FOUNDER: Rick Peyser, Lutheran World Relief
BOARD CHAIR: Magda Van Dusen, Brio Coffeeworks
VICE CHAIR: Kayd Whalen, InterAmerican Coffee
TREASURER: Mike Proia, Blank Page Cafe
SECRETARY: Sandy Yusen, Champlain College
Stacy Bocskor, UTZ Certified
Ed Canty, Cooperative Coffees
Kyle Freund, Fairtrade America
Bill Mares, Vermont Beekeepers Association
Andi Trindle Mersch, Philz Coffee
Eric Nadworny J.D. , Dignity Health
Todd Barker, Meridian Institute
Liam Brody, Sustainable Harvest
Daniele Giovannucci, COSA
Charlene Lewey, King Arthur Flour
Ernesto Méndez, University of Vermont
Founder Sr. Relationship Manager, Lutheran World Relief
At Lutheran World Relief, Rick is Senior Relationship Manager for Coffee and Cocoa. Formerly, he served as Director of Social Advocacy and Coffee Community Outreach for Keurig Green Mountain, where he worked for 27 years. Rick is a past President of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the world’s largest coffee trade association, and served six years on the Board of Directors of the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International (FLO) which sets the standards for Fair Trade that benefit over 1.5 million small-scale farmers around the world. With running partner Bill Mares, Rick co-authored Brewing Change, Behind the Bean at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters — the inspiring result of those frequent runs and steady conversations. Brewing Change is part travelogue, part social commentary, and part motivating business model for building corporate social responsibility. Brewing Change chronicles Rick’s career with an insider’s view of GMCR, one of the largest specialty coffee companies and purchasers of Fair Trade coffee in the world. One hundred percent of the authors’ earnings and 10 percent of Wind Ridge Publishing’s net profits from the sale of Brewing Change benefit Food 4 Farmers. In addition to founding and serving on Food 4 Farmers’ Board of Directors, Rick also serves on the Board of Root Capital, Project Alianza, the Selva Negra Community Foundation, and The Coffee Trust. Rick received his BA in English from Denison University.
Business Development Manager, UTZ Certified Stacy joined the specialty coffee industry in 1998, when she took a job at Kaldi’s Coffeehouse in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since that time, she’s used her extensive language skills and travel experience in rural Latin America to develop strong relationships throughout the coffee value chain. Stacy now works as Business Development Manager at UTZ. Previously she was the Green Coffee Buyer at Allegro, where she was responsible for procuring coffee, sensory evaluation, supplier relationship management, and employee and customer education. Before joining Allegro, she was part of Keurig Green Mountain’s Coffee Department, working in both quality and procurement. Stacy has served as a member of the Catholic Relief Services Borderlands Advisory Council, as a volunteer for Partners of the Americas’ Farmer to Farmer Coffee Project in Honduras, and taught ESL in grades 2-8 at Liceo Pino Verde in Pereira, Colombia. She has been a certified Q Grader since 2008.
General Manager, Cooperative Coffees
Ed’s coffee career began two decades ago in a Portland, Maine coffee shop where he learned the craft of roasting and the pleasure of customer service. This led him to Green Mountain Coffee Roaster’s cupping lab in Waterbury, Vermont. His interest in coffee quality and growing communities started a 15-year career as Green Mountain’s Fair Trade and Organic coffee buyer. He values transparency, principled negotiations, intelligent system design, and innovative holistic agricultural practices that improving quality and producer livelihood through trade. Ed is a licensed Q grader and lives in Vermont with his partner Christe and children Asher and Emma.
Digital Content Manager, Fairtrade America
Kyle works for Fairtrade America, the US-member of Fairtrade International, the world’s most trusted and recognized Fairtrade certification. Previously, he worked with Fairtrade International as Liaison Manager and Web Editor, and prior to that was Communications Manager for Coffee Kids, an international NGO dedicated to helping coffee-farming families improve their quality of life. Kyle’s writing and photography has been featured in Food Tank, Barista Magazine, Daily Coffee News, Fresh Cup and a variety of publications.
Vermont Beekeepers Association
Bill holds an A.B. from Harvard College and an M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He has been president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association and the Eastern Apicultural Society. In his varied career, he has been a journalist, high school teacher, politician and is author or co-author of 14 books. With running partner Rick Peyser, Bill co-authored Brewing Change, Behind the Bean at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters — the inspiring result of those frequent runs and steady conversations. Brewing Change is part travelogue, part social commentary, and pa rt motivating business model for building corporate social responsibility. Brewing Change chronicles Peyser’s 24-year career with an insider’s view of GMCR, one of the largest specialty coffee companies and purchasers of Fair Trade coffee in the world. One hundred percent of the authors’ earnings and 10 percent of Wind Ridge Publishing’s net profits from the sale of Brewing Change benefit Food 4 Farmers.
