Friday, May 20, 2022

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Programme launched by VWS

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Following the recent announcement of who will be speaking at the Vegan Women Summit, we have more exciting news from the LA-based event held later this year. It’s now been made known that VWS has announced the first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Leadership Programme, designed for pioneers within the plant-based and food tech industry. This comes in recognition of Black History Month and will take place throughout May 2022. 

In partnership with Harvard-educated DEI expert, Dr Amie Breeze Harper, this inspiring VWS hosted programme is designed for executives, founders, investors and industry leaders who work within the plant-based and food tech industries. 

A first-of-its-kind for the industry, the programme aims to educate and empower business leaders on how to build food companies using strategies that emphasise diversity, equity and inclusion. And within the programme, concepts such as inclusive leadership, unconscious bias, recruitment and retention, culture and performance, and how to design and market food products within inclusion in mind, will be explored. 

Holding the ‘future of food’ as a focus, the programme sets out to encourage progress from within. Ensuring traditionally marginalised groups, such as women, people of colour, LGBTQ, and other minority groups are brought into the frame and are engaged in conversation with regards to how to change the way we eat. It features a four week curriculum that includes live lectures and workshops. It’s open to any food industry leader with participants receiving a certificate on completion.

The programme was inspired by a recent publication by VWS called ‘The State of Women in the Future of Food and Animal Alternatives’ which highlighted increasing reports of discrimination and bias, with women of colour founders being 1.5 times more likely to report bias from an investor than their white counterparts. This research was based on data taken from 145 CEOs and founders from across six continents. 

Dr. Harper commented, “The data is clear: prioritising 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.” 

Jennifer Stojkovic, Founder of VWS, said, “Our work at VWS has always been to elevate the role of women, particularly women of colour, to create a more sustainable future. We must not only fund women and other marginalised communities, but build companies and organisations 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.”

If this programme sounds of interest to you, then application is available on the VWS site. Participants of all backgrounds and genders are invited to get involved.

Alice Soule
Alice Soule is a Writer and Editor, and graduated with a BA in Social Policy. She is passionate about veganism and animal rights but equally has a love of sports, reading, and drinking tea. Alice is a perpetual dreamer and recently finished writing her first novel. As yet to be published...because she's already dreaming up the next story...