Self-Pourtraits Series: A Day in the Life of a General Manager


At Caribou Coffee, we have always celebrated strong women leaders like our original roastmaster, Amy Erickson, who was a trailblazer in the coffee industry and an icon of Caribou Coffee’s culture and commitment to quality. We honor Amy’s legacy by upholding the rigorous standards she put in place for each batch of coffee we roast and through meaningful partnerships with every sale of our Amy’s Blend coffee beans. This year, Amy’s story has inspired us to highlight the impact of women throughout the coffee supply chain, from farmers and exporters to our field team members. In 2024, we are supporting the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) to strengthen our shared commitment to encourage, recognize and uplift women in coffee, by donating 10% of Amy’s Blend proceeds to IWCA.*

Like Amy, countless women impact our business and make their mark on the world of coffee. Today, we continue to celebrate all those amazing women leaders by highlighting the stories of two of our General Managers in Minnesota, Anna and Paige. Their journeys from Team Member to General Manager are not just career progressions but are narratives of dedication, growth and leadership. They were eager to share their stories to inspire others:

anna smiling with caribou coffee
Anna started at her Caribou Coffee store as a Team Member in 2005. Now, she’s the General Manager.

Tell me about your Caribou Career journey! What specific roles or positions have you held, and how did each contribute to your overall career development?

Anna: I started as a part-time team member in 2005 in this same store! I’d been a stay-at-home mom for 18 years, and when my youngest started school I wanted to get back into the workforce. Caribou fit my schedule so I was able to work during the kids’ school day. When my youngest was older, I decided I wanted to make this my career, so I worked my way from Team Member to Assistant Manager, and then shortly after was promoted to General Manager. I learned a lot by starting as a Team Member because I was able to learn the basics first and practice my skills over time.

Paige: Honestly working at Caribou happened by accident! I was referred by a coworker I met at a wedding, and when I got hired as a Team Member I knew nothing about coffee. Once I had learned the role of Team Member, I wanted to continue to learn more about the business so with the continued support and encouragement from my leaders over time, I committed to progressing to a management position. I’ve been a General Manager for about four months now. I enjoy this role because I can learn a lot from the different experiences, and I get to meet a lot of people and gain a unique perspective from trying new things like supporting a new store opening and working shifts on the ‘Bou Truck.

paige smiling with caribou coffee
Paige climbed the ranks from Team Member to General Manager.

Where do you get inspiration?

Anna: Personally, it’s my kids that inspire me! Professionally, it’s my tenured staff. We have times where we can have 65 total years of experience on the floor at one time! That makes for a great guest experience and a fun and rewarding working environment. This store has remained a part of the community and I see old friends, kids who I watched grow up and families that I’ve known for years. It’s so fun to watch everyone’s lives unfold and know that you made an impact.

Paige: I come from a very artistic and creative background, so I’ve always had an eye to see a different way to do things. I like to be able to look at challenges from a unique angle and create change through sharing my ideas with my team. I worked at a summer camp for a long time prior to this, so I’m also inspired by being outdoors and I enjoy working as a team. Seeing others do what I thought I couldn’t do gives me the courage to be able to try to do those things too.

Were there any challenges you faced as a woman in the coffee industry, and how did you overcome them to advance in your career?

Anna: As a mother, I would say that this has been a very rewarding career path! Part of the reason I chose a career with Caribou was because of the flexible scheduling that allowed me to prioritize the needs of my family. We were able to sit down for a family dinner every single Sunday and spend quality time together. My kids are successful adults now and tell me they are grateful for that time we had together.

Paige: The culture at Caribou is very supportive and inclusive, but as a young woman in business, it’s important to me to be able to show that I can make a store profitable and be a strong leader. In college, I was one of a handful of women in my major, and I did find that I had to work hard to prove to my classmates that I knew what I was doing. Now I find that my biggest roadblock can sometimes be myself. To feel confident in taking the General Manager position, I needed the encouragement of my mentors, the women leaders that have been here for me along the way!

What advice would you give to a woman who is starting a similar career journey?

Anna: Years ago, one of my leaders gave me some fantastic advice that has stuck with me all these years. They said, “Always put a positive spin on everything.” I continue to remind myself to do that. Also, you’ve got to give it time to feel confident in your role. The reward of taking the time you need to learn your business will be that you can make positive change and create a great vibe with your team. Give your team that same time to learn and grow and know that the time you spend developing them will provide more freedom for you because you will grow trust in each other.

Paige: Be proud and take pride in what you do! Don’t be afraid to be yourself and show everyone what you know! I didn’t necessarily think that I needed a mentor to help push me and challenge me to do things I never thought I could do, but every time there is an opportunity, she gives me a nudge and it has helped me to be who I am today. As a woman in business, you may have to prove that you can do it – get out there!

These stories of passion, courage and pride spotlight some of the many unique ways that women leaders make a powerful impact at Caribou Coffee. We continue to empower and uplift women in coffee this year through our partnership with IWCA, providing proceeds from Amy’s Blend 2024 to chapters in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Kenya and Ethiopia to develop programs that will achieve meaningful change for women throughout the coffee industry. Please join us as we raise our coffee cups in honor of Amy Erickson, Anna, Paige and every BOUrista who helps to serve our coffee with love!

*Caribou Coffee® will donate 10% of all proceeds of Amy’s Blend sold from March 7, 2024, to June 5, 2024, to the International Women’s Coffee Alliance. Total donation amount during this promotional period shall not exceed $50,000.