Andi Trindle Mersch
Director of Coffee, Philz Coffee
Andi currently serves as Director of Coffee with Philz Coffee in San Francisco. Her varied background within specialty coffee began behind the espresso bar in 1989 and, since then, includes cupping, sample roasting, training, consulting, green coffee trading, roast quality control, sales, writing, and marketing. Andi is a past member of the SCAA Board of Directors. She has published articles with Roast Magazine, the SCAA Chronicle, and Specialty Coffee Retailer, and contributed to Fresh Cup, Coffee & Cocoa International, and Coffee Talk. She served 5 years on the board of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, including a term as President.
Eric Nadworny J.D.
Area Director, Employee & Labor Relations, Dignity Health
Eric is an attorney and has held executive Human Resources positions in healthcare, retail and non-profit organizations. He brings a demonstrated record of strategic and progressive leadership to help businesses meet challenges and respond to competitive pressures. Eric has been elected twice to public office, has co-authored a book on police policy making, and has served as a member of Habitat For Humanity and YMCA boards of directors. He also serves as a Project Director for the Taproot Foundation and consults on a variety of subjects with public and private clients. Eric is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Boston University School of Law.
Owner, Blank Page Café
In 2015, Mike opened Blank Page Café, a small bakery and café located in the farm store at Bread and Butter Farm in Shelburne, VT. Blank Page Café focuses on using locally roasted, responsibly sourced coffee, and partners closely with Brio Coffeeworks in this work. Blank Page Café aims to provide an enriched on-farm experience for customers by emphasizing community and food-based education. Mike’s passion for coffee is borne of his passions for farming, performance-oriented nutrition, and helping his community more carefully examine the complexities of our food systems.
Before opening Blank Page Café, Mike spent nearly 3 years working in small-scale organic farming in California and Vermont, with a brief farming stint in Europe as a WWOOFer. Mike also holds a Bachelors degree in Finance from the University of Connecticut, is a Level 3 Chartered Financial Analyst candidate, and spent 9 years working as a Fixed Income Trader and Analyst at Cigna Investment Management. Mike spent time his time at Cigna managing portfolios, developing trading strategies, executing trades, building credit analysis models and ensuring all investment activity remained in compliance with mandates. Mike was born and raised in Connecticut but is proud to now call Vermont his forever home. Mike loves being physically active and tries to get into the mountains with his dog and partner as often as he can.
Magda Van Dusen
Co-Founder, Co-Owner and President, Brio Coffeeworks
At Brio, a specialty coffee roaster in Burlington, VT, Magda oversees the company’s operations functions and works closely with coffee partners to implement coffee standards through trainings on brewing methods, coffee processing, work flow, and other topics. She also focuses on cultivating a sense of community among cafes, baristas, and coffee enthusiasts by promoting coffee education, sharing Brio’s seasonal coffee offerings and collaborating with other businesses on innovative projects. Magda previously worked as a barista at one of Washington, D.C.’s premier coffee bars, the Wydown Coffee Bar. She is deeply engaged with the professional coffee community through the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the Barista Guild of America (BGA), and is a certified Level 1 barista with the SCAA. Magda also brings extensive international development and financial management experience. As Director of Operations at Integra Government Services International, she managed all aspects of the firm’s operations in support of projects aimed at improving the lives of the poor by facilitating economic growth and human progress. As a Senior Accountant at RAFFFA, P.C., she supported non-profit clients by providing full cycle accounting. As a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, Magda oversaw the firm’s implementation of business system review program for grant and federal award recipients. As a project and financial manager at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Magda oversaw project accounting, developed financial management tools, set up field operations, and conducted field audits for projects in the former Soviet Union and the Caucasus. Magda has a Bachelors degree in International Affairs and a Masters in Accounting, both from George Washington University.She also serves on the Board of Directors of Burlington’s South End Arts and Business Association (SEABA). Magda was born and raised in a mountain town in Poland, one of the many reasons she now loves living in Vermont.
Senior Vice President, InterAmerican Coffee
Kayd has been importing and trading specialty green coffee for nearly a decade, and has managed InterAmerican’s San Diego office since 2011. Her dedication to quality, sustainability, long-term relationships with roasters, and partnerships at origin can be felt through her upbeat, positive attitude and contagious enthusiasm for everything coffee related. Kayd spends most of her time drinking coffee, cupping coffee, and talking about coffee.
Kayd is Q Certified, active in the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and the coffee Quality Institute. She has been an instructor for SCAA’s cupping education program since 2008. Proficient in French and Spanish, Kayd loves to travel and visits origin often; cupping and sourcing new coffees, hiking around farms and building strong relationships. She has visited and led trips to coffee growing regions in Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and Indonesia. She also loves to play volleyball, snowboard and bike to work.
Director, Communications and External Relations, Champlain College
Sandy joined Champlain College in 2015. In her current role, Sandy is working to broaden external visibility of the College, strengthen community relationships, and contribute to solutions to shared issues in Burlington and Vermont. Sandy’s communications career has been driven by her desire to create and share stories that connect to her own personal interests and help make a difference in the world. Sandy previously worked at Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. (formerly Green Mountain Coffee Roasters) as Director, Corporate Communications and Community Relations, and as the Director of Public Relations. In these roles, she spearheaded the company’s external communications around its coffee and beverage brands, as well as its sustainability practices. Sandy also served as Global PR Director at Burton Snowboards, and worked for Cone, a public relations firm in Boston. Sandy holds a BA from Dartmouth College and a M.S. in Communications from Boston University.
