Our well-loved 5 Questions series continues as we sit and chat with Debbie Rebell, VP of Marketing at Urnex. Debbie is responsible for the oversight and direction of all the marketing and promo stuff at Urnex, including their ongoing sponsorship of the United States Barista Championship. Debbie has a pretty serious pro marketing background, which makes her unique in specialty coffee; prior to joining Urnex, she worked in the marketing departments at Pepperidge Farm and Kraft Foods, where she was in the coffee division. Ms. Rebell is also quietly one of the more academically accomplished members of the specialty coffee community, with an MBA from the revered J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and an Ivy League B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Urnex goes to a lot of coffee events. Which was your favorite in recent memory?
Most recently, we were at the SCAA in Boston. The turnout was great and the overall event was a huge success. One thing that made it particularly special was that my team and I attended the International Women’s Coffee Alliance breakfast. Keynote speaker Debra Gittler spoke about the work that her team is doing to overcome the challenges of education in the coffee producing communities of El Salvador. Her speech reminded me how long the chain is from coffee farm to cup, and that we can continue do more to improve the educational opportunities of others in the chain.
How does it feel to work in a big company that's still family owned?
It’s interesting to hear you consider Urnex a “big company.” We are a tight knit team dedicated to doing things well, enjoying our work, and having fun. Having been in the business practically his whole life, it is easy to see how much pride Joshua Dick has for the Urnex brand and the passion he has for the coffee community. This sense of pride trickles down throughout our entire organization. His deep level of experience challenges us daily to develop new and innovative ways to continue to build our brand and help people make better tasting coffee.
If you were an Urnex product, which would you be and why?
This is a terrific question, so I reached out and enlisted several of my colleagues to give their input. We had fun with this! Personally I think I would be “Wipz”, because I have multiple uses. Here is a sampling of what some other folks at Urnex offered:
“Dezcal Pro – because I am a notch above the norm.”
“Grindz – because it takes cares of the neglected, and I like to take care of people.”
“Full Circle – because I am ’kind’ to the environment.”
“Urn and Brewer – because I am the one and only original.”
Urnex has been involved with specialty coffee competition culture for a long time, as a sponsor and advocate. Can you tell us a bit why this culture is important for Urnex?
Many of the employees at Urnex are former athletes who have a great appreciation for what it takes to prepare and compete at a high level. We understand the satisfaction gained by knowing you put your best efforts forward. The competition series within the coffee industry is always exciting to watch, and we have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for everyone that trains and competes.
We recently traveled to Milan to cover the second annual Urnex / Dalla Corte DC Campus. What makes this event special?
We feel fortunate to be able to have been a part of this event from the very beginning. Giving baristas the opportunity to practice and learn prior to Nice 2013 is part of why people love being in the coffee world – collaboration and exploration. It is a pleasure working with Antonella and her team at Dalla Corte who, as of last count, has tripled the number of participants coming to the event this year! Of course we also hope that as these events continue to grow and gain popularity, we will have representatives from more countries, including the United States!
Urnex is a a longstanding sponsor of the United States Barista Competition, Sprudge.com, and baristas worldwide. Their official website is here.