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 business owners in all areas of the hospitality industry.  

The 10-week program, created in conjunction with Cornell University, includes sessions on leadership, negotiating, strategy, business and financial models, funding your businesses, measuring success, and more. In addition to live virtual sessions led by Cornell faculty from across the university, 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 and the directory of WEL alumnae businesses.   


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.



The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to support a diverse community of professionals shaping the future of food and hospitality. 

Mentorship presented by KitchenAid is open to industry professionals from all backgrounds and aims to make mentorship accessible and visible to communities that have historically been disenfranchised. We aim to provide the tools and resources they need to thrive.  

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.


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

  • Highlighting women-owned and operated restaurants on JBF-owned channels, including social media, email, and blog. Please add your business(es) to our list women-owned businesses if you’d like to be included. 

  • 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 for each WEL fellows’ business. [Download A Place at the Table here!] 

  • Developing nation-wide leadership workshops and creating toolkits to enable localized continuing professional development at a grass-roots level 
(Coming 2023). 

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

  • Providing structured networking, mentorships, and peer-to-peer training. 

  • 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. 




Founding Partner

Program Sponsors


Official James Beard Foundation Partners