated to improving and spreading the reach of Specialty Coffee to the Denver area. Miguel is also and active member of the Rocky Mountain Craft Coffee Alliance, a group dedicated to improving coffee and cafe culture in the greater Colorado and Wyoming area. Miguel is an active volunteer in the SCAA, BGA and USBC for the last 5 years. He served as past BGA Mountain Region Rep, and is active on the BGA Education Committee. He is a BGA Level 1+2 Certified Barista and BGA L1 Examiner, along with an IDP Certified Lead Instructor and has instructed at Camp and internationally in Dubai. Miguel is also very active on the Competition Committee. As a Certified Head Judge for USBC he has judged 27 competitions both in the USA and Internationally. Miguel is very dedicated to the Barista Craft and is always learning and finding new ways to push it further for the future.

Qualifications: 10 years in the coffee industry Current BGA Mountain Region Rep Helped start monthly TNT's in Colorado Active member of the Rocky Mountain Craft Coffee Alliance BGA Level 1 + 2 Certified BGA Level 1 Examiner IDP Certified Lead and Station Instructor for CPAS and internationally in Dubai, U.A.E. in the last 2 years BGA Education Committee: helping write content as a subject matter expert in many classes Competition Committee and a USBC Head Judge, 5 years, 27 competitions.  Helps out occasionally on the SCAA Sustainability Council.

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