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Q&A with Maureen: Executive VP

Women's History Month Feature

Maureen McHugh is our Executive Vice-President and the company's very first employee since 1995. As a part of the Senior Leadership Team, she works closely with all our all departments to implement Equator’s vision and mission in daily operations. She connected with us this week to talk coffee roasting, role models, and what Women’s History Month means to her.



Hi, Maureen. Tell us a bit about yourself!

Hi, I’m Maureen McHugh, EVP at Equator Coffees. I love exploring different brew methods with my favorite coffees and the possibilities are endless – always more to discover. In my off time I aim to be outdoors as much as possible in my Metris camper van. A huge part of that experience is the morning coffee ritual which lasts far longer than when I am home. Coffee brewed and enjoyed outside is the absolute best!


What does it mean to work at a women founded company?

In general, Women’s leadership is collaborative and empathetic. Working at a female founded company like Equator means you can be your whole self at work and feel supported. We are all emotional beings, and we thrive in our work when we can freely communicate our ideas, our needs, and our goals.


Equator Coffees founders | Who owns Equator coffees | Helen Russell | Maureen McHugh | Brooke McDonnell | Equator Coffees

(from left): Helen Russell, Maureen McHugh, and Brook McDonnell. Helen & Brooke co-founded Equator Coffees in 1995 and Maureen became their first employee soon-after.



What's it like being a woman in coffee?

Being a woman in the coffee industry or any other business often means that you face unconscious bias in the workplace which can feed feelings of self-doubt but you learn early on that YOU must do the work required to be GREAT at your job and keep going! Never stop learning. 


What does Women's History Month mean to you?

Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate and recognize the often overlooked but critical contributions of Women in our culture and society. Our history is our strength! When Women have strong, positive role models they see possibilities in themselves that they may not have otherwise.


Who is a female role model that inspires you?

A woman in coffee who has inspired me is Brooke McDonnell, Co-founder of Equator Coffees. Brooke was one of only a handful of Women roasters in the country in 1995 AND started her own business! There are many others in coffee and beyond. I am especially inspired by all the Women who were the firsts in their field whose work inspired others and those that continue to advocate for the social, political, and economic rights for women.


Maureen McHugh | Executive Vice President Equator Coffees | Equator Coffees


What's your current favorite coffee from our roastery?

My current favorite is El Salvador Finca Kilimanjaro Honey.


What advice would you give to other women looking to build their career in coffee? 

My advice for other women looking to build their career in coffee is to find what you are great at – where you feel most alive and engaged - and see where you can apply that passion in the coffee industry. To find what you are great at takes work and time so be patient with yourself while you learn. 


Best advice ever received?

Every day is a new day!


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