Meet Rebekah Thomas!
Rebekah Thomas – BIGGBY® COFFEE barista and 2017 Pull, Pour, and Present Winner
Rebekah is one of those people that you meet and feel comfortable around right away. She’s optimistic, driven, and open. She has a passion for people—making friends, hearing their stories, lifting them up—and new experiences. Her adventuresome nature and jump-in-with-both-feet mentality landed her at the BIGGBY® COFFEE Annual Franchise Meeting where she ended up winning the 2017 Pull, Pour, and Present competition!
Rebekah joined the BIGGBY® COFFEE family in 2013 as a barista and used it as an opportunity to hone her communication skills and become more confident talking to people. It’s not always easy striking up a conversation with a complete stranger but when you’re steaming milk at the end of the counter and you have the opportunity to share a smile and a quick story with someone, you come out of your shell pretty quickly. Latte art is not something that every barista knows how to do and Rebekah found that it was a fun way to be creative, make people smile, and of course, share great coffee.
Over the course of her BIGGBY® COFFEE career, Rebekah has worked at more than one BIGGBY® location and has made friends and learned new skills along the way. When she saw that there would be a Pull, Pour, Present competition—think barista Olympics—at the 2017 Annual Franchise Meeting (AFM), she knew she had to sign up. She sent in her submission video and when she got the call that she made the cut, she was thrilled! She headed to AFM by herself with no plans to stay beyond the competition and ended up staying for 2 days.
She met other baristas and owner/operators, Home Office staff including co-CEOs Bob and Mike, and immersed herself in everything that AFM has to offer. She was shocked when she won Pull, Pour, Present on day 1 and was an overnight celebrity! On day 2 she was congratulated by everyone she came into contact with and had a handful of new friends, including 2017 Barista of the Year Richard Yurcak.
Deciding to attend AFM by herself—she even paid her own way!—was courageous and really showcases Rebekah’s ability to live life to the fullest. One of the best examples of that in Rebekah’s life thus far has to be her trip to Ireland. After she completed her undergrad program at Oakland University, she decided she was going to pull the trigger on something she’d been dreaming about for years—a trip to Europe! She spent about a year planning and convincing her mom that it was the right thing for her. She got her work visa, entered into a program that would get her started in this new and unknown place, and she was off!
When she arrived in Ireland, she knew that she wanted to find a job pretty quickly so that she could eventually have the means to travel. By absolute fate, she ended up at a coffee shop near her hostel that was hiring and interviewed immediately. She got the job and to this day, she refers to it as one of the best jobs she’s ever had. She had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, work on her latte art skills, and save up for her future adventures. Once her work visa expired, Rebekah spent 2 weeks traveling to Rome, Barcelona, Scotland, and Northern Ireland before she headed home.
Since returning from Ireland, Rebekah has continued to make friends, share great coffee, and plan her next adventure. She shared some of her future goals with us and they are right in line with what you’d expect. Rebekah wants to become a motivational speaker and start a nonprofit. Between her experience at BIGGBY®, her schooling, and some time spent as a summer camp counselor, she has unearthed a passion for leadership. Rebekah’s journey is just beginning and knowing that her time as a barista helped her get where she is today, that’s enough to make her BIGGBY® family burst with pride.