Who: Rebecka Amodei
Company: Coffee People
Has Held Title For: 2 years
Degree: Expecting a BA in anthropology, Portland State University
Coffee people is the kind of place where it's okay to mispronounce "latte." The Portland, Oregon-based chain of java shops is staffed with clearly tagged "Human Beings" like Rebecka Amodei. The Human Beings offer designer coffee drinks in an attitude-free environment - and in return, even the most caffeine-crazed customers remember to treat baristas like, well, human beings. That aura of respect extends to the world at large: Coffee People gives 10% of its after-tax earnings to charitable organizations, focusing on those that help coffee-growing communities.
What's it like to be a Human Being?
It's a lot like other jobs. But I feel like a person, not a part in a machine.
What does it take to be a good Human Being?
It's really important to listen to customers - like the man who called to complain that his Russian Caravan tea didn't taste right. I ended up sipping tea with him over the phone.
How are management-Human Being relations?
Great! It's hard for a company not to support people when it sees them as human beings.
If you weren't a Human Being, what would you be?
A cat. Then I could lie around all day.
A version of this article appeared in the June/July 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.