Meet the Founder: Patty Connor - Founder/CEO of Our Gorongosa
At Amazi, we love highlighting other women-owned, socially driven businesses. We had the opportunity to interview Patty Connor, Founder/CEO of Our Gorongosa. A company that "does coffee differently." Read along to hear the invaluable perspective and words from Patty! Check out their podcast "Girls Who Run the World," to hear about our own founder's mission + journey at Amazi, Renee Dunn!
How did you get started at Our Gorongosa?
It was a bit happenstance. I realized after starting my family that I had a different lens through which I viewed how I spent my time. I decided I wanted my next career step to have a greater impact than just bringing home a paycheck. I really wasn’t sure how that would/could manifest, and around this time, I met our founder, Matt Jordan.
The purpose of our conversation was quite casual–my experience with a particular tradeshow Our Gorongosa was considering. Through that, Matt told me about the vision behind Our Gorongosa, and his experience in Gorongosa National Park over a decade.
I remember leaving the call feeling like-this is the kind of organization I would like to work for-a place where my experience in CPG could be put to use and for greater purpose. Needless to say, a few months later when an opportunity arose, I made the leap and haven’t looked back since!
What sort of challenges have you faced as a female CEO; how have you overcome those challenges?
I think the biggest challenge is around scarcity. I read a stat on International Women’s Day that there are more CEO’s named Michael than there are women CEO’s. I was floored. There’s comfort in being able to follow in someone’s footsteps when you can relate to them–knowing that there are exponentially more men that have held the seat of CEO speaks to why it can feel more daunting for a woman.
I’m blessed: my team is wholeheartedly supportive of me, and unequivocally committed to our collective mission at Our Gorongosa.
Also, I’ve been fortunate enough to belong to communities such as WetheChange-a group of women CEOs of certified B-Corps and purpose driven organizations which provides support, mentorship, and coaching. Opportunities to share experience and knowledge is invaluable for new impact businesses such as ours. I’ve met so many inspiring and generous minded women. It’s strengthened my personal commitment to offer that mentoring and coaching to other women in their professional journey.
What is regenerative trade and how is it supporting the future of an equitable supply chain?
Regenerative Trade is a term we use to describe how Our Gorongosa, and the Gorongosa Project does business. Our tagline is that ‘we do coffee differently’ - and it speaks to how we’ve uniquely partnered with the communities through every step of the process.
We are committed to ensuring that the farmers are paid fairly for their crop (Our Gorongosa pays a premium per pound over the NYSE market price for specialty coffee), and in addition, we partner with those farmers and communities to utilize sustainable agroforestry methods are used-this includes providing inputs such as fertilizer and training. We’re committed to supporting farmers and their communities and re-investing 100% of our profits back into Gorongosa National Park. Our business model is unique-and we want to pave the way for others to do the same.
Why is sustainability important for the future of business?
Simply put, sustainability in business is no longer a ‘nice to have’ any more as much as it is an imperative for every one.
What's your favorite roast and how are profits funneled back into the park?
I have favorite ways to enjoy all of our roasts, but lately, I’ve been really loving having Elephants Never Forget, our light roast, first thing in the morning. It’s got a really lovely floral, citrusy taste that is a great start to my day. The blend name also highlights one of our key areas of impact at the Gorongosa Project, wildlife conservation. I do think it’s important to note, 100% of the profits from the coffee purchase go back to the Gorongosa Project–and our areas of impact include girls education, wildlife conservation, rainforest reforestation–but you can enjoy any roast or blend and feel good that your purchase supports efforts in all the areas of impact.