ProsperCity is shining a light on inclusive leaders who are doing their part to close wage gaps, end salary discrimination, and diversify workplace teams. In this ongoing content series, you’ll meet the folks who are bravely shaping culture. Listen to and share their stories, tips and resources. Keep the conversation going. Do you know a pay equity champion? Click here to nominate.

Sara Eden Gally



HR Manager

Nossa Familia Coffee

Portland, OR

Founded 2004

Coffee [sector]

Certified B Corp


Sara Eden Gally, HR Manager

What book influenced and/or changed your mind?

Belonging at Work by Rhodes Perry. Belonging at Work helped me translate my personal values into a logical framework and practical steps to move towards, well, fostering a sense of ‘belonging at work.’

How does Nossa Familia Coffee operationalize its commitment to pay equity?

One of Nossa Familia’s core goals as a company is to treat everyone in our supply chain like family, which means we ensure that both our suppliers and employees are paid a living wage. It also means having a culture of openness and transparency, where we share key company financials every quarter at an all-staff meeting. Employees are encouraged to ask questions, since we really are an open book about the state of the company, for better or worse!

Pay equity and clarity around compensation is something that we are constantly working on. We recently did a company-wide wage audit where we investigated every employees’ earnings, checking for pay equity. In this audit, we specifically looked at a variety of factors including the demographics of each employee (age, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.), and how long they have worked with Nossa Familia. Next, we compared all of our wages to the MIT living wage standard for Multnomah County, which prompted us to reach out to other similarly structured Portland-based coffee companies to compare wages. Each employee at Nossa Familia earns, at minimum, a locally relevant living wage of $13.74 per hour.

By recognizing that pay or wages is only one part of employees’ financial picture, we also try to educate staff about their ‘total compensation package’ and generous benefits. Many of these benefits are designed to protect their well-being and financial futures. We pay the majority of an employee’s health insurance premiums for anyone working 27 hours or more, match 3% of retirement account savings, and offer pre-tax supplemental benefits. In addition to that, we offer 16 hours of paid volunteer time per year, unlimited free coffee and other freebies and discounts through local partner businesses, financial trainings, wellness services, and more.

What sparked the decision to implement these practices, policies or other actions?

Nossa Familia Coffee regularly surveys its employees to gauge satisfaction, belonging at work, and identify any issue areas in the company. Compensation and wages is one issue that is regularly addressed, which is no surprise given the state of affordability (or lack thereof) in Portland. Many of our employees are struggling to make ends meet, and believe that taking steps to ensure that our wage structure is equitable and meeting certain standards is the responsible and caring thing to do as a company that is built on the value of reciprocal relationships.

How do these actions connect to Nossa Familia Coffee’s values and commitment to diversity and inclusion?

Being a socially-responsible business, and one that is B Corp Certified, means looking at the Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, Profit. We are always making sure that we are taking care of the first two items in that list, and it’s often at the expense of Profit. It’s our responsibility as a business to be a force for good in the world.

We are participating in the B Corp Inclusive Economy Challenge, which includes questions from the B Impact Assessment that help companies set goals for shared and durable prosperity for all. The wage audit is a part of our goals for 2019 and is just one part of the strategy we are implementing to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion within our company.

Other strategies we are implementing include:

Ongoing: Analyzing diversity, equity and inclusion data to metrics for individuals who identify as part of multiple underrepresented groups in addition to a single group, i.e. intersectionality.

Twice a year: Anonymous surveys on gender identity, race/ethnicity, disability status and/or other demographic factors to measure the diversity of our workforce.

Annual wage audit: Analyzing job satisfaction, belonging at work, promotion, retention rates, and/or benefits by different demographic groups.

How have these actions had a positive impact on you, Nossa Familia Coffee and its employees? 

Doing this work has been inspiring. It’s changed the way I personally feel about business and the capacity for business to be a force of good in the world. I love that my job includes asking hard questions and finding out that my team is more than willing to take risks to make sure that what we are doing is aligned with our personal and professional values.

If you were to mentor another business leader in making a similar change, what would you say?

1) Don’t wait until you feel like an expert on DEI topics, and don’t wait until you can afford to hire a DEI Consultant. There are so many free resources (like this content series) to help you find a way to get started.

2) Listen, be willing to learn. As Brené Brown says, it’s more important to be willing to ‘get it right’ then to try to ‘be right.’

3) You will make mistakes, and that’s probably a sign that you are growing as a person and as a company. When you mess up, apologize, listen, and change your behavior. From Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

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