Ladies Who Launch

Thursday, November 16, 2017 Alliance Series

5:00 - 8:15 pm
The Pearl, 601 19th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

Ladies Who LaunchThis is a celebration of amazing women entrepreneurs and business owners for Ladies Who Launch's 5th annual event to educate, inspire and create community amongst local business leaders and sellers.

Join Ladies Who Launch for an evening of thought-provoking speakers, learnings and best practices from our expert-led interactive sessions, and a chance to connect and network with your fellow women entrepreneurs.




Traci Des Jardins, Chef & Restaurateur

Traci Des JardinsBefore opening Jardinière in San Francisco in 1997, Des Jardins worked in some of the highly acclaimed kitchens in Los Angeles, France, and New York City. Classically trained in French cuisine by some of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the world, Des Jardins' style is also influenced by her Mexican and French-Acadian grandparents, who taught her how to cook. Throughout her more than two decades in San Francisco, Des Jardins has continued to focus and evolve her style of cooking as well as her restaurants. Over the course of her successful career she has trained and groomed many chefs and front-of-the-house personnel, many of whom now help operate her growing group of restaurants.

Known as one of the top female chefs in the country, Des Jardins is a two-time James Beard award-winner and has earned a number of industry accolades throughout her career including:

James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year,” 1995
Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chef,” 1995
San Francisco Magazine’s “Chef of the Year,” 1995
Winner of Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant” (Jardinière), 1999
James Beard Foundation nomination for “Best New Restaurant" (Jardinière), 1999
James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: Pacific,” 2007
Winner of “Iron Chef” title (vs. Mario Batali) on Food Network's Iron Chef America, 2007
Finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters 3, 2011
Winner of Esquire's Knife Fight, 2014
Semifinalist for James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Chef,” 2015

Des Jardins sits on the board of La Cocina, a San Francisco based non-profit business incubator. She is a deeply committed activist and philanthropist working with hunger-relief organizations such as Share Our Strength, Citymeals On-Wheels and other non-profits such as amfAR.

Helen Russell, Co-founder & CEO, Equator Coffees & Teas

Helen RussellHelen Russell is the co-founder and CEO of Equator Coffees & Teas. From its humble roots in a Marin County garage, Equator continues to grow, thrive, and stay faithful to its values under Helen's guidance. Under her leadership, Equator has grown from a small roaster and wholesale supplier into a national brand known for its values-driven approach, award-winning coffee, and impactful action around issues of environmental sustainability and economic empowerment.

Helen has led Equator's commitment to a sustainable, transparent approach that spans more than two decades. Through Helen’s guidance, Equator has deepened its relationships with the local community by opening five retail locations in the Bay Area. In 2011, Equator formalized its commitment to sustainability by becoming a certified B Corporation, making it the first California coffee roaster to do so. In 2016, the U.S. Small Business Administration honored Equator by naming the company the "National Small Business of the Year."‚Äč

Helen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University in Boston.

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