To the Ladies of La Colombe:
Quick backstory: I grew up working in my family’s restaurant, where I was one of only four female employees between the years of 1947 and 2005. Only Paolucci women were allowed to work in the store, as female staff (front of house or kitchen), just was not done. I remember arguing with my father about this as a young teenager. His response was that women in the store was not traditional; it wasn’t classy.
When I began my career with La Colombe, there were 3 cafés in 2 cities. I’ve seen our family grow to 23 cafes in 5 cities and had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented and professional women I’ve ever met. In both wholesale and retail, the office and the roastery, the ladies of La Colombe have created a stunning community of coffee and customer service that I am honored to be a part of. I’d like to say thank you to some of these amazing women, who helped to make me, me.
The woman who taught me how to make coffee in SOHO, circa 2009, also taught me how to have grace under pressure. Kicking out the line or opening up two cafes in the same month, I channel her every time shit hits the fan.
The first female wholesale rep in NYC taught me how to walk into any situation and do my job so well, no one notices I’m 5’ tall and the only woman in the room.
In 2012, I met Doryvette Franco, who’s currently out in LA preparing to get it done. Dory enhanced my ability to recognize strength and talent in other women. Teaching her what others have taught me has been an absolute honor.
To my Aunt Frances, who was a full partner in my family’s business in the 60’s and 70’s in NYC. I wish I had gotten the opportunity to work with you.
And to my Mother, who single-handedly raised three daughters while working 2 jobs and getting her college degree.
And to all the ladies of La Colombe, past and future, who make me proud to work for this company, thank you.
Written by La Colombe Group Manager,
Watch Ali break down the science behind perfect latte on Great Day Washington.