In this blog series, we offer you behind-the-scenes glimpses of our team members and the many unique viewpoints and experiences they bring to our company, our coffee, and the Kaldi’s Coffee community.
This month we sat down with Lyndsey Patel, our Head of Sales and Business Development. Lyndsey joined Kaldi’s about a year ago and brings a focused energy and a passion to help others that lights up the room. That passion has driven her career, her personal life, and a life-long commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy.
We hope you enjoy following along on her journey from Kansas to Kaldi’s, and discovering how Lyndsey’s passion motivates her to make her world a bit better every day.
Watch our video interview with Lyndsey (and Stella!) here:
Lyndsey, a Kansas native, moved to Saint Louis in 2014, and one of her first experiences was visiting our cafe across from Washington University, on Skinker. To this day, she remembers, “the baristas were so friendly and the coffee was so good, it really helped me settle in and feel at home here.” At the time, Lyndsey was working for a national restaurant chain and traveling all over the country, so her neighborhood Kaldi’s in the Central West End became a reassuring part of her Saint Louis routine.
Lyndsey with her family
As COVID hit and travel became harder, Lyndsey’s adorable daughter, Stella, was born and she naturally began to think about making a change in her career. With her passion for Kaldi’s and best-foot-forward personality, she reached out to us and started a conversation about joining our team. We weren’t hiring at the time, but we stayed in regular contact, and the moment a role opened up that matched her vast experience, our decision was easy.
The department Lyndsey oversees, Sales and Development, helps to support and grow our wholesale customers. Over 300 customers, from groceries to universities to office spaces to single cafes, are offered our expertise, equipment, and training. Lyndsey’s mission is to bring our coffee experience to life for our wholesale partners.
As all of the retail sector has had to adapt to new challenges over the past few years, she describes her biggest challenges as “figuring out how to apply the learnings of our own cafes, in order to help our wholesale partners navigate the post-COVID environment, from staffing challenges to supply chain issues, to menu development.”
Outside of work, Lyndsey has many passions, first and foremost spending time with her daughter, Stella. We were lucky enough to be graced by Stella’s presence by chance on the day Lyndsey sat down with us, so be sure to watch our interview to meet her. Despite Stella’s age (2) Lyndsey travels with her, takes her to restaurants, and they can often be found strolling the galleries at the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Lyndsey also has a life-long passion for philanthropy, volunteering regularly for non-profits as a child herself, a habit that’s endured throughout the years. “I’ve always put a huge emphasis on philanthropy in my personal life. I’ve always been committed to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, but it’s become even more important to me since I became a mom, as blood cancers are some of the leading forms of pediatric cancers, as I understand the impact it has on young children and families.
Applying her passion for art, travel, and philanthropy has been easy for Lyndsey at Kaldi’s Coffee. She considers the drinks we produce a craft, and says learning about the detail, love, and presentation that goes into coffee has only deepened her opinion. Her passions for travel and philanthropy have also been reinforced, continuing her coffee love affair (which began drinking espresso in Italy many years ago) in a unique way.
She explains, “I get to learn about so many parts of the world where coffee is sourced, I’m constantly adding destinations to my travel wish list. And giving back goes hand in hand with that learning about all the processes and people involved in coffee’s supply chain, from the pickers to the farmers to the exporters, and the relationships that we have with them all. We're doing a lot to give back to those communities all the time, all over the world in so many ways, and that feels really rewarding.”
Passion is a core value at Kaldi’s Coffee, and something Lyndsey’s always tried to embody. From studies to careers to philanthropy, passion has always been a huge part of what drives her. Motherhood has created an even greater motivation, as she seeks to model a life driven by passion for her daughter, Stella, through philanthropy and a baseline desire to meet each day with focus and vigor.
As an adult, Lyndsey has focused her philanthropic work primarily on one charity, due to a close friend’s encounter with blood cancer in her early 20’s. When her friend was diagnosed in college, Lyndsey immediately looked for a way to help and found the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, volunteering as an intern with LLS.
It changed her life. As an intern she got to meet more people affected by cancer, and gained an up-close view of the impact, progress, and research that LLS was producing. Her internship also put her to work directly on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s largest annual fundraising campaign, the Man and Woman of the Year contest. It’s structured as a competition for star fundraisers to challenge each other to raise the most money and features a child that’s honored in each campaign, as blood cancers significantly affect children.
After the internships, Lyndsey stayed involved in nonprofits, and a decade later, this year, she was nominated to compete for the Woman of the Year award. The very day she was nominated, she learned a close friend’s 3 year old daughter had been diagnosed with leukemia, sending her motivation through the roof. She set her goal at $50,000 because that amount would fund a specific grant that LLS could use to fight blood cancer.
Lyndsey created Coffee for a Cure to complement her efforts, by providing an alternative stream of fundraising. We were proud support Lyndsey, the LLS, and we contributed all proceeds from sales directly to Lyndsey’s campaign. Hear this inspiring story in her own words by watching our interview!
Lyndsey Quick Q&A:
“A cappuccino: it’s always made beautifully, it’s simple, and it’s always delicious! I love our seasonal drinks too, how they taste, but also how much time and thought goes into them, from conception to execution”.
Favorite Current Coffee?
“I love the Ethiopia Tigist Waqo, it’s just so light, bright and delicious on its own. For blends, I love the adaptability of 700, as an espresso and as a brewed coffee!”
Favorite Place to Vacation?
“My soul’s always in Italy, but I took a trip with my husband in late 2019 to Marrekesh, Morocco, and it was gorgeous, the food was so good, and I loved the culture, the shopping, and having incredible mint tea every day.”
Favorite Food Item?
“Depending on the day, it’s either our quiche with a side salad, or an Egg Bagel, I just love them so much!”
Magical Retirement Plan?
“If I could retire today, I’d marry my passion for art and travel, by visiting as many art museums as possible around the world.”
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