jessamyn rodriguez

Photo: Sioux Nesi

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Jessamyn Rodriguez, 38
Founder and CEO, Hot Bread Kitchen

Her Rescue Mission
After a friend misheard and thought Jessamyn's job interview with Women's World Banking was with Women's World Baking, Jessamyn, a former United Nations policy analyst, got the idea for Hot Bread Kitchen, a nonprofit that trains women for baking careers and helps them launch new food businesses. The program offers hands-on instruction, in addition to classes in English and skills such as résumé writing and interview prep. "Seeing women empowered by even a small amount of knowledge and then coming into themselves is deeply satisfying," says Jessamyn, who has two children under age 4.

"Being able to see my original idea at work is very gratifying," says Jessamyn (left) at Hot Bread Kitchen's retail store, Hot Bread Almacen, in East Harlem, New York. Trainees not only make and bake HBK's signature breads—varieties include Armenian lavash, grindstone rye and challah—but they can also sell their creations.