Speaking at a United Nations conference (in South Africa)!


One month ago, I found myself in Johannesburg, South Africa at the United Nation’s Global Entrepreneurship Congress… AS A SPEAKER (I wrote that line and stared at it for a whole minute).

Let me set the stage: every year, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress gathers together thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other startup champions from more than 170 countries to identify new ways of helping founders start and scale new ventures around the world. My topic within the EMPRETEC Global Summit was internationalization, crossing borders and the personal characteristics of entrepreneurs, what EMPRETEC calls the “Personal Entrepreneurship Competencies.”

Right before the panel I was speaking on was a class on high impact networking and I was asked to help facilitate it. With no actual idea of what what in store, of course I said yes and thankfully so, because it turned out to be one of the most rewarding hours of the trip. First because the strategy that I used to choose teams worked like a charm and secondly, because of how many people pulled me aside later and commented on how I lead my team to be the most open, welcoming, joyful, helpful and cohesive! They were absolutely wonderful folks (as was everyone in the room, but you could definitely tell that some teams fell sort of flat - not us)! I had the pleasure of leading the "red team" (note: we chose baseball hats in different colors to delineate teams). My strategy was as follows, "lead the red cap team, because the types of people that chose red over the other colors (pink, purple, blue, green or white) were the ones that I hypothesized would be bold and confident - and bingo, I was totally right! 

Now for the talk... As to my thinking and prep, I had to connect coffee and the values of Caffe Unimatic to people from 172 countries at all levels of the entrepreneurial ecosystem… hmm… it was an interesting ideation and thought process and I believe that it actually helped me reframe how meaningful what we are doing and how we’re choosing to do it really is. Here’s where I landed: 

When thinking about internationalization, Economist and NYT Columnist Thomas Friedman came to mind. He has a theory, he calls it “The Big Mac Thesis” wherein he asserts that two nations with McDonald’s franchises are less likely to choose conflict as an effective form of foreign policy. It sounds somewhat silly, but the concept (especially when taken further) is interesting. Stanford also did a study that showed that between the years 1950 and 2000, international commerce quadrupled and international conflict was sonly 1/10 of what it was for the entire previous century… so it seems that the more we trade, the more we understand one another and the better off we are. It seems that commerce creates connection and the cornerstone of commerce is the entrepreneur. Hence, the more entrepreneurs there are in the world, the better it will be… following?

Also, as I thought about coffee and crossing borders, I realized that the Unimatic is already in 10 countries. That’s partially because of the magic of the internet, the entire planet is now open for business, but really it’s because of the way we told our story. I know that because none of those 10 countries share a similar ritual around coffee, and yet they chose to adopt our pot… why? We believe that it is because they saw their own values in our values, perhaps it was the part about an immigrant starting a business, the Italy / Brooklyn connection, the relationship of father and daughter, the power of legacy… or something else entirely. That tells us that connection done right, is universal and that our challenge as entrepreneurs and artists is not to reach cross borders and try to be everything to everyone, but rather to simply reach across the table and connect to another human. 

I also had the opportunity to comment on the “personal entrepreneurship competencies” that EMPRETEC teaches (and I went out on a limb here). After commenting on the tremendous importance of confidence, the art of persuasion and the sophisticated skillset of sales, I recommended that the UN add another PEC to their list: resilience. Mental resilience, or “PTG - post traumatic growth” is a skill that can absolutely be taught - we teach it to our military before they go to war and Legacy Out Loud teaches it to our high school and college aged girls before formally unleashing them and their missions out into the world. In my opinion, and in the opinions of all the CEOs that I’ve spoken to, it’s the thread that we all have in common. Bottomline: we all have one thing in common, rising from really hard things in life. I believe that it’s the most important skill for entrepreneurs, leaders and humans in general. Without it, all the planning and striving and pitching practice could be rendered useless and it’s not something we teach or talk about enough. 

The experience of both leading my team through the class and then speaking to a room full of global delegates was nothing short of exhilarating and the feedback was even better than I imagined. Hearing, “I’m usually tough and kind of a jerk, but that could not have gone an better - amazing job - people noticed” was pretty satisfying. The part that stuck with me most was that the whole way through, I trusted my gut and even said, onstage to the folks from the UN that their official list of “personal entrepreneurship competencies” was incomplete - kind of nerve-y for someone who used to be afraid of her own shadow, huh? Of course, I was respectful about it, but it still felt like a bold move.

