In recognition of Black History Month, Vegan Women Summit (VWS) has announced the first diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) leadership program designed for leaders in the plant-based and food tech industry. Taking place throughout May 2022, VWS, in partnership with Dr. Amie Breeze Harper, will host a leadership program designed for founders, executives, investors, and industry leaders focused on the plant-based and food tech industry.
The leadership program, a first-of-its-kind in the industry, will educate and empower business leaders on how to build food companies using strategies of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The curriculum will cover concepts such as inclusive leadership, unconscious bias, recruitment and retention, culture and performance, and how to design and market food products with inclusion in mind. With a specific focus on the future of food, this program aims to drive industry-level progress to ensure traditionally marginalized (underrepresented) groups, such as women, people of color, LGBTQ, and other minority groups, have a seat at the table in important conversations to change how we eat.
Dr. Harper, a Harvard-educated DEI expert specializing in the food space, shared, “The data is clear: prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is integral for our future food system to thrive. After working with both leading venture capital firms and companies in the plant-based space, we have demonstrated clear value for this work through helping companies improve recruitment, create social impact, develop inclusive marketing, and increase profit, to name a few. As we commemorate the legacies of equity and justice that embody Black History Month, we have the opportunity to build a future of food that is inclusive of all communities – and we look forward to working with companies who share our vision.”
In early January, VWS released The State of Women in the Future of Food and Animal Alternatives, an industry-wide report detailing data from 145 CEOs and founders across six continents. The report detailed increased reports of bias and discrimination from investors, with women of color founders being 1.5 times more likely to report bias from investors than their white counterparts.
Jennifer Stojkovic, Founder of VWS, added, “Our work at VWS has always been to elevate the role of women, particularly women of color, to create a more sustainable future. We must not only fund women and other marginalized communities, but build companies and organizations that seek to amplify and harness their talent. To put it simply, diverse teams build better products and the more diversity we can bring to the future of food, the more people we can reach and the faster we can save the planet.”
The virtual leadership program will feature a 4-week curriculum with live lectures and workshops, and is open to all food industry leaders. Participants will receive a certificate of completion. Participants of all backgrounds, including all genders, are invited to learn more and apply for the program at http://veganwomensummit.com/dei.plant-based investors venture capital fund industry