INDIANAPOLIS — Indy Women in Food held its first conference on Thursday and Friday. The event was held at Butler University in partnership with the school's HUB for Black Affairs & Community Engagement.
"It seemed like every male in the industry already had their own thing going on, and they really didn't want to share," says Chef Tawana Gulley, owner of Healthy Soul.
Gulley had a dream of building a farm-to-table catering and food prep business. She turned to Indy Women in Food for help. The group has nearly 300 members, which includes entrepreneurs working in food-related industries, from farms, to distribution, to restaurants and beyond.
Gulley described the group as " a godsend."
"I think whenever you're doing something with business and food, it's really a male-dominated thing. What Indy Women in Food does is make it a softer place," she said.
Ashley Brooks is the co-founder of Indy Women in Food.
"When we come together and nurture each other, we just capable of doing really incredible things. And there's a lot of love in the room behind me, and it's just a really interesting space when we all get together," said Brooks.
Dr. Terri Jett is the faculty advisor for the HUB.
"Food is at the heart of everything when it comes to being healthy, being able to be creative, and addressing issues of poverty and disparity," Jett said.
Audra Sternberg went to the conference to network and feel inspired. She learned skills that she can take back to her job as marketing manager for Bluebeard and Amelia's.
"I think it's important for other women to feel empowered by seeing other women be successful, to go out there and do it," said Sternberg.
It's been years since Gulley walked into her first Indy Women in Food meeting with a dream and some drive. Today, she's the owner of a successful business, and a featured guest at the conference.
"I did it. I'm proof that when women support women, it works. When we support each other, we do amazing things," she said.
If you want to support local women-owned businesses, these are some of the ones featured at the conference:
- Healthy Soul
- Aahaa Chai
- Forked Up Catering
- Guy's Cooking Creation
- Metalhoney Foods
- Wild Sage Tea Co.
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