Long story short, this opportunity made me think broadly and deeply, challenged me and stretched me to lean on myself more to show up and state what I feel to be true. A new friend from the conference who ended up being a pretty knowledgable guy in terms of entrepreneurship (he essentially runs it at the Kauffman Foundation) told me that I really "get it" - much more than most others he's spoken to... so yeah, I need to run with that. I can say for certain that it gave me a sense of perspective and a newfound sense of confidence in what we are doing, what we stand for and how many people are picking up what we’re putting down ;) 

To many more opportunities to share! 

...Video excerpts to come soon!


Want to try our coffee for free?
Let us send you a unique code to use in your order!

What the Unimatic family is saying…

When my husband and I finally received and opened the box with the Unimatic inside and I saw your personalized note, it brought tears to my eyes to know that we actually had in our hands part of your family's history. Thank you for letting us be a part of it!!

- Terry, family member of Unimatic #288

Thank you dearest Elisabeth for being the much needed catalyst for change. For sharing your remedy for our home life that has been suspended after much trial and trauma. We laughed, shared, marveled and lingered the table discussing your father’s creation. We spent time together as a family, enjoying the newness of what is usually the mundane. Creating your shared legacy... a cup of coffee. The Unimatic made our house a home... long gone are the quick days of the Keurig or nearest coffee shop. We look forward to spending tomorrow morning with Brunetta.

- Monica, family member of Unimatic #329

"Thank you so much, I happened to see the program on Netflix called Coffee for All. As you refer to my net coffee pot as a "her" she will be appropriately named "Grace" after my grandmother who gave me my first percolator coffee pot at the age of 18. Now as I brew coffee in the mornings I will think of my grandparents more often."

- Joe, family member of Unimatic #392

"I am truly happy with the Unimatic. A perfect cup of coffee and the story that goes with it even makes it more enjoyable."

- David, family member of Unimatic #418

Coffee has this magic of uniting people. In a world so digital, individualistic, I believe Elisabeth does an extra-ordinary job to reconnect the people we love the most. I could not fail remember the excitement and the happiness of receiving in NYC my Unimatic pot directly from the hands of my dear friend Elisabeth. An unforgettable day!

- Zeca, family member of Unimatic #443

I received this Unimatic as a gift yesterday and I am just tickled! The coffee is amazing and so very worth the wait. I love your story; keep on doing what you are doing - we all need an incentive to slow down.

- Hope, family member of Unimatic #526

I'm not functional until I've had my coffee, so I love coming out to the kitchen and seeing her on the stove! We now have our brave conversations, as we always have, with music playing in the background and the most delicious coffee we've ever tasted.

- Peg, family member of Unimatic #534

I love my Unimatic coffee pot. I love the fragrance of fresh perked coffee. it reminds me of the mornings when my grandmother made coffee. When I read about the Unimatic coffee pot I just had to have it. The aroma of fresh perked coffee in my apartment is wonderful and relaxing. The coffee that I ordered with it is also delicious. I keep my coffee pot on the stove, ready for the next day.!!

- Luisa, family member of Unimatic #603

We are so very happy for the Unimatic that we received yesterday :) This morning my wife bicycled to the local bakery for some croissants, meanwhile I cleaned the Unimatic and prepared for our morning coffee :) The coffee was outstanding and we simply love the Unimatic! We had a good long chat and enjoyed our coffee and croissant outside.

- Sturla, family member of Unimatic #625

I have to say I was emotional when I opened the box and unwrapped the Unimatic. My love of coffee comes from my Mom and Neapolitan grandmother. My fondest memories were in the summer and my parents liked to sit outside in the backyard talking after dinner and I would make coffee for all using that coffee pot. My Italian grandma loved afternoon coffee with anisette, and having coffee when visiting was a time to gather and chat. I hope I can persuade my daughter to slow down and enjoy a cup of Caffè Unimatic with me, she does love coffee.

- Madeleine, family member of Unimatic #630

My husband and I tried the San Pietro Brunetta and it was love at first sip and absolutely the best coffee that we have ever tasted. We can't wait for more...

