For some, coffee is simply a necessary means to get through an endless day of work. For others, like Barista of the Year 2016 Erica Velasco, coffee is ingrained into every part of her life. This is the story of how a high school graduate went from a reserved barista to an engaging manager with BIGG goals for her future!
As a child, Erica struggled with overcoming social anxiety and shyness among her peers. “I always wanted to fit in but was too shy to get a word in,” says Erica. Despite her insecurities, she spent much of her high school career studying at her local BIGGBY®. The inviting atmosphere not only made finishing homework a breeze, but it also inspired Erica to apply for a job as a barista after graduating a semester early from high school. Erica says, “Everyone at BIGGBY® made talking to people look so easy. I thought the job could teach me a lot.”
As she crafted lattes, magic milks, and everything in-between, the shyness seemed to melt away and in its place, came a love and passion for building relationships with the people in her door every day. It was in one of those moments that Erica realized that her life truly had changed. “I took a deep breath and looked around and I couldn’t believe that what I was doing that day was considered work. My customers and coworkers were my friends and it just felt like home!”
…Erica continues to be a pillar in her community, serving up lattes and more importantly a reason to smile. “A lot of people don’t know how powerful the sincerity of their smile is. It has the power to change someone’s day and change someone’s life……Love is what makes all of those (life) experiences better. The best time to let someone know you care is right now.” To read more, click here.