| |Join NCA!

NCA Virtual Convention Speakers and Sessions

NCA speakers and educational sessions are handpicked to inform and inspire. From artists to economists, our speakers are selected for their unique perspectives and compelling stories.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

1:30pm - 2:45pm

Superhero Leadership During Uncertain Times

Brett Culp, award-winning documentary filmmaker and founder of the not-for-profit, The Rising Heroes Project

With so many friends, family members and neighbors being affected by the world's new normal, inspirational filmmaker, Brett Culp helps each of us discover how to awaken our heroic spirit and leave positive impact on the world. In this virtual presentation, Culp inspires attendees by sharing stories of heroic individuals and showing how even the smallest gesture can make a difference during this challenging crisis.


2:45pm - 3:30pm

There’s No Need to Worry About America’s Favorite Beverage

Professor of Health Law & Science Policy | Author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?

Timothy Caulfield, host and co-producer of the award-winning Netflix series A User’s Guide to Cheating Death and author most recently of Relax, Dammit!: A User’s Guide to the Age of Anxiety, will break down the decisions that stress consumers out and how to communicate the science that says there’s no need to worry about America’s favorite beverage."


3:45pm - 4:30pm

The Race Card Project - Eavesdropping on America's Conversation on Race

Michele Norris, former NPR Host/Special Correspondent, Founding Director of The Race Card Project and Washington Post Opinions Contributor

Join us for a discussion on race and identity in America, with Peabody Award-winning journalist Michele Norris, founder of The Race Card Project™. The Race Card Project creates sturdy cultural bridges through candid conversation using real stories on race, culture and identity. In 2010, former NPR journalist Michele Norris began inviting people to distill their thoughts on the word race to only six words. Since then, The Race Card Project™ has collected more than 500,000 “postcards” from all 50 states and 96 countries. People often send backstories and photos to share more about what is behind their six-word statements. Many of these essays contain sentiments and hard truths rarely expressed out loud. Today, these powerful six-word memoirs kickstart honest conversations that leave people with a better sense of each other, and themselves, through a variety of tools and resources. The goal is to tap into the stories, people and threads that make up our complex cultural landscape and then engage people to talk across difference, race, inclusion and identity.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

10:10am - 11:00am

Financial Update

G. Scott Clemons, Partner, Chief Investment Strategist, Private Wealth Management, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.


11:10am - 11:50am

Communicating Coffee & Health to a Global Audience

Panel Discussion


1:00pm - 1:40pm - Breakout Sessions

Simple, Premium, Functional: The Post-Pandemic Landscape for US Coffee

Matthew Barry, Beverages Consultant, Euromonitor International

Several uncertainties challenge US coffee sector performance in the aftermath of COVID-19. The sector will grapple with the long-term legacy of the virus and the slow return to “normalcy.” In this presentation, Euromonitor International examines critical issues coffee needs to overcome during the pandemic recovery period, including shifts in spending patterns, rising demand for mental wellbeing as a functionality and new daily routines.

Mapping the fascinating journey of C. arabica through the world: a genetic discovery in Yemen

Dr. Christophe Montagnon, Founder and Chairman of RD2 Vision

In recent years, advances in genetic diversity research and deep historical literature review have enabled the development of a deeper understanding of the journey of C. arabica through the world and the consequences of that journey on the present genetic and varietal landscapes worldwide. Yemen has been confirmed through numerous studies to be a key location for the domestication of C. arabica and its gateway to the world. In 2020, new research carried out by Dr Montagnon and Qima Coffee indicated that Yemen is still host to unique coffee genetics, some of which has never traveled to the rest of the world. A new genetic mother population was discovered in the research, named “Yemenia”.

Managing Your Insurance Program 101

Rob Bouvier & Lindsey Irvin, Bouvier Insurance

The competitive insurance renewal and bid management process is the best way to ensure you get the best price and coverage terms that the insurance marketplace has to offer. This session will help you to understand insurance market dynamics, provide a state of the marketplace, offer tips on how best to navigate a hard market and will discuss the intricacies of bidding out your insurance program, and how best to manage that process. We cannot promise to save you 10% in 10 minutes, but we will promise you will leave with at least 10 new ideas for managing your insurance program and costs.

