• Club Spotlight: Womxn—Women in Leadership Q&A

  • Club Spotlight: Womxn—Women in Leadership Q&A

    Women’s History Month

    Author Annie B. Milostan ’25 is a Baking and Pastry Arts major.

    The Womxn club is a student organized club at CIA. It’s a feminist and social justice club that stands for women supporting women. They’ve done so much to help women at CIA’s New York campus, like making complimentary feminine product baskets for all the women bathrooms throughout campus. For Women’s History Month, they organized a panel of women with experience working in the food and hospitality industry to discuss women in leadership.

    Womxn—Women in Leadership Panel

    Meet the Panel

    CIA Lecturing Instructor—Baking and Pastry Arts Lisa Kirschner ’08

    Lisa Kirschner ’08
    CIA Lecturing Instructor—Baking and Pastry Arts

    CIA Lecturing Instructor—Hospitality and Service Management Brandi Renee Burgess ’13

    Brandi Renee Burgess ’13
    CIA Lecturing Instructor—Hospitality and Service Management

    Guittard Chocolate Company Laura Tornichio

    Laura Tornichio
    Guittard Chocolate Company

    CIA Assistant Professor—Business Management Dr. Inna Soifer

    Dr. Inna Soifer
    CIA Assistant Professor—Business Management


    How do you think leadership in women has changed over time?

    • Lisa Kirschner ’08: “Being in a leadership position while in back-of-house was harder when I was starting out, however now it has gotten a bit better especially since I came to teach here.”
    • Brandi Renee Burgess ’13: “Women used to work twice as hard just to get recognition however now there are more dedicated pathways to get women into these leadership positions.”
    • Laura Tornichio: “Diversity is better now which lets women help with innovations when it comes to this industry”
    • Dr. Inna Soifer: “It is hard because more often than not society still thinks that a man should be in charge, but it is making a change for the better.”

    Why is it important to have women in leadership positions?

    • All agreed on this: “To see that you can do it and it helps to build up other women in this industry.”

    What made you want to be in a leadership position?

    • Lisa Kirschner ’08: “I didn’t choose it, it chose me based on who I am, my values, and my work ethic.”
    • Brandi Renee Burgess ’13: “I have always been compelled to bring the best out of people and putting good teams together that help build everyone around them up.”
    • Laura Tornichio: “I didn’t go looking for it, it just happened based off of how hard I worked and applying myself.”
    • Dr. Inna Soifer: “Being the change you wish to see in the world. Living everyday with that statement in all of your actions, your works, and how you carry yourself.”

    What is the most difficult part about being a leader?

    • Lisa Kirschner ’08: “Realizing that you can’t do this forever and that you need to have a life outside of this so you need to learn to step back.”
    • Laura Tornichio: “Being patient to allow others to learn their way… everyone learns at their own pace and adapting to help everyone in the best way you can.”
    • Dr. Inna Soifer: “Investing everything in my time and needing to realize when the seeds you’re planting aren’t growing and helping them in the ways you can.”

    What advice do you have for the up-and-coming generations who are looking to be in this industry?

    • Lisa Kirschner ’08: “Do not give up, no matter how hard it gets, no matter what happens, dust yourself up and try again.”
    • Brandi Renee Burgess ’13: “Make meaningfully relationships and find a mentor whom you connect with and that you see guiding you to be the best version of yourself that you can be inside and outside of this industry.”
    • Dr. Inna Soifer: “Know your worth because if you don’t know it then someone will tell you and you will start to believe them.”

    These are only a few of the best female professors and chefs we have on this campus, and as a student being able to hear these words of encouragement made me believe in myself just a little bit more.