Huge props to Brian Clemens for being voted the Southwest Regional Representative for The Barista Guild of America! Thanks for electing me to be your Southwest Region Representative!! Lots of work ahead and much fun to be had! Let’s do this Southwest.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet ReplyBrian Clemensbrian_clemens I found some questions that Brian answered in his effort to gain this post, and am republishing here. Brian Clemens, Mulch Coffee, Scottsdale, AZ How are you involved with Coffee? How does this role fit into the BGA? I am currently developing a coffee bar concept that will launch in Scottsdale, Arizona this fall. The goal with the concept is to introduce specialty coffee to the community in a fresh/open learning environment. As a partner in Mulch Coffee, I’m continuously learning how to develop training curriculum, develop baristas, and explain our industry to the average Joe. Beyond my role in Mulch Coffee, I’ve worked with four other coffee shops here in Phoenix in various capacities. This year I took full advantage of my BGA membership, volunteering at the SCAA trade show, taking personal development classes, and judging at this year’s Southwest Barista Competition. Although I haven’t worked full-time behind an espresso bar for nearly five months, I’ve furthered my craft through classes, holding training programs, and being actively involved in the coffee community here in Arizona. I’m excited to get back behind a bar this fall and represent specialty coffee to the community and beyond. Why might you be considered leadership material? When deciding to apply for a position whether vocational or extracurricular, I evaluate all aspects of the role and my current duties. From there I decide if I’m able to rise to the challenge. No matter the role, I’ve always given 110% to an organization, company, or team. I have high expectations for myself and allocate the proper time to fulfill every role I hold. A leader in the specialty coffee community is personable, honest, engaging, and vulnerable. Yes, I said vulnerable. They know that the only way to further themselves is to admit what they know and what they don’t know. A leader is always a student, honest with the limit of their knowledge, but thirsty to learn more. I possess an optimistic outlook for our industry and craft. I’m open to feedback and desire to further progress our craft through collaborative events, seminars, and training. What are some accomplishments you would like to see happen in the future of the BGA and/or SCAA? I’d like to see more streamlined training programs. This year I had the ability to take the BGA Barista 1 exam and the Barista 1 Examiner Certification courses. I drove 400 miles to take the exams and had the side benefit of meeting Heather Perry, Marcus Boni, and Ellie Matuszak. We need to take the knowledge portion of these courses online and certify more representatives in the individual states to administer exams. any smaller localized events using resources available would be more beneficial than one large regional training event. Speaking for Arizona, I’m in the process of organizing “Barista Happy Hour”; where baristas interact outside the walls of their individual shops discussing processes and helping one another grow in knowledge, service, and as coffee ambassadors. The goal is to build relationships within the coffee community and increase our standards and knowledge at the same time. Relationships matter! It is easier to receive feedback from a friend than a stranger. I’d like to see smaller events that bring together both BGA and non-BGA baristas to discuss the craft and ultimately develop camaraderie. These events will help increase BGA membership and retention. One more thing that I would like to see happen in the future of the BGA is a “How to take advantage of your membership” campaign. When you pay into an organization you weigh the opportunity and cost. A “how to take advantage of your membership” campaign would entice prospective members to take their membership development into their own hands.