Walk into Conversations Café on any cold winter day, and this might be one of the warm smiles greeting you at the counter. Meet Mirinda, a barista at Conversations Café. She’s a member of our Conversations family who is on a mission every day, to make your day.
Favourite Meal: Grilled Turkey Sandwich with side soup
Favourite Dessert: Cranberry Coconut Muffin
Favourite Drink: Mirinda let us in on a little secret with this one. Her favourite drink isn’t listed on the menu at Conversations. It’s been dubbed “Blueberry Delight” and it’s a personal invention of hers. It’s made of steamed milk, white chocolate and blueberry tea.
While Mirinda will gladly help with any task that needs to be done around the café, it’s the creativity of barista work and talking to customers that she is passionate about. Although many of her coworkers would argue that cleaning is her favourite job at the café, she told us with a side smile that, “Everyone thinks I love cleaning, but mostly, I just love to see the place clean.”
This is Mirinda’s second time working at Conversations Café in the past few years, and the love she has for her team is evident. Mirinda says working at Conversations Café is like belonging to a big family. She explains that they all encourages each other, help each other, and when a mishap occurs, everyone pitches in to fix the problem. They’ve all got each other’s backs.
If you’ve been to the café enough times, you’ve probably, at some point, witnessed our Conversations family singing, dancing, laughing or affectionately teasing each other. And of course, like any family, there are some great inside jokes:
For example, “mopping the deck” is a one-liner that rose out of a funny moment between Mirinda and a coworker. In a motivated effort to look for tasks and stay busy one morning, Mirinda jokingly suggested that her friend should go outside and clean the deck in front of the café. Before Mirinda knew it, her friend had grabbed the cleaning supplies and was outside, mopping the deck. After a good laugh, the term stuck and to this day, it brings up hilarious images of her friend trying to bring the inside caliber of cleanliness to the outdoors.
Mirinda understands the bigger impact of her daily work in the café as well. Having volunteered downstairs at Convos Youth Zone in the past, she knows how much every purchase in the café makes a difference to the average of 50 youth visiting Convos Youth Zone on a weekly basis.
Through all her experiences, Mirinda says she has learned how much “the small things” mean to people. “You don’t know what people are going through, and doing something nice for them can change their day," she says. "It’s the same thing for the youth at Convos – you don’t know what anyone is going through, so the best thing you can do is listen to everyone. Listen and be patient.”
Next, we asked Mirinda how she wants customers to feel when they walk into Conversations Café. She took this question seriously. She thought, smiled and replied, “I want them to feel like this is a nice place where they can come in and get a good, hearty meal. I want it to be a place where they can relax, and to feel like they're at a second home.”
She loves interacting with customers and making the café a place where everyone feels welcome. As it happens, this is good practice for her future goals. She shared with us that, “I’ve always dreamed of owning my own business. I’m not sure what it will be yet, but I went to school for advertising and marketing. I also have experience working at a bakery and taking food to farmer’s markets. But then, on the other hand, I also love interior decorating. I’d love to get into flipping houses one day.” She’s seen so many sides of our food production process from farm to table, and with a passion for creativity, there’s no doubt that she will continue doing great things, using her skills and passions. We’re incredibly fortunate to have her as a member of our beloved team at the café.
She left us with the best piece of wisdom she was ever given, and we’re glad to share it with our readers too. Someone once gave her some advice about building resilience during difficult times: “You’re not supposed to go over it, you’re supposed to go through it. Take it day by day.” It’s all any of can do, and Mirinda is here at Conversations Café to greet your day-by-day with a sweet smile, a delicious coffee and of course, a clean café!