Vt. Artisan Coffee & Tea Mané has worked in the specialty coffee industry for 18 years, and prior to that, in the wine industry in California. Mané travels extensively every year to coffee producing countries throughout Central America, South America and Asia where he speaks and teaches seminars on coffee production and quality standards. With most trips, Mané cups coffees from the latest harvests and discovers unique lots of green coffees that he purchases and has shipped back to Vermont to roast. Because of his extensive travels to source, Mané has nurtured direct relationships with many of the coffee farms and families who cultivate the products he sells. Mané often collaborates with the farmer and coops directly in a mutually beneficial way to create great tasting coffees which are fully traceable and are sustainable by current social, economic and environmental indicators.
Senior Partner, Meridian Institute Todd is a Partner at Meridian Institute; he joined Meridian in 1999. Todd has more than 15 years of experience facilitating policy dialogues, negotiations, and strategy development processes. He has expertise in the areas of food and agriculture; chemicals, pesticides, and toxic substances; climate change, energy, and air quality; environmental cleanup and waste management; biodiversity and natural resources; mining; science and technology; security; and water. Todd manages and leads policy dialogues, negotiations, and strategy development projects. He conducts convening assessments, designs processes, raises funds, plans and facilitates meetings, helps participants develop consensus documents, and conducts implementation activities such as press releases and briefings. In recent years, Todd has focused extensively on issues relating to food and agriculture in both developed and developing countries. He has worked closely with eight major foundations to help them envision and then launch AGree: Transforming Food and Ag Policy. This eight-year project leverages Meridian’s strategic consultation, convening and facilitation expertise, and will bring together key stakeholders in an effort to build agreement on the transformation of U.S. food and agriculture policy. Todd also serves as project director for Innovations for Agricultural Value Chains in Africa, where leading scientists and innovators are collaborating with key players in the maize, cassava, and dairy value chains in Africa to identify innovative post-harvest management and processing technologies that reduce post-harvest crop loss. (merid.org).
President, Sustainable Harvest Liam currently serves as President of coffee importer Sustainable Harvest. Previously, he was senior vice president at Root Capital, a nonprofit social investment fund that grows rural prosperity in poor, environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital, delivering financial training, and strengthening market connections for small and growing agricultural businesses. Liam has played a critical role in leading Root Capital through five years of explosive growth, building the organization’s fundraising, business development, communications, impact assessment and corporate relations. He draws on nearly 20 years of experience working in rural economic development and agricultural value chains in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Prior to joining Root Capital, Liam was director of sustainable coffee for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (now Keurig Green Mountain). He also served as program manager, campaign director and policy advisor for Oxfam America. He holds an M.Ed. in social policy from Harvard University, and a B.S. in agricultural and extension education from Cornell University.
Director, Financial Planning Analysis, Cabot Cheese Charlene has been involved in the coffee and local, progressive food industries for the last 20 years. Her expertise is in finance and sales to drive change initiatives, building and leading cross-functional teams, and developing and executing strategies to drive results and alignment across the organization. Charlene has a history of coffee industry-related volunteerism, supporting the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, Grounds for Health and Java Jog for a Cause as a board member, grant review committee member, and event volunteer.
COSA Daniele Giovannucci, former food company executive and Senior Consultant to the World Bank Group, began conducting research on sustainability issues in developing nations in 1992. He now regularly advises international bodies and governments (FAO, IFAD, UNCTAD, IDB, EU, USAID, etc.) on agricultural trade competitiveness and rural development strategies for poor regions. He currently directs research on emerging ecological and social standards for The Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA), formed by a consortium of 20 global institutions. Daniele’s work on the linkages between developing country farmers and global markets focuses on innovative approaches such as emerging ecological and social standards that are fast becoming part of global trade and a basis for Corporate Social Responsibility. Many of his books and papers on markets and agro-enterprise are available at www.DGiovannucci.net.
Ernesto Méndez, PhD
University of Vermont Ernesto is an Assistant Professor with the Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group at the University of Vermont. His current work analyzes interactions between agriculture, livelihoods, and biodiversity conservation in tropical and temperate landscapes, with an emphasis on small-scale farmers and their organizations. He is a research associate with the Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (CTEC) at Antioch University New England, and Adjunct Professor at the International University of Andalucia (Spain). Ernesto is a founding member of Advising & Interdisciplinary Research for Local Development and Conservation (ASINDEC), in El Salvador, and the Community Agroecology Network (CAN), in California. These partner organizations focus on research and direct support to conservation and rural development efforts with coffee farmer cooperatives in Central America. He holds degrees in Crop Science (California Polytechnic State University), Tropical Agroforestry (Tropical Agriculture Research and Education Center, Costa Rica), and a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Since 1996 Ernesto has worked on interdisciplinary projects related to agroecology, environmental conservation and rural development, as a researcher based in Costa Rica, El Salvador, California, and Vermont. Back to top