NKG PACE Partners Shuffle the Deck

By: Porttia Portis

Dec 1, 2022

October was perhaps one of the busiest months for all the NKG PACE Partners thus far, as each of us had the opportunity to travel to enhance our QC training. It’s been noted time and time again that the Partners are experiencing different aspects of the quality control world at each of our respective offices, but last month’s adventures gave us insight into the various ways one can pursue a career as a QC Specialist.

San Diego-based Partner Jayy Terrell took a trip to the Bay Area to visit the storied Peet’s Coffee & Tea headquarters following the announcement of being hired full-time as IAC’s QC Specialist. Charles Umeano made the lengthy trek from the Hoboken office to spend a week here at Atlas, immersing himself in the daily functions of the lab while enjoying a taste of the differences between East coast and West coast cultures.

As for myself, October was jam-packed with travel and traversing the festival circuit. I attended Roast Summit and Coffee Fest here in Seattle, spent a week in Hoboken with the other Partners visiting a range of IAC/Rothos clients, capped off with a day at The New York Coffee Festival, and finally took a trip down to Portland with Atlas’ Head of Marketing Chelsey Walker-Watson to volunteer at Glitter Cat’s most extensive Bootcamp to date.

Jayy, Charles, and Porttia at the Stone Street Coffee roastery in Brooklyn.


Last month was also the first time the Partners were able to reconnect after the inaugural week of the program back in May, so it was a prime chance for all of us to share our experiences with one another. Each of us entered the NKG PACE program with unique, well-rounded coffee backgrounds, but the past six months have shaped all of our careers in ways we would have never expected. One notable juncture took place during our excursion to The New York Coffee Festival, when we met with the owners of Drip Coffee Makers and East One Coffee Roasters after the Global Coffee Institute CEO Forum. Despite our view of them as success stories, listening to the panel and talking with them one-on-one revealed just how similar our challenges in the coffee industry truly are and how programs like NKG PACE are genuinely working to change that narrative.

In addition to sharing professional anecdotes, it was a time for us Partners to just bond as Black people working in coffee, something that can, unfortunately, be too rare in the industry. We were able to laugh, offer advice and be vulnerable with one another in ways that will solidify our bonds for life.

Needless to say, October was a month for the books!