Melissa Jensen Promoted to Sacred Grounds Café Manager
JUNEAU—Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Tlingit & Haida) has promoted Melissa Jensen to Manager of the Tribe’s Sacred Grounds Café. Melissa joined the Sacred Grounds team in 2018 as a barista with years of experience in the café community.
“Helping people grow while building on strengths is at the heart of what we do in the Business & Economic Development department,” said Emily Edenshaw, Business & Economic Development Director. “Melissa started as a barista and now manages 13 staff, three café locations and two mobile coffee carts. We are so proud of Melissa and can’t wait to see what the future holds for both Melissa and our Sacred Grounds enterprise!”
As one of Tlingit & Haida’s social enterprises, Sacred Grounds Café proudly features unique coffee blends roasted by Skyaana Coffee Company – a business owned and operated by a tribal citizen in Klawock, AK – and maintains a Native hire rate of nearly 100%. Since opening its doors in 2017, the café has expanded to three locations in Juneau and nearly tripled its gross revenue. In addition to offering barista training, Sacred Grounds continues to partner with Tlingit & Haida’s 477 programs to provide work experience opportunities to tribal citizen clients.
As the Sacred Grounds Café Manager, Melissa will oversee the hiring and training of new baristas and work directly with Business & Economic Development staff to expand the Sacred Grounds Café brand and develop and execute sales and profit plans that are in line with budgetary goals to ensure profitable operations.
“I’ve always loved making coffee, and I’m thrilled to be a part of Sacred Grounds and assist with our continued growth,” shared Melissa. “As manager, my goal is to contribute to the strength of our foundation, train our tribal citizens and support the growth potential that comes from the long-term success of our social enterprise. Not only are these my favorite coffee shops, but this is where my family, my friends and my home are. I am thankful for the opportunity and look forward to bringing our team to the next level.”
In her new position, Melissa will work toward establishing a drive-thru location, developing an inventory management system, expanding food service and menu options at all Sacred Grounds Café locations and providing training and employment opportunities to tribal citizens participating in theYak’éiyi Kustí Yinaadei Hít Reentry Transitional Housing program.
Melissa is the daughter of tribal employee Marilyn Joslyn, granddaughter of Gloria Johns and great-granddaughter of Phyllis Varelman. She is Tlingit and Navajo and from the Kaagwaantaan clan of the House with Two Doors. During her free time, Melissa enjoys going outdoors, reading and working on her bead loom.
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