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WE Lead Food

WE Lead Food

Are 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. 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.

Applications to join our latest WE Lead Food programme have now closed. But, if you would like to be kept advised of any future WE Lead Food Programmes please email

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

A recent report by McKinsey entitled ‘Women in Food’ has highlighted that while the food sector employs around 60% 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

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

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

Dr Sue Bailey

Food Historian and
Food Scientist


Kath Austin

Bee Bee Wrap


An experienced food science lecturer working for over 20 years in research and education as well as broadcasting and journalism.

As well as TV appearances, she is currently associate senior lecturer teaching food product development at Masters level with student prize-winning eco-food designs.



BeeBee beeswax wraps came to life because of Kath’s real need for a plastic free alternative to cling film and other single-use plastic, something that works really well and looks cool too!

Fast forward to now and Bee Bee beeswax wraps has achieved some amazing things including saving over 8.6 million pieces of polluting plastic from going back into the natural world.


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.

  • Part 1: Cambridge, 12-14th October, 2019

Mentoring and Learning application time in own workplace.

  • Part 2: Madrid, 15-17th November, 2019

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 Programme fees (€3,000) are covered by EIT Food for 2019 and therefore FREE to attend. However, it does not include the cost of travel and accommodation.

All programme details and logistics will be provided to applicants offered a place on the programme.


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
  • All discipline backgrounds welcome
  • Research, Business, Policy, Civil Society members welcome


The following partners are involved in the project


Project team

Shima Barakat

University of Cambridge

Contact details

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