We’re fortunate to have team made up of incredible humans at Royal Coffee. In honor of National Women’s Day, we are featuring some of them here, and sharing their career advice.

Amanda Amato

Junior Trader, 3 years with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Colombia (Huila specifically) and Rwanda


Career Advice: I’m happy to say that there are a lot more women involved in leadership roles in the coffee industry than when I started out in 2006. There are also great organizations like Glitter Cat, Getchusomegear, and She’s the Roaster that help marginalized people gain access to competitions, education, and equipment, which is going to allow many more people (of all gender representations) to participate in the industry. Connect with other women who work in coffee. It’s been really helpful to share experiences and frustrations with people who can relate, and also to boost each other up. I’ve met some of my best friends this way! Trust your intelligence, capability, and your ability to learn new skills. Nobody just innately knows everything about coffee (even if some people act like they do!). Diversify your skillset! Learn how to do things are aren’t directly related to your position. You never know the directions your career can take and when you might find your new favorite thing to do. Taste everything you can.


Kelly Calabrese

Controller, 2 years with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Sumatran coffees


Career Advice: Exercise emotional intelligence and practice a growth mindset.


Lauren Cropper

Administrative Assistant, 1 year with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: 


Career Advice: Know your value and the value of your time. Get comfortable negotiating. Force yourself to do more of what doesn’t come easy or what you find intimidating. Speak up when you need help or don’t understand. Repeat yourself when you get interrupted. Connect with other women outside your age group and women who are retired. Be proactive. Keep acquiring new skills and knowledge. Never become complacent. Take care of yourself.


Alexandra Fritzler

Outbound Traffic Supervisor, 15 years with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Costa Rican coffee


Career Advice: Don’t be afraid to take on new and challenging work experiences. Take advantage of opportunities that are given to you.


Jennifer Huber

Director of Operations, Trader, 19 years with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Washed Ethiopians


Career Advice: I don’t know if I’m one for giving career advice because I feel like I’m still trying to figure it all out. But here are a few things that have worked for me: 1) Work hard and once you’ve mastered your job, be eager to pitch in and help your teammates and learn new tasks. 2) Stay open to new experiences, people, and perspectives. 3) Get older and care less about what people think of you. I suppose that’s one that can happen at any age, but it took a while for me to get over the discomfort of putting myself out there. Ever since I was in grade school, I would let others speak up, rather than sharing my take because I didn’t want to be judged or for my face to turn bright red, as it would. To get over that it took courage, practice, and ultimately an understanding that my perspective and experience has value regardless of what the audience thinks of it.


Melissa Holland

Inbound Traffic, Accounts Receivable, 6 years with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Guatemala Huehuetenango coffees


Career Advice: Be your best advocate. Embrace challenges. Learn new skills and master them. Never settle for good enough. Surround yourself with positive people. Seek out advice from those you admire. Ask for help if you need it. Keep learning.


Jeri Idso

Senior Trader, Sales Team Leader, 19 years with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Washed Ethiopia, Guatemala


Career Advice: Find (or found!) a company where you can be yourself, and then learn as many jobs there as you can.


Sandra Elisa Loofbourow

Tasting Room Director at The Crown, 2.5 years with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: I’m really excited about where South East Asian coffees are headed, but East Africa will always hold a place in my heart


Career Advice: Be tenacious, but don’t put up with situations that are unfair. Learn when to speak up and when to take notes.


Candice Madison

Director of Roasting at The Crown, 1 year with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: A coffee with a transparent & sustainable supply chain, where all parties are paid fairly. But, you know, anything over 80.


Career Advice: Don’t take no for an answer. There are myriad different ways to forge a path in coffee, think outside the box. Get uncomfortable and be comfortable with that feeling, coffee is a world of innovation- don’t get stuck in your ways. Find your tribe and support each other. Kill the patriarchy with fire!


Caitlin McCarthy-Garcia

Junior Trader; Q Grader, 3 years with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Washed Ethiopias, Colombia, Rwanda, Guatemala


Career Advice: Seek out a mentor, anyone you look up to, and be supportive of people around you, especially anyone that you can mentor.


Mayra Orellana-Powell

Marketing & Outreach Director, 6 years with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Honduras (Catracha Coffees) and natural Ethiopians


Career Advice: Let’s use our position in the specialty coffee industry to open doors for women and minority communities.


Alexandra Pemberton

Chief Marketing Officer, 1 year with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Chocolatey coffees from Guatemala


Career Advice: In no particular order, some advice I like to keep top of mind: Don’t select a career based on what you think may impress people. Instead, put yourself out there (volunteer, take internships, etc.) so that you can understand what type of work energizes you, and go towards those areas. Show up on time with a good attitude. Never forget: how you treat people is everything.

Rosi Quiñones

Sales Team Associate, Certifications Specialist, 5 years with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Peruvian coffees of course! 


Career Advice: Feminism is intersectional. Give your care and attention only to those who deserve it the most. 

Grace Torres

Trading Assistant, 1 year with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Central American coffees


Career Advice: My career advice is to be open and willing to learn new skills. Every new job I’ve ever gotten has been because of some new skill or new software program I’ve learned from a prior job. I’ve always been curious to learn the different aspects of whatever company I am working for at the time and that has allowed me to grow within the company. No task/skill is too small or insignificant to learn to do well.


Amy VanNocker

Inbound Logistics, 3 months with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Well, the producers of Myanmar have a special place in my heart. But lately I’m very into coffees from Huila (Colombia)!


Career Advice: Trust your palette, trust your instincts.


Laurel Writh

Trader, 10 years with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Catracha Coffee


Career Advice: Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right.


Sara Zhang

Chief Marketing Officer, Royal Coffee China, 2 years with Royal Coffee

Favorite Coffee: Ethiopian & Colombian coffee


Career Advice:I am honored to be work in the coffee industry. Research shows that women’s ability to smell and taste is higher than men’s, since god has given us this ability, we should find and create good coffee for more people. Happy Women’s Day to all the women in coffee!