You may have received emails and newsletters telling you a little bit about us, or what we’re doing. But who’s actually writing them? It’s me! (I really do speak in exclamation points). I’m Cara, and I take care of Curious Minds’ marketing and client relations needs.
In the Beginning
I graduated from college with a degree in journalism and anthropology right at the beginning of the Great Recession. After briefly freelancing for some local papers, I realized I needed to be able to pay off my student loans and, you know, eat. I found myself in a coffee shop, where I worked my way up from being a cashier who didn’t drink the stuff, to managing, roasting. Slinging lattes and roasting beans took over my life for the next decade. During these years, I was lucky enough to travel to a coffee farm in Honduras, compete on a regional and national level, and got really good at making people smile at 6am. I also developed a full blown caffeine addiction, and once drank 12 shots of espresso in eight hours. I do not recommend you do this. Ever. I also went to culinary school. If you ever need a butcher, or a wedding cake, just let me know.
Now, how did I get to Curious Minds?
A Change of Pace
The coffee industry is back breaking. It’s also skin scorching. I had scars from a second degree burn on one hand, and burns all over my forearms. I lost most of the sensation in my fingertips from handling hot things, and still don’t have much sensation. Lifting 150 lb. burlap sacks of coffee beans caused me to throw my back out a few times, and my hair always smelled like coffee. That last one might not seem like that big of a deal, but when random strangers sniff you on the subway because “You smell just like a latte,” you might question your choices. And start wearing perfume. I also found coffee grounds in all of my belongings. Coffee grounds are like sand. They get everywhere.
10 years of standing in front of a roaster, often with my face only an inch or two away from a searing hot metal surface, with a sun lamp in front of my face (this is a common practice to better see the finished product), also came with its own health concerns. Coffee roasters regularly burn their arms and faces (do not sneak up behind someone when they are roasting coffee. It’s an excellent way to unintentionally hurt someone). I also had hearing loss from listening for a key moment in the roasting process called first crack. This is when a lot of the flavor development happens, and wearing ear plugs made it too difficult to hear this crucial part of the process. It was time for a change, before my body could no longer function. So, out of the cafe, and into Curious Minds.
My Favorite Things
The hardest part of my job is the constant need to find new ideas and be creative. But it’s also one of my favorite parts about my job. I’m always challenged to come up with an idea, solution, or answer. And if I don’t have one immediately, I will find one. Every day is a little different, which I also appreciate. Much of my day relies on being able to switch gears and adapt.
When I’m not clacking away at a computer (I never took typing classes, so it really is clacking), I love to get outside and take photos. I’ve been focusing on mushroom, flower, and tree identification. My fridge is always filled with golden oyster mushrooms I find on my excursions.