Women's History Month Feature
We connected with the women of our Wholesale Team this week — Kat Lynch (Wholesale Manager and Trainer), Allison Aboud (Service Coordinator), and Genna Garret (Specialty Sales Representative) — to talk working in coffee, their role models, and what Women’s History Month means to each of them.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
KAT: Hi there, my name is Kat Lynch and I am a Wholesale Manager and Trainer at Equator Coffees! I started working in coffee as a way to sustainably maintain my caffeine addiction through college, it's now been 9 years and I'm still here - and still very much addicted.
My morning routine consists of gracefully rolling out of bed and directly into the kitchen to make myself a pour over, preferably a mellow body and bright flavors! I am a food connoisseur and always on the prowl for tasty vegetarian eats, and don't get me started on craft cocktails.
ALLISON: Hi there, I am Allison Aboud, the Service Coordinator for the Wholesale and Retail divisions at Equator Coffees. I am quite the drip coffee fiend and can be found sipping on some at any hour of the day! In my freetime I like to learn about the mechanics and components that make up coffee equipment, but only after a good bout of disco dancing with my three year old.
GENNA: Hi, I’m Genna Garrett and I’m a Specialty Sales Representative at Equator Coffees. I love trying new coffees, especially Guatemalan coffees; but I think our signature Equator Blend will always have my heart. I’m a volleyball player and am proud to work for a women-owned company.
What does it mean to work at a women founded company?
KAT: Working for a female founded company means everything, it completely changes the work dynamic and how things are done on a day to day basis. As a queer woman myself, not only do I feel seen working at a LGBTQ Women found company, I feel represented.
ALLISON: Working at a female founded company such as Equator has been mind altering in the best of ways. The amount of inspiration Helen, Maureen and Brooke continually radiate and communicate and express, has been my support as I hurdle stereotypes derived from working within the coffee technician world.
GENNA: Working for a female founded company is empowering. Not only do I feel seen and heard, but I am able to help make real changes and see a difference.
Kat Lynch (left) is Wholesale Manager and Trainer at Equator Coffees, bringing nine years of industry experience to the team.
What is it like being a woman in coffee?
KAT: Being a woman in coffee is empowering, it's stepping into a male dominated field and bringing in diversity and representation. There are still many challenges that come with being the minority group in the field, but the goal is make it a space where other women feel wanted and welcomed.
ALLISON: Being a woman in coffee might not appear like a big deal from the outside but there is a lot of bias, especially looking beyond the Retail level. From past experiences working at another local coffee roaster, my time there was a giant test of patience as I did above and beyond trying to prove my capabilities to no avail.
GENNA: What is it like being a woman in coffee? You know, I’ve never thought of it that way. I started my career being trained and managed by women, became a manager myself, and now am fortunate enough to work at a woman-owned company. I've been lucky enough to have been surrounded by so many strong woman in my personal and professional life, so it quite frankly feels great to be a woman in coffee.
What does Women's History Month mean to you?
KAT: When I reflect on Women's History Month I get really emotional. Being a queer woman in a same-sex relationship, having a successful career, and being able to live my truth unapologetically is only a reality for me because of the women who came before me.
ALLISON: Women's History Month is a significant mode of awareness and is hopefully seen by younger generations as a way to keep pushing for and eventually maintain a more equal standing in all aspects of life.
GENNA: Women’s history month means celebrating the progress we’ve made and gives me hope for the future and the future of women.
Allison Aboud is Service Coordinator for the Wholesale and Retail divisions of Equator Coffees, responsible for the installation and maintenance of all coffee equipment in the field.
Who is a female role model that inspires you?
KAT: What a tough question, I feel inspired by so many women throughout history. Any woman daring to be herself, daring to be the first, daring to challenge the patriarchy has my utmost admiration. So many voices have been muted over the years, I wish I could hug all those women who tried but were forced to stay quiet.
ALLISON: One female role model who has brought immense inspiration to just about every aspect of my life, is my mom. Growing up with such a strong willed figure is the reason why I am living my best life - being a single, full time mom, working 50+ hours per week and using my free time to train as a coffee technician. A balancing act that I don't think I'd have even attempted if I hadn't witnessed the struggles my mom has overcome and the strength she has grown because of it all.
GENNA: A female role that inspires me is my sister. She is not only a mother, a teacher, and a strong woman, she is my best friend and makes me want to be a better person every day. She has also given me the gift of my niece, who I hope to inspire to be a kind, open-minded, successful, and strong woman.
What's your current favorite coffee from our roastery?
ALLISON: My favorite coffee that we currently have running is the Queen Ketiara. It not only tastes AMAZING, it is also sentimental (in a cheesy way) as it was the first take home coffee that I picked up on my very first day at Equator.
GENNA: My current favorite single-origin coffee at the roastery is our Guatemalan Concepción Huista Fair Trade Organic, but I think our signature Equator Blend will always have my heart
As Specialty Sales Representative at Equator Coffees, Genna Garrett fosters relationships with businesses proudly serving our coffees.
What advice would you give to other women looking to build their career in coffee?
KAT: For any women wanting to build their career in coffee the advice I would give is - keep doing things how you would. There is a lot of pressure to follow suit, but we need more diversity in coffee, we need originality and different perspectives. Don't been discouraged to speak up and suggest new ways of doing things, we all do better when we put our minds together.
ALLISON: To all of the women looking to build a career in coffee - find motivation not despair in every stereotype or "you can't" that gets thrown at you. Women have every right to be in charge, to be a roaster, to be a technician or a trainer or a forklift driver. Whatever it is that drives you, that's for you to achieve, not for others to succeed in holding you back from.
GENNA: Some advice I’d give to women looking to build their career in coffee would be to make yourself heard, ask questions, and never be afraid to explore different avenues within the industry.
What's the best advice you've received?
KAT: The best advice I have ever received is, "the world is averse to change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress". Anytime I find myself being uncomfortable by change I try to embrace it, otherwise you might end up on the other side of the spectrum feeling bitter the world is changing without you.
ALLISON: I don't know about the best advice I have ever received, but I can say that a good one told to me recently by a fellow technician is, 'You are going to get thrown some nasty comments when people see you working on a machine and suddenly realize they can't get their coffee fix right then and there. But remember, you're the one putting in your time and energy to get these machines up and running again. Don't take it personal because in the end you're helping to get someone's business... livelihood... income to feed their family, up and running again, and that's way more important."
GENNA: The best advice I ever received was to stay true to what I believe in and hate to lose more than you love to win.