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Culinary Classroom

WHI's educational initiative began with Mary Choi Kelly's comprehensive interviews with nearly two dozen leading female chefs, aiming to craft a success profile that outlines the recipe for female leadership in the hospitality industry. This exploration unveiled key themes and traits essential for the accelerated growth and development of female leaders. These insights form the backbone of our university-level, for-credit course: "From the Classroom to the Boardroom: Leadership for Women in Hospitality." The course delves into several critical topics, including:

  • The business case for women in leadership

  • Defining your personal leadership brand

  • Understanding team dynamics and effectively

       transitioning from Peer to Leader

  • The importance of continuous improvement

  • Leveraging social media to build a business

  • Understanding unconscious bias and EQ

  • Building relationships, networks and allies

  • Redefining the kitchen culture

  • Navigating politics and power dynamics

  • Developing a career in hospitality

Building on the university level courses success within four university's nationwide, WHI's founders sought to extend their impact to the high school level, aiming to inspire students early on about achieving their career goals in hospitality. This led to a partnership with the Nevada Restaurant Association, launching a Speakers Series Program within the ProStart High School Program, furthering our commitment to education and awareness in the hospitality sector.


From the Classroom to Boardroom: Leadership for Women in Hospitality


This for-credit university level course examines concepts related to women leaders in the hospitality and restaurant industries; with an emphasis on navigating challenges and creating opportunities related to the development and career advancement of aspiring leaders. Developed in cooperation with the Women’s Hospitality Initiative and debuted in 2021, the course features successful women leaders as guest speakers who provide knowledge, experiences, and counsel to students. The course explores leadership, business, diversity, and industry-specific topics, with a focus on developing the skillsets that will lead to greater opportunities and overall success in the hospitality, culinary, and restaurant sectors.

The specific class objectives are as follows:

1. Exploration of current issues and trends to create awareness of gender bias, discrimination, and other issues that prevent women from achieving managerial and ownership positions, in order to help women navigate these issues.

2. Examine the concept of unconscious bias and learn ways to help overcome or control those biases, as well as learning strategies to help break down those biases.

3. Learn how men and women can break down existing barriers in the hospitality industry to build a pipeline of women leaders.

4. Investigate the leadership skills and behaviors that both men and women exhibit and determine what men and women can do to increase their effectiveness and support the advancement of women leaders.

5. Define strategies for women to develop strong, effective leadership skills and understand how to implement those skills to develop successful careers in the hospitality industry.


ProStart is an industry-driven curriculum developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and is supported by the Nevada Hospitality Foundation (NHF), the 501(c)(3) of the Nevada Restaurant Association.  The curriculum is taught at the high school level and focuses on developing the next generation of restaurant and foodservice leaders. The program combines culinary arts and restaurant management training to build technical skills, offer industry certification and practical experience. The NHF enhances the value of the program by setting up facility tours, chef demonstrations, guest speakers and connecting schools to mentors. In addition, NHF hosts an annual competition each Spring giving students and opportunity to win scholarships to further their education.

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