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WE Lead Food

We are creating a network of women leaders to drive change, innovation and sustainability within the food sector.

Want to make a difference? What are you waiting for?


“The best programme, hands down, that I have ever participated in”

Dr. Sofia Lalou, Greece (WE Leader, 2021)

WE Lead Food is the network for women in the food sector.

Based on the Three Cs of collective leadership - connect, collaborate and cocreate - WE Lead Food is creating enabling environments where women leaders thrive and can be inspired by other women leaders.

We are currently open to applications for women who are committed to driving change within the food sector, from all over the world.

Applications are open for the 2024's edition!

Our food system is in crisis, harming people and the planet. We can’t go on like this - we need solutions, and we need strong compassionate leadership which will drive transformation.

However, if we want to build a healthy and sustainable food system which is truly future-fit, we need to address the huge gender imbalance we currently have in the food sector. The McKinsey ‘Women in Food’ report highlighted that while the food sector employs around 49% of women at entry levels, in the upper management levels these numbers drop to as low as 9%.

Gender balance brings value for business, for society, and for the environment, with research showing that women are better leaders at times of crisis, and organisations with gender balance in top management are more likely to employ sustainable practices.

See 2019 edition here:

Fix the system, not women

Women’s leadership development programmes are often focussed on changing women to fit into a stereotypical, often ‘masculine’, leader. This is because we all buy into the myth that women need to develop and adapt to the system.

We will not change you, because you do not need to change. We believe in empowering women leaders to think about what they can do to change the system. We aren’t going to tell you how you what a successful women leader looks like and how you should behave - you can be whoever you want to be.

The WE Lead Food programme explores and develops a women’s entrepreneurial and leadership self, helps her to define her vision for a more sustainable food system, and works with her to devise a plan for the change she wants to drive.

WE Lead Food is cocreated between the project partners and the participants, because we want it to be both tailored to individuals and by individuals. We provide the tools and space and challenging questions, but it’s up to each individual to shape the programme as best fits themselves as a person, taking into account their changing needs and vision, but also the organisational context in which they find themselves.
Dr. Shima Barakat, WE Lead Food Champion

But don’t just take our word for it…

96 women over 3 years of WE Lead Food can’t be wrong.

  • I recently completed the WE LEAD FOOD course, a course on women's entrepreneurship and leadership, and it has been a truly transformative experience. The program not only provided me with a wealth of knowledge but also sparked amazing ideas, fortified my inner strength, and helped me collect my thoughts to visualize a compelling future. The content was informative and inspiring, offering practical insights and empowerment. It fostered a supportive environment where I could navigate challenges, and the focus on strength-building both personal and professional. This course also gave me the chance to meet, network and get challenged by some brilliant women in the world of food systems. Highly recommended for any woman seeking to excel in the world of entrepreneurship and leadership!

    - Eleni Ntokou, Greece (WE Leader 2023)
  • At a time of professional uncertainty, I needed to mentally step away. Taking the WE Lead Food program and be part of the EIT Food network made me focus on what really makes me happy: developing my skills, sharing my goals, learning from others, and work in co-creation. I couldn't be more pleased with the results. I completed the course feeling so inspired, more aware, and more qualified to be part of the change. And these feelings persist!

    - Cristina Melo, Portugal (WE Leader 2023)
  • I was searching for motivation and empowerment, then I found this programme. I niched down my business, and I got a tonne of support, motivation and amazing energy!

    - Ajda Pulko, Slovenia (WE Leader, 2021)
  • I was in a place where I wanted to decide what to do with my life. It was the best decision I have made. I am ready to conquer my goals, to conquer the world! By supporting one another, we can go further together. There has been a huge change in my mentality. I now have a network of amazing ladies that want to cooperate!

    - Dr. Sofia Lalou, Greece (WE Leader, 2021)
  • It was a journey that started in 2020 and is still going on. The whole of WE Lead food is about impact. We are all agents of change; we just have to recognise that and go for it! Once you are in the WE Lead community, you have the support for whatever you need.

    - Kata Trifkovic, Serbia (WE Leader, 2020)

See our alumni's thoughts about the programme - Marie Brueser:

See some pictures from WE Lead Food workshops in Olsztyn, Poland 2022:


Project lead

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