From the outset BGE has been an organisation formed of baristas within a community, hoping to extend the reach and opportunities to a wider group.
From our very first conversations about what the group could be, ideas of democracy, inclusivity, and representation have been raised. At our first event (Barista Camp in Athens), the Working Group presented a vision to see us through the course of the next year, of which a key point was to create a structure for the leadership of BGE that allowed members to choose its future direction.
This raised a number of challenges, starting with ‘Who are our members?' As we thought deeper and longer about where we needed to go, we saw questions about ownership, leadership, finance, elections, and structure, all of which became paramount to answer.
We are pleased to say that with a great deal of help, we think we have. At the top of our website, you will now find a small section, titled ‘By-laws’ in which you’ll find answers to many of these questions. We’ve crafted these intentionally to give clarity and structure for our future, but freedom for our membership to decide where and what that future is.
The creation and release of these by-laws bring us to a couple of key points that we'd like to discuss with you: Elections and Membership!
At the moment, the working group of BGE is made up of a small group of volunteers who got in touch because they wanted to be involved in seeing this initiative grow. They were selected by the working group, or brought in to assist by SCAE. We want the next working group to be made up of people who want to drive it to its next stage, chosen by the members it hopes to serve.
In the next 2-4 weeks, we’ll announce a system of voting and elections that will allow members to choose who sits in the working group of BGE over 2016. We’ll be asking for interested candidates to present themselves and the direction they would like BGE to move, and allowing members to determine who will sit in this group.
BGE and its activities are designed to build community regardless of location or membership of any organisation, but in order to make a voting system work, we need to have a system of determining what makes a member and what allows them to vote.
BGE was created by SCAE to serve the needs of a core area of it’s membership: the barista community. SCAE realised that a vehicle that allowed baristas themselves to determine the scope and activities of this organisation would assist the growth of a stronger coffee community. While our event financing comes from sponsorship and ticket revenue, our operational costs are funded from SCAE's membership budget. As such, all SCAE members belong and are entitled to exercise a right to vote in BGE elections. However, there is a challenge in managing this membership, as individuals working for SCAE member companies don’t necessarily get communicated with directly or have access to SCAE login information.
Therefore, we have set the following criteria to determine BGE membership:
- If you, personally, are a SCAE member (Barista/Professional Individual categories): your SCAE number, contact details, and login information are used to confirm your BGE membership.
- If you currently work for a SCAE company member, you can personally register to become a voting member of BGE, at an annual administration cost of €10. We will communicate the system for individual employee registration soon!
- If you are not yet a member of SCAE and would like to join BGE, registering for SCAE barista membership for €75 is equivalent with BGE membership.
We're excited that we can give our members a true voice in our organisation! Stay tuned for more information on our our election process, which will start this September.