Together We Rise: Women of Good Citizen

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Together We Rise: Women of Good Citizen

This month at Beyond the Brew, we are celebrating the women of Good Citizen in honor of International Women's Day and Women's History Month. We appreciate that we can celebrate them on this day, this month, and every day as important leaders in our team and our industry.

These women are some of the most passionate and dedicated individuals, and their standards are high because of how much they care and how much they build one another up with understanding and love. ⁠

Chelsea Kallman (She/Her), National Sales Manager

What is a moment you felt that you had a seat at the table in the coffee industry?

“I remember romanticizing coffee since I was a teenager, and I always thought making espresso drinks was the epitome of being a barista. So, naturally when I started working in coffee shops that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to steam milk and pour latte art. There came a few points where I realized it was preferred I worked register because I was a pretty face, better for tips. At other times they preferred I make the schedule or do inventory, because I was organized. All the while, my male coworkers got to work 8 hour bar shifts and pour hundreds of lattes just to get better. But, that didn’t change the fact that I still wanted to be an amazing barista and latte artist, and it wasn’t until I started standing up for myself, and had co-workers that would also stand up for me, that I got to start working the bar more. I carried those stereotypes around with me for a long time, to the point that I thought I was just better suited for office work. But, when I started at Good Citizen, it was right around the time my daughter was born. I realized I wanted to do something to prove to her, and to myself, that I could do whatever I wanted with my life, that I could be an artist and sales rep at the same time. So, I signed up for US Barista Competition. I prepared for a year for this series of events, all the while working my office coffee job of being a sales rep and never working bar shifts. I ended up taking 1st Place in my Preliminary competition. Then I took 2nd Place in my Regional competition. And finally I tied for 7th in the Nation. Regionals took place in Nashville, and when they called my name for that 2nd place position the support and love in the room was palpable. I will never forget the roar of the crowd and cheering, and the Good Citizen team literally jumping on me and hugging me as I ran to the front of the room. At that moment I knew that I had a seat at the table. I knew that everyone saw my worth and respected me for my work. It’s funny, because looking back I totally had a seat before that moment. But that was the moment when I really realized it. I’ll hold that with me forever.”

Do you have any words of encouragement to other women looking for their seat at the table?

“Prove them wrong. If you want something, ignore the stereotypes and just do it. Make your own table if you have to and invite people to sit with you.” 

Rachel Bush (She/They), Account Manager

What is a moment you felt that you had a seat at the table in the coffee industry?

"This job has given me the platform to be a woman in coffee. I’ve always felt like I would be trusted, more successful, and well-respected if I was a man. I’ve had experiences where my male coworkers were promoted for a job I trained them on and made more money than me. That was a giant slap in the face. I was working a really high responsibility job and only being paid $10 an hour. Working at Good Citizen has changed my perspective on what I’m worth.  Here I am heard, I know that my ideas matter, and they give me the resources to sprout my ideas into life. I’ve never felt like I have a voice, or that my employer valued the opinions I thought were worth bringing to the table. Shortly after I started, I had the idea that we can start being transparent on our social platforms with research on coffee inflation over the last few centuries. Now weeks later, there’s a team of people working together to execute this idea and turn it into something huge for our customers and followers. It’s surreal that this is all because my voice was heard. With Good Citizen, every time I speak they hear me and value what I have to say. I have a seat at the table here, and that’s everything I’ve dreamed of. It was a long, hard journey discovering what I’m worth and finding those that saw it, too. The best encouragement I have to give is that knowing your worth is key. Women have been trained to keep our mouths shut and accept the lesser from our male counterparts. I believe this stops with knowing your worth, loud and proud."

Hallie Compton (She/They), Roaster and Production Assistant

What is a moment you felt that you had a seat at the table in the coffee industry?

"I’ve never gotten the impression that the coffee industry was a men’s club, and now that I’ve been given the opportunity to roast coffee at Good Citizen, I am more sure that it isn’t! I have never been underestimated here for the facts that I am small and a woman. Men are typically the ones looked to for jobs that are more physical and demanding of strength (a bag of green coffee weighs 1.5 times as much as me!), but I have not been questioned, overlooked, or disparaged as a woman roasting coffee. When I first said that I was interested in learning to roast, I was met with encouragement and warm hearts. I think that the coffee industry has given me a seat at the table more readily than any industry that I’ve worked in."

Do you have any words of encouragement to other women looking for their seat at the table?

"Don’t be afraid to just pull up a seat to the table if you want to be there! You are strong and capable– accept nothing less than what you deserve. Women belong in all spaces."

Cassandra Wild (She/Her), Operations Supervisor

What is a moment you felt that you had a seat at the table in the coffee industry?

"It took over 5 years in the industry to truly feel included in coffee. Like a lot of the women I’ve worked with, I was funneled into server or supervisor shifts instead of getting barista time. When I first started working for this company I was with the restaurant side, and found such a great environment of inclusion and learning among the staff. I finally felt like I could explore coffee in a collaborative setting. Moving to the Roastery has only increased that feeling. I was apprehensive about moving into such a male-dominated field, but the team could not have been more welcoming or supportive in my journey. I learned to roast, I got to be involved in cuppings, and I learned more about coffee in my first year with Good Citizen than I did in all my years working at cafes. So much of that is thanks to a team that actively wants to help women find their seat at the table."

Do you have any words of encouragement to other women looking for their seat at the table?

"It’s so important to learn to speak up for yourself, ask for what you want, and fight for your “seat at the table.” No one else can know what you want unless you tell them. But it’s also important that we are creating environments where underrepresented people don’t have to constantly fight for equal consideration - don’t be afraid to turn down the positions you don’t want, or leave the companies that don’t listen or value you."

Carmen Ornelas (She/Her), Packaging Associate

What is a moment you felt that you had a seat at the table in the coffee industry?

"My supervisor believed in me and advocated for me to join leadership after recognizing my work ethic."

Do you have any words of encouragement to other women looking for their seat at the table?

"Be optimistic and take advantage of growth opportunities when they present themselves."

Cora Collins (She/Her), Production Supervisor

What is a moment you felt that you had a seat at the table in the coffee industry?

"I felt that I had a seat at the table when I was given the opportunity to lead an entire production team through filling and packaging coffee that gets shipped all Nationwide. I feel extremely comfortable as a woman in this industry and I feel like Good Citizen was the force that got me there."

Do you have any words of encouragement to other women looking for their seat at the table?

"For women looking for a seat at the table I would like to say stay strong and know that your strength in standing up for the equality that you deserve will not only help you succeed but also aid in monumental change for others to come, even though it can be extremely tough in moments that you are fighting the hardest."


We want to thank these ladies for taking the time out of their busy schedules to meet with us and share their advice and lived experiences.

These women make Good Citizen run.


Beyond the Brew is a place for all things education, inspiration, and transparency for biodiverse farming and sustainable coffee consumption through Good Citizen. If you have any questions or requests, please reach out to hello@goodcitizen.com