145: Tricia Zimmer Ferguson (Kaldi’s Coffee)

Tricia Zimmer Ferguson on Innovation City

“If you are curious about things, you are going to learn more, dig more, and figure out ways to make things better” – Tricia Zimmer Ferguson

Welcome to Season 3 of Innovation City, a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Tricia Zimmer Ferguson, owner of Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Company. Coming from a third generation entrepreneurial family, Tricia says running a business is in her DNA. Ferguson says she didn’t expect to land herself in the coffee business, but rather stumbled happily upon it. For her, coffee is an experience that brings people together and that is what fuels her passion. In this episode, Tyler and Leigh-Ann sit down with Tricia to get the grind on her drive to create the perfect cup of coffee, her passion for making an impact, how she makes and sustains global connections, and much more!

They discuss:

  • How having family role models shift your mindset and capabilities
  • Why once you have a statement of core values, they should never change
  • Working through hard times are essential building blocks in entrepreneurial life
  • Focusing on getting better each generation
  • Visiting coffee farms and women’s co-ops in order to build better relationships and improve service
  • How most coffee originates in tropical regions close to the equator (mainly Ethiopia)
  • What a Q-Grader’s license is
  • Making an impact by educating producers and students on developing businesses with a focus on specialty coffee shops
  • Maintaining active and loyal relationships with growers
  • Paying farmers higher differentials to ensure sustainability
  • How Kaldi’s makes an impact within the supply chain that supports growers and their communities
  • Educating employees through origin trips and weekly meetings
  • Making an impact by improving educational opportunities
  • The importance of keeping a positive mindset

Lightning Round:

  • What would you do if you were not afraid?
    • Be a lot more spontaneous
  • What makes you feel loved?
    • Affirming words
  • How do you show love to others?
    • Hugs