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Our Programs Team is Bettering the Industry

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Zoe Adjonyoh

March 08, 2022

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Photo: Rah Foard

My name is Zoe Adjonyoh, and I am the new director of Women’s Leadership Programs at the James Beard Foundation. I, and many other recruits, recently joined the James Beard Foundation as part of structural and operational changes that you, the industry, demanded to see.

The Programs team at Foundation has grown, and it’s time to introduce the team and the important work we will do with and for you, following our mission to celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture. The Programs department aims to advance gender and racial equity and sustainability in the restaurant industry through advocacy, education and scholarships, while creating spaces for women. Learn more about our programs and how you can get involved below:

Education and Scholarships

Established in 1991, the Scholarship Program assists aspiring and established culinary professionals who plan to further their education at a licensed or accredited culinary school or hospitality institution, college, or university. Our 2022 Scholarship cycle—which offers more than $464,000 in scholarships, tuition waivers, and grants—is now open until April 1.

Industry Support

As part of the Open for Good campaign, JBF’s Industry Support work aims to help the restaurant and hospitality industry rebuild better and thrive for the long-term. We recently released the Open for Good: Business Innovation Models report, made in collaboration with Deloitte, where we surveyed chefs and restaurateurs about their expectations of winter survival. Additionally, our ever-expanding virtual education library features topics that include business essentials, food systems impact, mental health, and sobriety.

Advocacy

The Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change became the pillar of the James Beard Foundation’s ongoing industry advocacy programs—this year marks its 10th anniversary. Though we are planning special celebrations throughout the year, we are most urgently continuing to work with chefs on advocacy around federal programs, as well as sharing municipal and state-level legislative efforts that they can support.

Sustainability

The James Beard Foundation is continuing its decade-long work in the sustainability space, approaching it through an environmental, economic, and social lens. Last year, we launched a 2.0 version of our Smart Catch program that provides support and training to chefs and businesses who serve fished or farmed seafood in environmentally responsible ways. This year, we will continue to expand our sustainability program and engage with hundreds of chefs across the country.

Women’s Leadership

The Women’s Leadership Programs (WLP) are designed to support all women in the hospitality industry at all stages of their careers through scholarships, mentorships, training, specialized entrepreneurial education, and more. This includes our flagship Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership cohort, a 10-week virtual program offered in partnership with Cornell University. Applications for the 2022 cohort will open this summer. Make sure to tune in to our Instagram account this March, as we’ll feature lots of the participants from WLP as part of our Women's History Month celebrations. 

MEET THE TEAM:

Anne E. McBride, Ph.D., Vice President of Programs
As vice president of programs, Anne oversees JBF’s initiatives around industry support, women’s leadership, policy and advocacy, sustainability, education, and scholarships. 

Zoe Adjonyoh, Director of Programs, Women’s Leadership
Zoe joins the team with 12 years of cross-industry experience as a food entrepreneur, chef, writer, food consultant, thought leader, and pioneer of contemporary West African food concepts in the United Kingdom and the United States. Zoe is the founder of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen and Kissing Cultures, and co-founder of Black Book, a thought leadership collective representing Black and BIPOC communities in food media. 

Alexina Cather, Director of Programs, Policy Advocacy, and Sustainability
Alexina Cather was previously the deputy director at Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center. Alexina currently serves on the boards of the NY State Chapter of Slow Food USA, the NYC Healthy School Food Alliance, the Weill Cornell Community Advisory Board, and is co-chair of the Livestrong Survivorship Action Team at the New York State Cancer Consortium. Alexina is also a former Women's Premier Soccer League player.

Megan Storms, Program Manager
Megan Storms has been at the James Beard Foundation for more than two years, beginning as a coordinator on the Impact team. She transitioned to the role of program manager last spring where she manages and facilitates the Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, the Open for Good Mentorship Portal, and the Women's Leadership Program. 

Anna Magnuson, Program Coordinator
Anna is currently a master’s student at New York University in the food studies program focused on business and entrepreneurship. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University. Anna’s work is focused on food access for BIPOC. Though new to the James Beard Foundation, she is excited to use a community development lens to support and organize efforts in the Programs team.

Watch out for program updates, opportunities, news, and more as the Programs team will be regularly be contributing to the blog. You can sign up for our Industry Support Newsletter here and reach us at impact@jamesbeard.org.

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Zoe Adjonyoh is the director of programs, women’s leadership at the James Beard Foundation. Zoe is the founder of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen and Kissing Cultures, and co-founder of Black Book. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter

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