World Tea Community & Education Advisory Council
John came into the coffee and tea trade in 1985, mentored by Jim and Bill Scandrett at venerable trading firm Hayter and Scandrett. Since joining Metropolitan Tea Company in 1992, he has provided guidance to young entrepreneurs in growing their business. His background in working with origin producers and connecting with international buyers provides a broad market view, whether dealing with small retailers or multinationals. Currently operating in over 50 countries, John keeps busy looking to cultivate clients and educate them with fresh ideas and new tea items to support the expanding trade.
Metropolitan Tea Company was honored with the Toronto Board of Trade Sustainability Award, as a result of its efforts to become a carbon negative company. Also, they were most recently the recipient of the Gold Medal Environmental Sustainability Award for Best Environmental Initiative at the 2016 North American Tea Conference in Niagara Falls.
Lisa Richardson is the Online Assistant Education Manager for World Tea Academy. She has studied and traveled the globe researching and learning from masters about tea. Since forming Lisa Knows Tea in 2000, she has consulted with companies in product line development, worked with several Fortune 500s to help launch new tea lines, and trained employees in tea knowledge and service.
Lisa is a sought-out speaker, teaching to the industry and to the public. She has authored three tea books with her latest being Modern Tea: A Fresh Look at an Ancient Beverage (Chronicle Books, 2014).
Jason Walker is the current Marketing Director of Firsd Tea North America. Prior to his work with Firsd Tea, Jason served in a variety of roles in tea and education capacities.
His 10 years of tea and beverage business experience includes business services for small tea companies, a top-ranked online destination for tea consumer education, and co-founding a coffee business. Additionally, Jason served in various roles in both public and private education, including college and private education instructor, and project manager for corporate training companies.
His insights draw upon his diverse range of experience in sales, operations, and management. They have enabled him to bring a broader range of solutions and learning to the tea world.
Shabnam Weber has spent the last eighteen years in the tea business as an entrepreneur. As owner of a specialty tea company, a tea school and a Director on the Board of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, she has a unique perspective on multiple angles of the tea business. She is the author of THAC’s well known and recognized Tea Sommelier program and a big driver in both consumer and industry education. Shabnam values the diversity offered by all parts of the tea industry, both in Canada and beyond and focuses always on the bigger picture. Shabnam is a graduate of the University of Toronto with an Honours degree in Political Science and she also holds a post-graduate diploma in Psychology. She is currently the President of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada.
Jan, publisher and president of Fresh Cup magazine, has been with Fresh Cup since the beginning, when the magazine was produced in the basement of her home. She took over leadership of the company after Ward’s death, and has been fearlessly leading the publication ever since.