Join the BGE Working Group

The Barista Guild of Europe Working Group is coming to the end of their first term as elected members. They've had the opportunity to shape the guild by listening to members and providing advice, support and education through events and online communications. Now it is time for some new blood and energy, so nominations for the BGE Elections 2017 will be open from 15 December 2016 until 15 January 2017. 

BGE would like to strengthen the Working Group and allow for more opportunities to get involved so a new structure within the guild is being formed. In addition to our ad-hoc Unification Committee, formed earlier this year, we will devise three committees within the group and each of these committees will have a Chair and Vice-Chair.

These committees are:

  1. Education
  2. Events
  3. Communications/Membership 

We are inviting nominations for seven positions within the BGE Working Group. Following the election, each successfully elected member will become a Chair or Vice-Chair of a committee. The current BGE Chair, Tibor Várady, will step into the role of Past-Chair. The current Vice-Chair, Andrew Tolley —who was appointed earlier this year by the Working Group— will become Chair if elected. The newly elected Working Group will collectively decide who the new Working Group Vice-Chair will be.

Additionally, each committee will have the opportunity to recruit their own 'members at large' —these are volunteers who step in to support the committee's projects or events, but aren't part of the Working Group. This is a great opportunity to extend the BGE into the community, so that we can create a more powerful, more interactive organisation that listens to its members.

We invite anyone who feels strongly about the direction of BGE and the service that we should provide to the barista community, to come forward and nominate yourself for a position on the BGE Working Group. 

What's Involved? 

The term of a general Working Group member is 2 years, (the term of the officers Chair, Vice-Chair and Past-Chair is 1 year). It is a voluntary position where Working Group members are expected to commit to approx. 2 hours a week for input into projects, advise on event content, drive new initiatives and respond to the needs of the barista community. With a wide geographical spread, the current Working Group meets most regularly through Skype meetings and then in person on a quarterly basis. The Working Group have a part to play in events like Barista Camp and CoLabs as well as other collaborations that take place throughout the year, however free access to these events isn't guaranteed.

There are roles available in each committee, where each Working Group member takes ownership of a certain aspect of our organisation, and will coordinate strategy and plans, with the assistance of the BGE Executive, and as determined by the whole working group and overseen by the Chair.

As a representative of the barista community, you should be excited about the future of Barista Guild of Europe as we begin our journey to merge with Barista Guild of America. Working Group members should have a connection with the barista community through current or past employment – you should have an understanding of the daily issues a barista faces – what drives them to improve and what do they desire.

As members of the Working Group, successful candidates are expected to

  • attend monthly WG calls
  • attend quarterly in-person meetings
  • each WG member will be the Chair/Vice-chair of a committee, and will —as such— be responsible to create the committee as well as meet regularly (via Skype calls) to reach objectives, as well as identify new initiatives.
  • financial: while BGE has a limited budget for meeting expenses —which we try to plan around our events— the travel to, and attendance of, BGE events isn't covered.


Election Process

These are the steps in the BGE Working Group election process:

  • Nominations are open from December 15th until January 15th.
  • Candidates will be verified, and each profile will be posted on this website.
  • Voting will take place over a 3-day period from 5th to 7th February.
  • The seven valid candidates with the most votes will be invited to join the BGE Working Group, and will start their term on the first in-person meeting of the new WG in late Feb-early March (dates tbd).


How to apply?

Applications should be submitted via this form.  To accept your nomination you need to be a:

  • current SCAE Barista member
  • current SCAE Professional Individual member 
  • registered Secondary member under an SCAE Company membership
  • new member of the unified association (after Jan 1st) in the Barista category

The deadline for nominations is 15 January 2017. 

BGE's strategic goals for 2016

While the last cuppings and get-togethers of the very successful CoLab: Paris were happening, the newly elected Working Group got together for an overnight stay in Paris to discuss and plan BGE's strategic goals and activities in 2016, as well as to give the group a chance to get to know each other and bond over a glass of wine in the evening, and scrambled eggs in the morning. Intense, data- and information-filled sessions were alternated with fun brainstorms and small-group discussions to finally end up with an outline of the strategic goals as well as the activities for BGE in the coming year.

