Women’s Leadership Programs 

The James Beard Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Programs (WLP) aim to champion 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 and provide the tools, resources, and networks to ensure the success and increase of women-owned businesses and women in leadership across the industry.  

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  

Applications for the 2024 Fall Cohort of WEL are now closed.

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 business, measuring success, and more. 

JBF invests in this group of established women entrepreneurs to ensure the success and increase of women-owned businesses and foster a growing network of female entrepreneurs across the country.  

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.  

View the 2024 workshop program and schedule here

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 2023, we awarded 64% 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’s voices and how they pivoted their business models in this new era in the Open for Good: Compensation, Benefits, and Growth Guide. 

  • Producing content addressing women-specific industry concerns through our virtual education library.   

  • Providing an ongoing spotlight on women in the industry through editorial and digital initiatives.  

  • 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