LDEI-SF supports Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the food and wine industry with an amazing day of food, strategy, and fellowship at Silver Penny Farm.
9:30 to 10:30 am - Wake up with pastries and coffee!
10:30 to 12:30 pm - Presentation starts with Dame Maryam Ahmed, owner of Maryam and Company, which designs impact-driven educational programs and executes strategic projects in the hospitality industry. In this session, Dame Maryam Ahmed will explore how we can go from words to actions to create meaningful change in our personal and professional lives and build an equitable wine industry. Regardless of where you find yourself on the journey of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, there is a path forward, and all you have to do is walk it. Next, we'll facilitate a discussion featuring Amelia Ceja, President and CEO of Ceja Vineyards, Danielle Fiala, private chef, and Stevie Stacionis, co-owner of Bay Grape.
12:30 to 2:00 pm - Lunch in the garden provided by Silver Penny Farms, and the afternoon wraps up with a tour of the farm and a farewell toast with owner Dame Sue Conley and event coordinator Dame Jacquelyn Buchanan.
Please join us this Indigenous People's Day for an event that promises to inspire your soul and feed your tummy!
Amelia Morán Ceja | President Ceja Vineyards At the dining room table that occupies a prominent place at the rural "world headquarters" of Ceja Vineyards, Amelia Morán Ceja reveals her conviction that the diligent pursuit of a passion is key to success. "My grandmother told me," she says, leaning forward over her morning mint tea, "'Whatever you do, if you love it and learn everything you can about it, you will be successful—and not dependent on a man.'" It's advice that both Amelia and her husband, Pedro Ceja, have banked on.
A strong matriarchal tradition in her family fostered Amelia's independent spirit. Still, more than anything, Amelia feels it is flavors and her experience with food that have shaped her life choices. Long before the California legislature recognized Amelia as "Woman of the Year" in 2005 for "breaking the glass ceiling in a very competitive business," the first Mexican-American woman ever to be elected president of a winery was on the frontier of wine.
Embracing both her Mexican heritage and American home, Amelia combines the best of what she finds in food and drink, tradition, and innovation. "As a minority cellar, we are shaping the wine industry," explains Amelia, who was honored as the "most outstanding female leader, innovator and visionary in the wine field in the North Bay" by North Bay Business Journal at its 2008 Women in Business gala.
"We're embracing the best in both cultures and tossing away what doesn't work," says Amelia. "I don't want to be homogeneous; my experience is enhancing my adopted country. We're making both of our cultures better. Why not share what is wonderful—and keep it?" Salud!
Maryam Ahmed | Owner Maryam Ahmed designs impact-driven educational programs and executes strategic projects within the worlds of food and wine. Our clients have a demonstrated commitment to diversity and sustainability and seek transformative engagement with their communities, whether consumers, internal teams, or trade. They include community-focused non-profits, emerging businesses, regional development initiatives, and established companies developing new portfolios. Maryam + Company acts as an ecosystem, offering experiences and services for the consumer and industry, including client consulting, the Diversity in Wine Leadership Forum, and Field Blends Wine Travel. Maryam is a cast member on James Beard Award Nominated SOMM TV and a partner at PLAYTE Kitchen. As such, the company works at the intersection of wine professionals, chefs, activists, sustainability experts, and media to bring important conversations and visions to life. Maryam is an inaugural Wine Enthusiast Future 40 Tastemaker and received the Wine Industry Leader Award from Wine Business Monthly in 2021.
Sue Conley | Owner Silver Penny Farm Sue Conley's dream at Silver Penny Farm is to become a regional treasure offering space for workshops and retreats focused on environmental and agriculture education. Delicious, locally sourced food is always on the menu.
Using nature-based solutions and multiple benefit approaches, Silver Penny Farm will be a great space for groups to host educational programs and meetings that knit together the arc of data – research – action – ecological stewardship – and social justice. Most importantly, we hope to maintain a friendly and fun venue providing access and education to groups looking for an inspirational setting.
Lastly, we wanted to share LDEI’s newly revised Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement, which is also found on our website:
At Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI), one of our guiding principles is valuing the differences among people and cultures in our chapters, communities, and in the world at large. We believe that LDEI’s openness and diversity is a fundamental strength of our organization and that our mission is best fulfilled when we embrace diversity as a key value and practice.
It’s important to note that we were founded on the very principles of gender equity. LDEI founder Carol Brock saw the inequities that women faced in the food and hospitality industries and made it her goal to make a difference by forming an organization of women leaders in food, beverage, and hospitality. By forming a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, we are honoring Carol’s legacy and moving forward with her vision. And by opening up our membership to all qualified women, we are leading by example, building a professional organization in which women of all races, languages, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, physical disabilities, sexual orientations, and religions are welcome.
Les Dames d'Escoffier International believes that there is a place for everyone at our table. Through our programs, awards, initiatives, and Partnerships, we strive to recognize, listen to, and learn from women from across all cultures and communities because we know that we are better together.
Deborah Mintcheff Jennifer Goldman
LDEI President LDEI First VP
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Cochairs