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WE Lead Food

WE Lead Food

In these times of crisis are you looking to make a difference?

If so, we are creating a network of women leaders who wish to drive change, innovation and sustainability within the food sector as we face supply chain challenges. All you need to be is a woman who is passionate and committed about driving change within the food sector.

Smash glass ceilings. Take the leap and let’s soar together.

The WE Lead Food Programme is designed to equip you with the tools to make that difference and achieve results. The network is open to all discipline backgrounds; research, business, policy, civil society members. The WE Lead Food Programme 2020 will be held later this year. The deadline for applications is 15 June 2020.


A recent report by McKinsey entitled ‘Women in Food’ has highlighted that while the food sector employs around 49% of women at entry levels, in the upper levels these numbers drop to as low as 9%. The reasons are many and complex, but some key ones identified in the report and through the work of the WE Lead partners are:


  1. Less women than men feel that entrepreneurial leadership is for them
  2. Lack of manager support
  3. Significant systemic commitment to gender and diversity matters within organisations
  4. Explicit and implicit signalling about privileged leadership stereotypes
  5. Ineffective, or worse, undermining communications about gender matters

For the full report please visit here.

Smash glass ceilings. Take the leap and let’s soar together.

We are grateful to all our esteemed mentors and contributors. Hear from Severine Balick, Food and Agritech VC and WE Lead Food Programme Mentor 2019.

When we look at the number of women entrepreneurs that receive funding in Europe, it's still less than 6-7%
Severine Balick, Food and Agtech VC

Join WE Lead Food and work with other women in the Food sector like:

Milena LazarevskaDr Sue Bailey Food Historian and Food ScientistAnna Traylor Programme Director

The Programme

The WE Lead programme offers researchers and professional women an opportunity to:

  • explore and develop both their entrepreneurial and leadership self
  • address systemic issues
  • define their vision for a more sustainable food system
  • devise a plan for the change

The programme is made up of interactive sessions designed to unlock and develop the entrepreneurial mindset and capabilities of the participants in the context of leading in the complex and changing food industry.

The experiential component will be complemented by a leadership development plan and a mentoring programme.  To challenge and progress the development plan, each participant will have access to industry, academic and/or policy mentors, cross-sector industry leaders’ network and the tools to leverage both entrepreneurial and collective leadership ways of working.

The programme will take place over two weekends, we will start in Cambridge, UK and continue the programme in Madrid, Spain with sufficient time in between the weekends for delegates to apply and test their learning in their respective workplaces, with mentor support.

  • Module 1: Cambridge, 10-12th October, 2020

Entrepreneurship for Sustainability and expert mentoring

  • Module 2: Madrid, 13-15th November, 2020

Leadership for Impact and peer-to-peer mentoring.

This programme draws together the years of experience from The University of Cambridge in training mid-career professionals and EUFICs cutting edge Leadership programme. It is the first programme for the food sector.

The fee of each module is €150+tax, but if you attend both modules the total fee will be only €250+tax. WE Lead Food costs €3,000 per person but for 2020 it is heavily subsidised by EIT Food for eligible applicants and offered at the reduced price shown above. However, the cost of travel and accommodation is not included.

A limited number of bursaries for travel and accommodation are available on a “needs basis” to enable exceptional candidates to attend despite financial difficulties. This is to ensure that exceptional candidates are not excluded based on their ability to pay.

All programme details and logistics will be provided to applicants offered a place on the programme. Any adjustments necessary in relation to the coronavirus will be made at that time.


Entry requirements

  • Those who identify as women
  • Have a passion and commitment to deliver a more sustainable food system
  • Currently in, or aspiring to, a leadership position in the food sector
  • All discipline backgrounds welcome
  • Research, Business, Policy, Civil Society members welcome


The following partners are involved in the project

Aarhus University

Project team

Shima Barakat

University of Cambridge

Contact details

Related projects

Trust Tracker
Public Engagement

Trust Tracker

The Trust Tracker(R) is a scientifically-grounded large-scale tool to attempt to measure this trust and marks an important first step in building consumer trust in the food sector.



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