The Biggest Impacts on Coffee in 2020-2021: Covid-19, Supply & Demand, Currency Volatility, Consumption and the Challenges Ahead

Albert Scalla, Senior Vice President of Trading, Stone FX

2020 was by far the most challenging year globally in recent history, to say the least. All indices, markets, business and especially, families, were impacted in one way or another. For Coffee, 2020 was a difficult year to contend with. All stakeholders in the supply chain, from the producer to the consumer were and continue to be affected by the pandemic. We will review the pandemics effect on price over the course of the past 15 months but more importantly look forward to the future and the variables at play for Coffee prices.


1:40pm - 2:00pm - Wellness Break

Full Body Stretch & Yoga

Ailis Garcia, The Strong Movement

Take 20 minutes for yourself to reconnect with your mind and body! Research suggests that a regular yoga practice is correlated with increased well-being and greater happiness. And, just a single 20-minute session of yoga has shown to stimulate cognitive benefits immediately after! One study showed that 20 minutes of yoga improved participants' working memory and ability to focus and process information more quickly and accurately. So, take a step back from your computer and join Ailis in this session for a full-body stretch to boost your energy, de-stress and improve your flexibility--both in mind and body. After this session, you'll be re-charged and ready to keep learning in the NCA Virtual Sessions and take on your day's tasks!


2:00pm - 2:40pm - Breakout Sessions

A Stronger Tomorrow Begins with Today’s Innovations: Two IWCA Examples from Coffee Origins

International Women's Coffee Alliance (IWCA)

The IWCA Organization is a global network of independent, mission-aligned organizations leading change in their communities. Across the coffee industry, responding to the COVID pandemic demands resilience, innovation, and a commitment to preserve. If there is a silver lining, it may be that IWCA Chapters have always been fueled by all three. In this session, leaders from IWCA Philippines and IWCA Uganda share their innovative inspirational approaches to ensure a stronger tomorrow across the coffee supply chain.

(Don’t) Think Outside the Box: Package and Labeling Issues for Coffee

CJ Sinko, Global Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Lavazza Professional

Labels can be the first line of communication you have with consumers and as always with first impressions you want to get it right! Product labels serve to communicate certain required and voluntary information to consumers. Using the NCA labelling toolkit as a template this session will dive into the required labeling elements for coffee products and where on your label this information needs to be displayed. Use of voluntary information such as claims, certifications and use of pictograms on your label can be a great way to differentiate your product’s value however if not thoroughly vetted could lead you into trouble. We will discuss what elements should be considered when including voluntary information on your label.

While Supplies Last: Limited Time Offers to Drive Traffic and Boost Sales

Lauren Hallow, Senior Manager Consumer Insights at Technomic, Inc.

Limited-time offers, or LTOs, are essential in keeping menus fresh and often help drive incremental traffic and sales for operators. Learn which coffee LTOs are generating the most interest among consumers in terms of purchase intent, uniqueness, craveability and draw/likelihood to increase visits, and see the differences in these attributes by gender, age and ethnicity.

Rounding Up the Facts on Crop Protectants and Coffee Contaminants

Mark Corey, Ph.D., NCA and Walt Brandl, Ph.D., Merieux NutriSciencess

The last year has brought forth a number of emerging consumer and industry issues on chemicals such as the weed killer glyphosate, used in crop production, or Ochratoxin A (OTA), which can occur in moldy coffee. The inflammatory way these chemicals are often portrayed in the media means a once-inside baseball issue can transform into a consumer panic overnight. This session is intended to provide a broad overview on several hot topics in the consumer and analytical space, including glyphosate, OTA, Prop 65, rumblings from European regulators, and what analytical testing technologies are available to aid industry in its fight to defend and advocate for coffee’s safety and fidelity.

Friday, March 5, 2021

10:10am - 10:50am

NCDT 2021 Tracking Consumers Coffee Consumption During Covid-19

Cheryl Hung, Vice President of Research, Dig Insights

Covid-19 swept into our lives in March, 2020. Almost a year later, how has the affect of the pandemic changed consumers and their coffee drinking habits? Join Cheryl Hung (Dig Insights) for the first check-in of the National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT) report of 2021. We will examine how coffee drinking behaviour has shifted compared to pre-pandemic, consumer sentiment and attitudes towards coffee, and understand what that means for the broader coffee industry. As we all hope for some positive change in 2021, Cheryl will also showcase a new look for the NCDT online dashboard.