Strategic goals

In one of the most important brainstorm sessions of the meeting, the working group members looked at what the strategic goals of BGE should be over the next year and how those translate into different projects and activities. While numerous ideas were (literally) on the table, we agreed to focus on the following 3 goals, all related to the mission of BGE to provide professional and community development to baristas:

  • spreading education — BGE will continue to deliver SCAE's Coffee Diploma System courses at Camp, and compile a compendium of freely available 'coffeetalks' recorded at its events. In addition, we will work towards bridging gaps of the CDS covering areas such as cupping protocols and business finance basics, and making these easily accessible for all baristas across Europe.
  • career support — Beyond providing invaluable networking opportunities at our events, we will focus on creating an online tool to guide baristas on their path towards a sustainable career in specialty coffee. From CV and cover letter templates, a collection of resources and career perspectives, advice from employers, and even piloting a mentor project, we have lots of ideas that will help develop the barista profession and encrease baristas chances for success.
  • sustainability — We understand how fashionable this word has become, and how 'cool' it is to add this to your objectives, but we truly believe that baristas can make a difference too. We all feel that we cannot put this off any longer — this isn't a 'far-from-my-bed' show, and requires our attention now. We're currently looking at the big picture, including economic, sociological and environmental issues and challenges to long-term sustainability in specialty coffee. However, that picture is too big to tackle, and we need to zoom in and identify concrete projects. It's something that needs further thought and clarification — and we'd like you to help us. We'd like to listen to suggestions and ideas from our community. Much like SCAA's #makecoffeebetter, we'd like to open up conversation and incorporate this into what we do as much as possible. Get in touch if you'd like to help or have concrete ideas.

While we build these goals and projects into a timeline for 2016, we can already share that we'll organise another Barista Camp and at least 2 CoLab events throughout Europe. We'll share specific venue requirements for Barista Camp soon, but let us know if you have the perfect venue in mind. And stay tuned for more details!

About the working group

Take a look at your new working group for 2016, these are the people volunteering their time to work on our projects. Click here to read more about each member!

A group of 11 people, consisting of 6 newly elected members joining the Chair, Past-Chair, Executive and 2 SCAE Board Liaisons. Although geographic diversity may be questionable with a strong UK-BE presence (Want to change this? Put yourself forward for elections next year, or convince people in your area to become BGE members so they can vote for you!), the group represents a wide range of experience and backgrounds. With a cafe owner, barista trainers, someone responsible for green buying and qc, baristas in small and big coffee companies, people involved in local events and get-togethers in their community, wholesale managers, and what-not; including people with merely 1 to +10 years experience in specialty coffee, the working group is in a great position to identify needs and desires of the European barista community. Connecting the group is a shared passion and dedication to empowering baristas and the barista profession, as the key influencers to change in specialty coffee throughout the chain.

BGE elections — The results

Finally! We're excited the time has finally come for us to share the results of the recent BGE Working Group elections. After our call for nominations, and Dale and Tibor's engaging presentation at Barista Camp, we were overwhelmed with the quantity and quality of applicants. A total of 15 people put themselves forward for up to 2 of 6 available roles within the working group - and you can still read their manifestos here.
The actual elections ran over the course of 2 weeks, through an online survey, sent to the entire BGE membership. 70 valid votes were counted, and below overview indicates the results.

Communications Co-ordinator

  • Tim Willems, Belgium | 43%
  • Sonali Tailor, UK | 36%
  • Claire Wallace, UK | 21%

Community Co-ordinator

  • Alex Passmore, UK | 47%
  • Veronika Kečkéšová, Norway | 21%
  • Jessie May Peters, France | 17%
  • Sonali Tailor, UK | 7%
  • Karolina Kumstova, Germany | 7%

Education Co-ordinator

  • Ben Townsend, UK | 30%
  • Vini Arruda, Ireland | 21%
  • Miguel Lamora, Spain | 20%
  • Rashel Winn, Ireland | 19%
  • Danny Calders, Belgium | 10%

Events Co-ordinator

  • Sam Sullivan, UK | 34%
  • Jessie May Peters, UK | 23%
  • Veronika Kečkéšová, Norway | 21%
  • Hannah Davies, UK | 21%

Finance and Partnership Co-ordinator

  • Hannah Davies, UK | 36%
  • Silvia Constantin, Romania | 24%
  • Miguel Lamora, Spain | 24%

Membership Co-ordinator

  • Danny Calders, Belgium | 63%
  • Silvia Constantin, Romania | 37%

We will be taking a closer look at the newly-elected working group soon, and can't wait to start planning our 2016 event calendar and exciting new projects with this 'new blood'.

We'd like to thank all candidates for getting involved, and hope to see you all soon at one of our activities.