Accepting: Susan Ungaro, Executive Director

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor America's diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. This mission makes them the perfect candidate for the first Collaboration Artist Award. They have literally built a community though conversation, innovation, and drive. From their awards program—which has created a new genre of superstars in our popular culture—to their substantive programs on food policy, the James Beard Foundation has energized a new generation of professionals in the hospitality industry to address problems head-on with frank conversations and solutions that impact the world.
Since becoming president of the James Beard Foundation in 2006, Susan Ungaro has made focusing on collaboration a signature area of her focus, resulting in increased awareness of the nonprofit through a host of initiatives, including increasing national and global awareness of the Foundation, as well as its culinary scholarship program, membership, and thought-leadership initiatives. Her additional accomplishments include spearheading the annual JBF Food Conference to foster dialogue and action to improve our nation’s food system, and launching the JBF Leadership Awards, which recognize visionaries in business, government, and education sectors responsible for creating a healthier, safer, and more sustainable food world. One of her notable collaborations was when she worked with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Protocol to develop the “Diplomatic Culinary Partnership,” an initiative to elevate the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts.