A behind the scenes image of Sejin before she goes to pose, she has a plum lipstick on and a white shirt, she is smiling and laughing in front of two others, one person is her interpreter. The blue skirt Sejin is wearing has white buttons down the centre.

Inclusive culture through coffee | IS THIS HOW STRANGERS REALLY VIEW ME? #3

Sejin Bae is from Seoul, Korea and now lives in New Zealand with her fiancée. As a Deaf person, Sejin’s first language is New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). She is a talented and passionate barista who works at Stuff’s Coffee CO-OP which employs deaf baristas. The Coffee CO-OP, based in the Auckland office, was spearheaded by Annamarie Jamieson, People & Culture Director of Stuff. The staff were trained by Claire Matheson of Coffee Educators. In the CO-OP’s opening week, Stuff’s deaf baristas taught 350 staff how to use basic sign language. The Stuff Coffee CO-OP and the work of Coffee Educators is an optimum example of making space to ensure and enable the success and leadership of people who live with disabilities.

A behind the scenes image at Symmetry studio, you can see Sejin having her photo taken, by a big light and photo boards, she is on a white carpet, and by a window. The photographer stands with her camera poised, wearing tartan pants.
By Connor Crawford
A behind the scenes image of shoes, both Kathryn wilson. A pair of black boots is in front of Sejin's feet, before she changes - she is currently wearing Tan slingbacks. She sits on a stool, wears a blue skirt and is sitting on a Green stool.
By Connor Crawford
Sejin is on a wooden chair in front of a white background and on a wool carpet, she has her legs crossed and is wearing a matching blue suit with white buttons - with black boots
By Madeleine Brighouse, wearing Mina.

“I’d say to people wanting to learn NZSL that the alphabet is best because if you want to know the sign for a word, you can spell it to me in sign language and I’d help teach the word in sign, and build your sign language vocab. For people who are keen to learn more in their own time, it would be useful to download the NZSL Dictionary app on your phone.

Working at the Stuff Coffee CO-OP and seeing other people want to learn how to sign makes me feel more motivated to teach people my language. It surprised me to find that I could work there without communication barriers. There were already posters and brochures there with sign languages for people to learn.

It means a lot to work in an organisation where the culture is inclusive and doesn’t make you feel self-conscious, they encourage you to do well and want to communicate with you.

This is amazing because often people think that because I can’t hear, I can’t talk. A lot of people didn’t think I’d be suitable to make coffee or be a barista because I can’t hear or communicate.

In this image, blonde hairstylist - Laura, wears a jacket and white nikes as she does Sejin's hair. Sejin is wearing a modified tartan patterned dress set, and boots, she is stretched out on a pink stool, on a white carpet.
By Madeleine Brighouse, wearing Jimmy D.
A portrait of Sejin in the same modified tartan pattern with a green background. Sejin has hair behind her left ear it is curled, she is wearing large adjoined crescent earrings. And a plum lip. The dress is a cross over v neck, with a top of the same pattern layered underneath.
Wearing Jimmy D and Quim
Leaning against a wall, sitting with her legs out Sejin wears pink shoes and a grey tartan pant, with a traditional tartan red top. That has sleeves to the elbow. Sejin's hands are looped at her knee, to bend one knee the other is out straight.

You don’t need to hear to make coffee and you don’t need to hear to communicate, people just need to be willing and patient.

If every person would be willing to break down their own views and accept, respect and authentically embrace the different abilities and cultures of others it would be much easier for me to navigate the world and for deaf people to work and find success.

I believe, being actively aware and willing to learn how to accommodate other people’s access needs is important every day for everyone.”





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