Stories / Impact

Meet the Fall 2023 Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program Cohort

JBF Editors

August 30, 2023


Today, we are proud to announce the 2023 fall cohort of the Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) program. The WEL flagship program is an advanced educational, training, and networking program for owners or co-owners of brick-and-mortar food or beverage businesses in the United States. JBF has contracted Cornell University as its education partner for this 10-week program, which includes sessions on leadership, negotiating, strategy, business and financial models, funding your businesses, measuring success, and more led by Cornell faculty from across the university, JBF staff, industry professionals, and other subject matter experts.  

Following completion of the program, participants join a growing community of WEL alumnae, with regular opportunities to connect with each other and the Foundation.

Our 2023 WEL participants are:

  • Kayla Abe, Shuggie's Trash Pie + Natural Wine, San Francisco, CA
  • Toyin Alli, Puddin' LLC, Washington, D.C.
  • Kendall Antonelli, Antonelli's Cheese Shop, Austin, TX
  • Colleen Booth, Lazy Bear and True Laurel, San Francisco, CA; James Beard Award semifinalist
  • Sylvie Gabriele, Love & Salt, Farm Stand Catering Co, and Regarding Her Food, Manhattan Beach, CA
  • Jiyoon Han, Bean & Bean Coffee, New York, NY and Fort Lee, NJ 
  • Anita Hsu, Auburn BBQ, Tio Lucho's, Lazy Betty, and Gezzo's West Coast Burritos, Atlanta, GA
  • Leslie Jones, 1010 Wine and Events, Inglewood, CA
  • Diana “Dede” Lahman, Clinton St. Baking Co., New York, NY
  • Paulina Lopez, Guelaguetza Restaurant, I Love Micheladas, and Guelaguetza Online Store, Los Angeles, CA; James Beard Award winner
  • Heather Kennaway Lynch, Bar Mezzana, Shore Leave, No Relation, and Black Lamb, Boston, MA
  • Sara Mardanbigi, Nixta Taqueria, Austin, TX
  • Taniya Marshall, IVY Kitchen + Cocktails, Detroit, MI; JBF Legacy Network Alum
  • Amanda McLamb, Resident Culture Brewing Company, Charlotte, NC
  • Lucia Merino, Lucia Patisserie, San Juan, PR
  • Daniela Moreira, Call Your Mother Deli, Washington, D.C.
  • Mariah Pisha-Duffly, Gado Gado, Oma's Hideaway, and The Houston Blacklight, Portland, OR; James Beard Award nominee
  • Tigist Reda, Demera Ethiopian Restaurant and Demera Ethiopian On the Go, Chicago, IL
  • Elise Russ, Clementine, Castle Hills, TX
  • Erin Smith, Feges BBQ, Houston, TX
  • Michele Wilson, Town Fare Cafe and Gussie's Southern Table and Bar, Oakland, CA

Applications for the 2024 winter cohort will open on September 18, 2023. Learn more about the program and application process here.

Get updates on the program, application deadlines, and related events by signing up for our Industry Support newsletter.