Susan Ungaro will step down as president of the James Beard Foundation at the end of the year, and a national search will be launched to find her replacement, the New York City-based organization said Monday.
Ungaro has headed the foundation, which promotes American cuisine and gives prestigious awards to restaurateurs and food and beverage media, for 11 years.
The foundation also hosts hundreds of guest chefs each year at the James Beard House, its headquarters and former home of the organization’s namesake, who was a widely respected cookbook author, food consultant and bon vivant.
“Ungaro was a constant champion of the foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and other leaders making America's food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone,” the foundation said in a release. “Under her leadership, the foundation enjoyed national and global recognition, initiated a host of thought leadership initiatives, and grew substantially to educate and inspire countless members of the culinary community.”
Among her accomplishments was launching the JBF Food Conference on improving the country’s food system, and the JBF Leadership Awards, which recognize leaders in business, government and education who have advanced that system. She also helped create the foundation’s Women’s Leadership Programs, which will debut in September at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass.
“It has been a special privilege to serve as president of the James Beard Foundation for over a decade," Ungaro said in the release. "I believe the time is right for me to start my next adventure helping other nonprofits making a difference in people's lives.”
Ungaro was previously editor-in-chief of Family Circle magazine and has served on the boards of numerous nonprofits, including Help USA, The Marrow Foundation and The Brazelton Foundation. She also is an advisor to the Culinary Council of Food Bank for New York City, the Careers through Culinary Arts Program, and the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Safe and Healthy New York Foods.
Last year, she was named one of Adweek’s 30 most influential people in food, and one of Irish America’s top 50 power women.
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