Food-industry activist Jennifer Stojkovic believes women are at the forefront of the vegan movement.
Canadian-born activist Jennifer Stojkovic has built her career as an internationally-recognized community relations leader for some of the world’s largest tech companies in the capital of innovation, San Francisco. During her tech career, Jennifer became very interested in combining her passion for change in the food system with her experience in Silicon Valley.
With her sights set on combating the global climate crisis, Jennifer turned to the animal alternatives and food technology industry.
In early 2018, Jennifer launched the Future of Food series of partnerships, bringing together CEOs and founders from leading tech brands, including WeWork and Airbnb. In addition to several successful professionals from the burgeoning food tech industry, the group went on to establish food as the ‘Tech 2.0.’
A Thriving World Includes Women
Quickly, Jennifer noticed the inequities facing female founders in the food tech industry—and the unfortunate parallels drawn from her experiences as a career-driven woman at the intersection of tech and politics in the Valley.
“As an entrepreneur, I know that women face unique challenges and barriers,” shares Jennifer. “But within those challenges and barriers comes an important lived experience. We can use it as our competitive advantage because we know how to speak to and serve consumers better than anyone else.”
Drawing on these experiences, Jennifer launched the Vegan Women Summit (VWS) in early 2020. The sold-out global conference focused on building an equitable and diverse representation of female leaders from around the globe and partnering with major tech brands. The VWS is the world’s first events and media organization dedicated to empowering, educating, and inspiring women to bring compassion to their careers.
The first VWS was held in San Francisco, California, and drew an impressive 250 attendees worldwide. This year, the number of guests reached a new record of 800.
After many successful conferences, Jennifer launched an extension of the brand—VWS Connect, a food-tech job networking series. Since its inception, VWS Connect has paired more than 2,000 jobseekers with disrupting employers in the industry, such as Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and Miyoko’s.
A Book. A Conference. A Future.
“When I look at the interest in VWS worldwide, I am not surprised. The movement to create a better world has been slowly growing everywhere, and now women and their allies finally have a place to call home,” says Jennifer.
With a thriving, fast-growing community of energetic female leaders, VWS features programming with the world’s leading vegan CEOs, celebrities, investors, Olympians, and more. Its community has grown to reach more than 40,000 businesswomen on over six continents.
As an ethical vegan and animal lover, Jennifer recognizes the need to overhaul the global food system.
Through her inspiring book, The Future of Food Is Female: Reinventing the Food System to Save the Planet, she encourages others to reap the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.
“To move forward with the vegan movement, people need to focus on solutions and innovation,” she says. “The vast majority of purchasing decisions are made based on accessibility, convenience, and desire, so we need to make sure vegan and slaughter-free alternatives are available to consumers around the world.”
When she is not building a kinder food system and empowering female leadership, Jennifer enjoys diving, hiking with her dogs, or perfecting the most delicious seitan recipe. She is also always down for a push-up contest—eager to prove the power of plant-based protein.
Jennifer speaks domestically and internationally at conferences, including the world’s largest tech conference, Dreamforce, and the acclaimed World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea. She also regularly contributes to Rolling Stone Magazine and serves as a member of the board of several nonprofits, including Mercy for Animals, Charlie’s Acres, and The Better Food Foundation.
Reading her book is a great place to start for those interested in the gender gap in the animal alternatives and food technology industry.
“There is an urgency with the message of The Future of Food is Female,” she reveals. “It is to tell the four billion women on the planet that they can be a part of creating a more sustainable, kinder world. Whether building a company, joining a mission-driven cause or simply being a consumer advocate, every woman has a role to play.”