Women’s Leadership Programs 

The James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Programs (WLP) aim to champion gender and racial equity by supporting women throughout the lifecycle of their careers. We look to address the root causes and challenges women face in their professional advancement. We do so in partnership and in collaboration with other women-led organizations.  
We are committed to providing the tools, resources, and networks to the community to ensure that there are more women-owned businesses and more women in leadership across the industry. We do so through programming within the pillars of finance, community and network, education and training, and wellness at work. 

To stay informed on the James Beard Foundation Women’s Leadership Programs, sign up for our Industry Support Newsletter. For more work and stories click here

To support our work, join the James Beard Foundation as a member of our Patron Program or as a JBF Greens member.  


Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership  

The Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (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. In addition to attending live virtual sessions led by Cornell faculty from across the university, JBF staff, industry professionals, and other subject matter experts, WEL participants also select an elective from Cornell’s External Education program.   

Check out our blog for stories from WEL alum, the cohort lookbook and the state-by-state business directory.


Financial Literacy Workshop for Women
The Financial Literacy Workshop for Women is an annual two-day financial fitness workshop that aims to provide women and non-binary hospitality entrepreneurs at all stages of their career—from looking to turn idea into operation to growing one’s existing businesses—with the financial literacy training they need to get to their next level. 
Tickets are on sale now for the 2024 Financial Literacy Workshop.
eCornell Executive Education Portal 

The James Beard Foundation is committed to setting a new standard for the industry and providing programs, resources, and support to strive towards it. Giving food and beverage professionals across the hospitality industry access to eCornell’s world-renowned courses exemplifies this commitment.   

Through this partnership with eCornell, you can choose from a variety of certificates and individual courses at a discounted rate (40%). 

Check out the eCornell courses and register here.


Educational Scholarships

Established in 1991, the James Beard Foundation 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.  

In 2022, we awarded 58% of our scholarships to women and non binary people.



The James Beard Foundation is committed to advancing women in the food and beverage industry. We do this through:  

  • Highlighting women chefs across the country through our Taste America program and other partner events. 

  • Released a digital cookbook, A Place at the Table, that features 20 WEL alumnae and includes a directory of WEL alumnae business. [Download A Place at the Table here!] 

  • Developing leadership and financial literacy workshops for women.

  • Producing continuing education programs for entrepreneurs, from early career to executive leadership as well as programs for staff career advancement into management positions.  

  • Collaborating with other women-led organizations.

  • Educating consumers on issues faced by women in industry.


Questions or ideas? Email womensleadership@jamesbeard.org 


For more resources check out our Industry Support page. 




Program Sponsors



Official James Beard Foundation Partners