11:20am - 12:00pm

Covid Decoded - How the Pandemic Shaped Today's Top Digital Business Trends

Eric Schwartzman, Digital Media Consultant

If you sat the digital revolution out, the pandemic was your wake up call. By now, you should be able to smell the coffee. While the physical restrictions imposed by the coronavirus decimated the retail, hospitality, and foodservice sectors, startups that virtualize analog experiences like Zoom, Peleton and Shopify say earnings and stock prices soar. And Slack, a remote workforce communication platform, was acquired by Saleforce.com for nearly $28B. What have we learned from the lockdown about digital business and how can we adapt to be more agile, resilient, and impervious to the trials and tribulations of the physical universe? Join best-selling author and international keynote speaker Eric Schwartzman for a whirlwind presentation about the last trends, tools, and techniques behind the cyberfication of business.


1:30pm - 2:10pm

Covid-19 Safety for Roasters and Manufacturers

Scott Hawks, Senior Consultant, ToxStrategies

The novel coronavirus and the disease it causes (Covid-19) have wreaked havoc on a global scale, uprooting the lives of untold millions. Food manufacturers and retailers have not been spared – far from it. In this session, we’ll share best practices for safely operating coffee roasting and manufacturing facilities in the era of Covid-19 and offer a vision for what may come in 2021 and beyond.

Coffee Sector Transparency: Trends and Hurdles in Sustainability Reporting

Bambi Semroc, Acting SVP, Center for Sustainable Lands and Waters, Conservation International

Decaf Coffee: Facts vs. Fiction

Julie Meyer, Eat Well Global

Single Serve Capsules – Global Market Overview

Martyna Fong, Consulting Manager, AMI

From a niche market, single serve capsules have grown to be one of the most important coffee formats sold in retail. This dynamic market segment has a complex value chain. There are a number of coffee brewing systems available with proprietary capsule designs. Nespresso and Keurig are brands that pioneered the emergence of the segment and have the highest machine instalment rates globally. Nevertheless, the expiry of their design patents in 2012 brought about disruptive changes in the supply chain. The changes created new opportunities for both end-users and converters to tap into this growing market segment. On the other hand, the supply chain of capsules is rapidly losing its oligopolistic nature and the former dominance of major suppliers is challenged as the market expands. A more fragmented supply chain affects the overall profit pool and the way consumers make their choices. With the growing number of capsules in landfills, the industry is under pressure from environmentalists as well as more conscientious consumers. There is an urgent need to review the materials used for capsules conversion in search of more sustainable options, as well as to explore end-of-life solutions. Material changes are likely to disrupt the supply chain even further.


2:10pm - 2:30pm - Wellness Break

Resilience:  Navigating Challenging Times

Ailis Garcia, The Strong Movement

The compounding stressors of work and life in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic are profoundly affecting us all and having real consequences on our minds and bodies. According to the American Psychological Association Stress in America 2020 Report, we are currently facing a serious national mental health crisis with long-term implications. With Generation Z adults reporting significantly higher levels of stress than other generations and with 64% of employed adults reporting work as a source of stress, building resilience skills is crucial now more than ever. Working on improving your resilience will help you to make better decisions, improve your relationships and enhance your overall well-being. Research shows that resilience is also associated with greater job satisfaction, work happiness, organizational commitment, and employee engagement. In this session, you will learn about the science of resilience and take away tangible tools and strategies to navigate work stressors and life challenges more effectively. These skills will help you not just get through the tough times, but grow through them!


2:30pm - 3:10pm - Breakout Sessions

Down but Not Out: Challenges and Opportunities in Away from Home Coffee

Caleb Bryant, Associate Director of Food & Drink, Mintel

Demand for premium made-to-order coffee was strong at the start of 2020 but the market was completely shaken by the pandemic. while the away from home coffee market is undeniably facing serious challenges, opportunities for growth still exists as the market adapts to the “next normal”. learn about consumers’ interest in innovative coffee beverages and how operators can position specialty coffee drinks as affordable luxuries to consumers bored of their monotonous home coffee routine.

Advances in Instant & Decaf Coffee Processing Technology

Stephan Suarez, North American Trade Desk Manager

An overview of the current and future state of the Decaf and instant segment of our industry. Looking at demand, drinking trend in the decaf and the evolution and uses of instant coffee.

Paths to Prosperity: Helping Coffee Farmers Through Science

Vern Long, World Coffee Research

Weather, plant disease, insects, and changes in quality can impact a farmer’s crop – and the income s/he earns. Learn about World Coffee Research’s essential research on the coffee plant, the conditions that help it thrive, and how this work can help improve the livelihoods of farmers.