Joanna James

Filmmaker & Motivational Speaker
Joanna James has a passion for sharing stories and creating empathy, first as a newspaper reporter and now as a filmmaker. Joanna is the founder and CEO of Zoel Productions, a production company based in Manhattan creating independent content for television, film, non-profits, commercial and digital spaces. Joanna made her directorial debut with the recently premiered documentary A Fine Line. The award winning film explores why less than 7% of head chefs and restaurant owners are women, hearing candid insight from world renowned chefs. There is a central narrative on a small town restaurateur, single mother who is on a mission to do what she loves while raising two kids with the odds stacked mightily against her. A Fine Line opens up a timely discussion about equality and leadership in the culinary field and beyond. Joanna developed the MAPP Impact Campaign with the mission of increasing women in leadership. MAPP endeavors to reduce the gender disparity in the hospitality and culinary industries, as a powerful model that could be scaled across all industries on how to get more women into leadership and create more inclusive teams. The tenets of this campaign are: Mentorship, Affordable & Accessible Childcare through Universal Early Childhood Education, Paid Family Leave Advocacy and the Power to Live your Truth and Influence Change. Prior to filmmaking Joanna was awarded best environmental reporting from the New England Press Association for an investigative piece she wrote. She interned for the Boston Globe's National/Foreign Desk and was later chosen to cover the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. She resides in New York with her two daughters and husband.
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More Women in the Kitchen: A Model for Creating More Women Leaders

by Joanna James

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