In 2011, the team at Café Culture realised as we were growing so quickly, we needed good people around us at our events – people who understood how we operated and networked with the industry. We put the word out that we needed a ‘roadie’. We’ve had our faithful original roadie/supporter, Matthew O’Brien, since the start of our business 10 years ago … and now he deserves an apprentice.
Last year’s Golden Bean in Caloundra saw the perfect candidate in Leigh Carmichael, an independent coffee trainer from Brisbane, who volunteered to be a runner at the competition. She worked away tirelessly throughout the event and we were so impressed, all of the Café Culture team were unanimous in voting Leigh in as our 2012 Roadie.
Leigh has a strong passion for coffee, meticulously high standards and superior customer service skills; it’s no surprise she spend hers days training future baristas.
I must say that Leigh has a pretty honest approach with her students. The majority of them have not ever attempted making coffee before, so she is quick to squash any illusions that it’s an easy role; but in the same breath, will inform them that this is one of the best industries to be a part of. She tells them: “Once you work in this industry, you love it so much that you will never leave.” Leigh really likes to build an image in their mind that there is so much more to it than what goes into the cup.
Leigh has worn many caps in her life, from professional photography to visual merchandiser for a large alternative chain store; it was this position that saw her transfer from Sydney to Brisbane. Before barista training, she was part owner in a mobile coffee business, mainly working in local markets and community events, and it was at this time her real passion was ignited.
As an Independent trainer and assessor, Leigh enjoys the freedom to work with various different companies around the nation, with a lot of her work around southern Queensland. She is dedicated to her craft and understands the principles of adult learning and how coffee training can turn around people’s career opportunities. Leigh feels really blessed to be in the position she is in today. Her approach is to not only teach, but to inspire.
Leigh comes from a caffeinated family, with her husband working for a large national coffee equipment and service chain. With 3 children aged 13, 4 and 2, she is a busy lady. Recently she has started taking her 4 year old daughter out for some girly time, heading off to a café, sharing a cupcake and a chat over a babyccino and piccolo latte. This allows her to enjoy having time out, plus experiencing some of Brisbane’s great cafés. Her daughter already has a list of favourites. Not bad, considering she is only 4.
Leigh said, “2012 is already looking to be a big year. Outside of my training and consulting role, I am thrilled to be appointed the Cafébiz Roadie. I have great respect for the team and am looking forward to working alongside them.”
Leigh is also in the process of writing her own coffee training program – something a little different to what has already been done – and said she’s very excited to see a dream come to life. She looks forward to the launching of the program later in the year.
To enquire about Leigh’s training or consulting, she can be contacted via email: Beanstalking@bigpond.com or alternatively, she can be followed on Twitter: Leigh Carmichael/piccologirl2