Sharon Jan of Seven Miles is this year’s recipient of the Eleonora Genovese Women in Coffee Award.
“Receiving the award was a lovely surprise and a great honour,” Sharon says. “To follow in the footsteps of women like previous winner Melissa Caia and the legacy of Eleonora [Genovese] is very special, and validates the work I’ve been doing.”
The Australian Specialty Coffee Association (ASCA) in association with the Genovese family established the awards in 2016 to recognise the many contributions Eleonora Genovese made to the Australian coffee community.
Eleonora sadly lost her brave battle with cancer on 19 September 2015 and her legacy lives on through the awards which celebrate the same values Eleonora so proudly displayed: community involvement, voluntary work in competition, mentorship, leadership, passion, and commitment to growing and supporting the Australian coffee scene,
Like Eleonora, Sharon has dedicated her time to the ASCA Coffee Championship in pursuit of growing her skills and industry knowledge.
“I’ve always enjoyed voluntary work. It started from Scottie Callaghan’s passion at Belaroma and it’s given me wonderful opportunities and the chance to meet other women in the industry such as Emily Oak, Penny Wolff, Melissa, and Eleonora,” Sharon says. “I remember seeing Eleonora time keeping at the World Barista Championship (WBC) I attended in London in 2010. She also played such a supportive role at the competitions behind the scenes.”
Sharon has also shown her industry commitment through judging. Since 2006, Sharon has judged in the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales Coffee competition, as well as pasta and olive oil. Since 2013, she has judged at the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Australian International Coffee Awards. She has also participated at the 2015 Best of Yunnan Coffee competition in China, 2011 Flavours of India in Melbourne, and the 2017 Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania coffee competition.
ASCA President Brent Williams also announced A Rising Star Award during the inaugural Barista Connect event in Melbourne. This award is presented to an up and coming industry female who has made a great impression in their field of work, regardless of their length of time in the industry.
This year’s winner is Jade Jennings of Veneziano Coffee Roasters.
“I was totally blown out of the water to hear that I’d won,” Jade says. “Erin Sampson and Michaela Gerard (of Veneziano) took me to awards and said we should be there to support the winner. Little did I know that I was that person. I was absolutely shocked, speechless and humbled”.
Jade has many people to thank for her career progression, including her family and especially husband Steve who always support her “crazy adventures”, the Veneziano team for pushing her to be better, to ASCA for providing such a great competition platform, and to the Genovese family for honouring leading women in the Australian coffee community.
“It’s very humbling to share in this award that’s named in Eleonora’s honour. She was such an inspiring woman,” Jade says. “There are so many amazing women in our industry and to be chosen by the Genovese family, is very special.”
Jade he has been with Veneziano Coffee Roasters for nearly seven years and is currently Veneziano’s Training and Development Manager. Jade is a valued member of the Veneziano family and has extended her education through participating in competitions – not only as a competitor but as a judge.
Jade says this Rising Star award validates the wonderful contribution women are making to the Australian coffee community, and encourages more ladies to get out of their comfort zone.
“I would definitely love to see more female competitors in the ASCA competitions, but also just more competitors in general. I’d also like to see more events that encourage women getting together, sharing information and networking.”
To nominate an outstanding Woman in Coffee, visit australianspecialtycoffee.com.au/women-in-coffee-award/