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Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) program aims to support woman-identifying hospitality industry entrepreneurs, restaurant owners, and chefs in order to grow their careers and scale their businesses. 

James Beard Foundation Announces 25 Fellows for 2020 Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Program

The James Beard Foundation announced today the 25 fellows participating in the 2020 Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) program, taking place virtually from October 5 to November 19. 

Now in its fourth year, the WEL program is part of the Foundation's broader Women's Leadership Programs presented by Audi and aims to support woman-identifying hospitality industry entrepreneurs, restaurant owners, and chefs in order to grow their careers and scale their businesses. 

“We are thrilled to be able to continue this program this year, with the opportunity to bring together an extraordinary group of industry professionals from across the country,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “As the devastation caused by this pandemic continues, it is more important now than ever to support our community and do all that we can to help entrepreneurs continue to succeed and thrive. We are honored to provide them with resources and to help expand their networks.”

The 2020 class of Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership fellows are: 

Shelby Allison, Lost Lake, Chicago

Katie Button, Cúrate Tapas Bar and Button & Co. Bagels, Asheville, NC

Val Chang, Itamae, Miami

Tracy Chang, PAGU, Cambridge, MA

Subrina Collier, Uptown Yolk and Leah & Louise, Charlotte, NC

Michele Ezell, Tsunami, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana

Shae Frichette, Frichette Winery, Benton City, WAWA

Anna Gordon, The Good Batch, NYC

Ederique Goudia, Gabriel Hall, Detroit, MI

Jennifer Hill Booker, Your Resident Gourmet, Lilburn, GA

Lesley Hugo, Crafts & Vines, Covington, KY

Iris Jimenez, La Casita Pupuseria Inc, Silver Spring, MD

Tamara Keefe, Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery, St. Louis 

Cheetie Kumar, Garland, Neptunes Parlour, and KINGS, Raleigh, NC

Victoria Lai, Ice Cream Jubilee, Washington, D.C.

Dina Samson, Rossoblu, Los Angeles 

Adrian Lipscombe, Uptowne Café and Bakery, LaCrosse, WI

Amanda Luhowiak, The Whole Ox, Marshall, VA

Monica Pearce, Tenth Ward Distilling Company, Frederick, MD

Annie Pettry, Decca, Louisville, KY

Kriti Sehgal, Pure Fare, Philadelphia

Marisa Seifan, Honeybrains, NYC

Shacafrica Simmons, Chef Shac LLC, Tallahassee, FL

Laurell Sims, Urban Growers Collective, Chicago

Sabrina Tinsley, Osteria la Spiga, Seattle 

“This is the most important time in history to support entrepreneurs and leaders in the culinary industry,” said Loren Angelo, vice president, marketing, Audi of America. “The effects of the pandemic have been devastating and we’re grateful that we’re able to continue to help entrepreneurs find new ways of operating during these difficult times.”

The WEL program, created in partnership with the Babson College Executive Leadership Department, includes sessions on building your brand, training in negotiations, securing financing for your business, and more. The curriculum will address advanced business and finance concerns related to entrepreneurship and expansion, as well as provide training and leadership development. An emphasis on work/life balance and other cultural issues will also be part of the program. In addition to the regular course curricula, fellows will have access to past WEL alum and external coaches to dive deeper into topics such as HR + Culture, Finance, and re-opening.

The program was initiated by JBF supporter Jodie W. McLean, CEO of EDENS, one of the nation’s leading private retail real estate companies. The James Beard Foundation Women's Leadership Programs are made possible with the founding support of Audi, along with the visionary support of Edens, sustaining partner Enroot, and additional support from Women Chefs & Restauranteurs as well as Vermillion.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by FSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.