Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez

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Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez

2008 Fellow
Founder of Hot Bread Kitchen

Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez 2008 Fellow

Bold Idea 

Create a social enterprise model that establishes well-paid baking careers for immigrant women while preserving their traditional baking practices.


Despite the fact that the majority of immigrants to the U.S. are women, their prospects for well-paid careers are worse than those of men. Limited by domestic responsibilities, less education, lack of language skills, acculturation difficulties, and social isolation, women are at great risk of exploitative work, further perpetuating the vicious cycle of poverty. Hot Bread Kitchen captures lost human capital by bringing women’s traditional bread recipes to market, which builds recognition of the contribution of immigrant communities. Paid training in baking, access to a diverse professional and social network, and a flexible schedule allow women to develop careers that work for them. After six months of training, including English and computer studies, the women are empowered to launch their own enterprises, find jobs in the thriving commercial baking industry, or, at this stage of rapid growth, remain in management roles with Hot Bread Kitchen.

Jessamyn W. Rodriguez is the founder and CEO of the iconic social enterprise Hot Bread Kitchen. Since 2008, she has transformed the organization from a visionary idea hatched in her home kitchen into a thriving commercial bakery, workforce development program, and incubator kitchen in New York City. Over the past six years, Hot Bread Kitchen has become a nationally recognized brand whose products are sold in more than 70 restaurants and retail outlets. Jessamyn holds an MPA from Columbia University, a BA from the University of British Columbia, and a Master Baker certificate from the New School University. She lives in East Harlem with her husband and two young children.

Learn More
  • 2008
  • Fellow
  • Food & Agriculture
  • Poverty Alleviation & Economic Development
  • Nonprofit
  • North America
  • United States

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