L.E.A.D. Toolkit: A WCR Resource

WCR has developed this guide for aspiring women chefs and culinary leaders, to help them navigate and address the challenges they face in the restaurant industry. The acronym L.E.A.D. stands for an approach to successfully create equitable restaurant culture:

  •  • Listening to employees to identify issues & opportunities
  •  • Empowering women leaders on the team publicly & privately
  •  • Addressing offensive talk in the kitchen swiftly & with repercussions
  •  • Defining desired culture & inviting the team to keep leaders accountable


Each of the narrative sections of this toolkit are framed and inspired by women in the industry, bringing the acronym to life. The conversations with Ivy Knight include: Amanda Cohen, Jennifer Dewasha, Misti Norris, Adrienne Cheatham, Kelly Fields, Martha Hoover, Kristen Nesbit, Michelle Battista, and Kiki Aranita. We share these stories of women who face similar struggles to inspire and motivate women in their own journeys.


Tools are also included to assist in the implementation of best practices. Resources for Best Practices by Kara Maciel of Conn Maciel Carey includes: Guide to Creating an Employee Handbook; Checklist for Defining Culture; Evaluation Form for Employee Performance; and Guidelines for Responding to Employee Concerns. Additionally, there’s interactive Pay Equity Map from Wendy McGuire Coats and Fisher Phillips LLP. These are intended to support the creation of a dynamic restaurant culture of shared vision, values, goals, and leadership.