Stories / Impact

Top 8 Takeaways from Our First Owning It Event

Maggie Borden

November 29, 2018


James Beard Foundation Owning It Panel
JBF Award winner Deann Bayless, Erin Patinkin, Christine Cikowski, Katrina Markoff, and Tanya Holland (Photo: Galdones Photography)

Earlier this month, we traveled to Chicago for the first event in our new Women’s Leadership Program series, Owning It. Our Women’s Leadership Programs (WLP), presented by Audi, provide training at multiple stages of an individual’s career, from pitching your brand to developing a perspective and policy on human resources. For the Owning It convening, James Beard Foundation CEO Clare Reichenbach and trustee Rohini Dey, Ph.D., Beard Foundation trustee and Vermillion restauranteur, welcomed a host of talented restaurateurs, chefs, business leaders, and investors to discuss ways to grow women’s ownership and entrepreneurship in the restaurant, food, and hospitality industries. Read on for inspiring and actionable takeaways from Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program alums Tanya Holland and Christine Cikowski, the Hatchery’s CEO Natalie Shmulik, and more.

1. It’s crucial to be prepared, and to practice, practice, practice.

2. We have to take a wide view of the issue of gender and business.

3. Limited access to capital is one of the most substantial challenges for women entrepreneurs.

4. Find partners and mentors, and educate yourself.

5. Be thoughtful about who you choose as investors in your business.

6. Believe in yourself, and your investors will, too.

7. Don’t underestimate the importance of staff morale.

8. Don’t be afraid to find out why someone said “no.”

Learn more about our Women’s Leadership programs.


Maggie Borden is content manager at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

The JBF Women’s Leadership Programs are presented by Audi.