Recognizing the gender disparity that exists at every level of the restaurant community, prominent entrepreneurs and executives from Las Vegas’ food and beverage industry have launched the Women’s Hospitality Initiative (WHI), a Las Vegas-based organization committed to accelerating the development and advancement of women in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Operating out of the world’s premier dining and hospitality destination, WHI will focus on building a pipeline to place and promote women in leadership, through programs that provide training, advocacy, and critical operational, business, and management skills.
“While many graduating culinary students are women, females represent just a small portion of executive chefs or restaurant owners, especially in Las Vegas,” says WHI cofounder Elizabeth Blau.
“Rather than just talking about the problem, we’re taking action. WHI will meet the clear need to educate and train women, from those in high school and college to those already in the business, to thrive in the restaurant industry.”
“Our goal is to achieve gender equity here in Las Vegas and we have already seen our community galvanizing around these efforts in an extraordinary way.”
WHI is honored and thrilled to have founding sponsors including Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas Sands’, Southern Wine & Glazers, Sysco, the Elaine Wynn Family Foundation, Solus Sustainable Hydration, Centerplate, US Foods, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Steelite, and State Restaurant Equipment with many more to come.
On February 18, WHI will present a screening of “A Fine Line,” an acclaimed documentary from director Joanna James examining the gender gap in the culinary industry, at the Judy Bayley Theatre on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The event, which will take place from 5 to 9 p.m., will feature an interactive panel and culinary celebration to close the night.
“Our goal is to reach women at all stages of their careers, and what is a better way to launch this initiative than having our first event in Las Vegas and at UNLV, College of Hospitality,” adds WHI co-founder Mary Choi Kelly of MCK Leadership Talent Group.
Tickets to A Fine Line screening and the culinary event are priced at $30 for UNLV students, $60 for general admission, and $100 for VIP attendees; tickets can be purchased at secretburger.com.
Under the stewardship of its co-founders Elizabeth Blau and Mary Choi Kelly, a few of the WHI founding members include Philippa Fryman (The Venetian Resorts), Jolene Mannina (Secret Burger), Amy Rossetti (Rossetti Public Relations), Arlene Wszalek (Allied Global Marketing), Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (Border Grill). Additionally, the organization has already recruited some of the most recognized and powerful voices in hospitality to further its mission with a Strategic Advisory Board that includes Elaine Wynn, Stowe Shoemaker, Jan Jones Blackhurst, Marilyn Spiegel, Michael Severino, Don Snyder, Richard Bosworth, Diana Bennett, John Kunkel, Punam Mathur, Michael Shulman, and Julie Murray.
About Women’s Hospitality Initiative The Women’s Hospitality Initiative is committed to developing and implementing programs for the women to grow and achieve leadership positions in the restaurant community, and is a component fund of Nevada Community Foundation, an exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, EIN 88-0241420.