- Christine, family member

Your Brunetta blend is a delight to the pallet! It is truly a different taste than an American coffee blend...roasting slow makes a better cup using the Unimatic in my opinion. Having the Unimatic with the Brunetta blend has made our mornings more pleasurable than ever....the coffee is rich with flavor as well as the conversation it stimulates while we slowly drink the pot. Thank you for creating the environment for an awesome morning to take place!

- Kimberly, family member of Unimatic #644

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and making coffee in my new Caffè Unimatic pot is the highlight of my meal-making ritual. Lingering over that mug of coffee while I work at my computer seems to “ground” me for the day. So far, I’ve only tried your San Pietro Brunetta blend (which I ❤️!) but I look forward to enjoying your Roma Bionda and Milano Mora blends, too. The big question is, is it ok to have more than one favorite?!

- Maria, family member of Unimatic #647

First of all I love, love my Unimatic! I first saw you on the Netflix documentary and fell in love with your story. I have a very similar coffee connection with my grandparents and I started drinking coffee with my grandma when I was about 5. I love the connection you make with your customers! I ordered my Unimatic and had it delivered to my best friends house to ensure it’s safe arrival. We seasoned it, made a couple of pots and tried different coffees with it. By the time we were done my friends ordered one for themselves!

- Ami, family member of Unimatic #649

I am blown away but honestly my intuition was right and I am not surprised. All the coffees are divine, and the coffee pot makes breathtaking brews.

- Alex, family member of Unimatic #656

I have never tasted or smelled coffee like this before. Even in Italy, I never had such an amazing cup of coffee as this one. Until now, my best cup ever was at Glile in Florence and they have been making coffee for hundreds of years. :+) I’ve been roasting my own coffee for 10 years as I couldn’t find a decent coffee. Now I am questioning my hard earn roasting skills!

- Jeff, family member of Unimatic #670

My wife & I have been thoroughly enjoying our Unimatic percolator. We never thought we would revert back to a method of coffee-making that seemed outdated, but we must say the taste of the coffee from the Unimatic is much smoother and more flavorful. No more bitter coffee for us! The Unimatic has become part of our morning ritual and we are enjoying every cup.

- Manny, family member of Unimatic #674

She arrived yesterday afternoon. We carefully unwrapped her packing and set her up to ‘season’ her, to then prepare her for her inaugural pot of coffee. She’s absolutely beautiful and we’re thrilled to be part of the Unimatic Coffee family. Thank you for the prompt shipment, great communication and, of course, the wonderful coffee!!!!

- Dorothy, family member of Unimatic #676

My Unimatic is my favorite thing I have bought in a long time. It is absolutely beautiful and brings me joy. I love the sound of the perk, I love how beautiful it looks on my table and it makes great coffee!! I love it!❤️ I speak Italian, have traveled to Italy Many times and have many friends in Italy. Every time I use it, I slow down, enjoy the conversation and feel like I’m in Italy!

- Shannon, family member of Unimatic #689

I must say, I love my Unimatic. The coffee is so pure, no burned taste, just perfection. I am the only caffeine consumer in our home which creates leftover coffee in the pot. I let it cool down and pour the remainder into a Mason jar and then straight into the fridge. Later in the day or the next morning I reheat a cup of it in the microwave and am good to go. Aesthetically, the pot looks nice sitting on the kitchen counter awaiting its next trip to the stovetop. So....A+++ on the Unimatic! Your father created a great percolator that solved the problem of over brewing. Also, the opening and unpacking of the box upon arrival was like Christmas morning! So much fun. You have done a brilliant job by including so much joy with the arrival of the Unimatic at one’s home.

- Jack, family member of Unimatic #703

First when I opened the package it was beautiful and I could tell just from that, how you value your product. Presentation does count and yours was perfect! I have been drinking coffee for years and I really thought that I knew what coffee tastes like. But sometimes in your life, you have a ""WOW"" experience that you will never forget. The first cup from the Unimatic was the FIRST TIME I ever tasted coffee!!! I really mean it! It was sooooo smooth and flavorful. I don't remember how I found your product but I equate that to finding a gold nugget amid a ton of rocks!! What a find...

- Robert, family member of Unimatic #708

From the moment I decided to purchase a Unimatic, even before watching the Netflix special, I had a feeling that this was more than “just a coffee pot.” The whole experience, from the website to the TED talk, to watching “Coffee for All,” to your Instagram, to the service I’ve received from your office....it has all been wonderful.

- Stephanie, family member of Unimatic #714