Women's Executive Leadership Institute


The Executive Leadership Program accelerates leadership growth for women executives during critical career transitions. It includes two Retreats that focus on building a leadership identity, embracing strengths as a woman leader, and building social capital. In-between Retreats, leaders meet regularly with an experienced executive coach and monthly with peers to incorporate and refine new skills. Building long-term professional networks with a diverse community of peers and accomplished leaders is a distinguishing characteristic of this program.

Find out more below: Who Should Apply / What We Deliver / Curriculum / What Makes This Program Distinctive / Fees and Application InformationTestimonials


Professional mid-to-senior level women* who:

  • Recently assumed increased leadership responsibilities or scope;
  • Are in a period of transition and want to build a diverse network; or
  • Moving into a leadership role requiring business development or broader focus outside the organization.

Applicants should have a minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible experience and accomplishments in an organization. Successful applicants demonstrate a track record of continuous improvement, self-awareness, openness to honest feedback, and shared commitment to helping others succeed while making a positive impact on society.

*Past participants include Directors, Senior Directors, Vice Presidents, and Partners.


  • A leadership vision to articulate your leadership goals and plans within your organization
  • A customized and actionable individual development plan to make progress on your development needs
  • An executive coach that holds you accountable for staying true to your vision, making progress on your development, and incorporating new leadership behaviors
  • Broadened exposure outside your organization and build a cross-sector network of women leaders through small class sizes
  • Leadership training on advanced leadership topics that resonate with women leaders across sectors
  • Leadership Forums with accomplished leaders across public, private, and non-profit sectors who will give candid insights for the journey ahead


Phase One - Individual Leadership Development (February - March)

  • Needs assessment to determine specific programming needs
  • Self assessment to understand development needs and objectives

Phase Two –Spring Retreat: Orientation and Networking (April)

  • Three days in Washington, DC to engage with peers, alumni, and accomplished leaders
    Note: Past Retreats have included a roundtable at the White House
  • Facilitated sessions to develop a leadership vision and development plan

Phase Three – Individual Leadership Development and Peer Mentoring (May - September)

  • Monthly 1:1 executive coaching sessions for feedback and guidance
  • Monthly webinars with peers to share expertise and learn from others

Phase Four – Fall Retreat: Networking, Leadership Development, and Graduation (October)

  • Three days at an off-site Retreat center near Washington, DC to build relationships with peers and accomplished leaders
  • Facilitated sessions to embrace strengths as a woman leader and build social capital
  • Graduation and access to a broad network of accomplished leaders


  1. Access to an exclusive network of talented peers, accomplished leaders, and executive coaches to build social capital across public, private, and non-profit sectors.
  2. Leaders receive individual attention within small groups to accelerate development and increase relationship-building.
  3. Targeted leadership programming focuses on women’s leadership strengths and gender diversity for immediate application at work and in society.


$4,950 tuition includes two 3-day Retreats, including instructional materials, lodging and meals; 6 sessions with an executive coach; and 5 webinars with peers. Travel expenses are not included.

No qualified applicant will be turned away for an inability to pay the program fees. In an effort to help candidates access funding, the Women’s Leadership Institute provides materials to share with your employer for reimbursement. In addition, a limited number of service grants and scholarships, to cover all or part of the fee, are awarded based upon need.

To make a contribution to our scholarship fund, enabling more talented women leaders the opportunity to participate, visit our Scholarship Fund.


Applications for the 2015 Class of the Women’s Executive Leadership Program are now open through Monday, December 1, 2014.

Do you know a talented woman who should apply? Refer them to our program and we will send them all the details.  

Like many in the Women’s Executive Leadership program, Heather King was at an important cross-road in her career when she joined the 2013 class.  She was on the partnership track at her firm, but did not feel ready for the impending promotion. Through a greater understanding of gender intelligence, Heather discovered that her uncertainties about taking a step up in responsibility were common to many women. Using in-depth analysis tools and strategies offered by her coach, and leaning on the insights and support of peers in the program, Heather ultimately accepted the promotion to partner and is thriving in her new role.  

“I have always considered myself to be confident, hard-working and ambitious, but I still didn’t want to accept the promotion until I was 100% convinced I was deserving of it and could handle the added responsibilities. Being the mother of an infant and a toddler only added to my concerns. Through my work with the Impact Center, I realized that many talented and capable women have this same mindset and it irreparably harms their ability to advance into leadership roles. That wasn’t who I wanted to be or the message I wanted to send. So I learned to adjust my thinking and alter the short and long term narrative I was telling myself and the world about who I am and what I offer as a leader inside and outside of my firm.”  


 Kate Rothen, Vice President, Executive Director at SS+K in New York City worked with her mentor, an experienced PR professional, to understand how to leverage her staff more effectively and implement an internal mentoring program to increase the professional development of junior staff.   Shortly after graduating from the program, Kate secured a promotion and helped clients tackle challenges ranging from empowering female entrepreneurs to getting Americans to reconsider electric cars.

“Having a mentor and access to a community of women undergoing the same process…provide a crucial support network that will help me to focus, persevere, learn from their expertise and experience, and perhaps most importantly, not be afraid to fail.”


Using the skills she gained from the program, Katariina Tuovinen, formerly the Chief Administrative Officer at Yosemite National Park, established a leadership training program for her managers to help them understand how they can be more effective in their roles.

 “I have three Master’s degrees and am well trained in terms of skills, but, I’m dealing with challenges at work that no amount of studying could prepare me for.”


Working with her mentor and self-assessment tools provided to her by the Impact Center, Jeri Powell uncovered her passion for education reform.  Thanks to peer relationships she developed through the program, she joined StudentsFirst, a national organization dedicated to reforming public education.

"The Women's Leadership Program has given me the opportunity to reflect on how I can advance my career goals with an ethos of public service.  Connecting with highly accomplished, like-minded women has been a wonderful experience."


Following graduation from the program, Rachel Sterne Haot was named the first ever Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York. Working with her mentor, she leveraged her entrepreneurial skills to create a long term plan for her business and chart a pathway for impact in the public sector.

“There is absolutely a very entrepreneurial spirit that is supporting innovation in city government...This is a response to the fact that jobs like this just didn’t exist five or six years ago. This is the kind of role I have always wanted to do.”  

Interview with Patrick McGeehan, New York Times City Room Blog


Erica Borggren came to this program after leaving the US Army. She worked with a professional executive coach to understand her strengths and recognize what she wanted out of her career. As a result of this confidence in her abilities, Erica was ready to take advantage of the right opportunities. Today she is the Director for Veterans Affairs for the State of Illinois.

“[This program] helped me define the ways in which I will lead on issues in the years to come, by helping to identify passions, talents, and experiences and where they intersect.”


When JJ DiGeronimo entered this program she was an Enterprise Manager for VMware, a technology company. She enjoyed her job but felt that she wasn’t fully realizing her potential and wanted to understand how to create opportunities to grow and to realize her goal of writing a book. Over the course of her year as a fellow, JJ worked with her mentor to focus her energies and as a result, published her first book, The Working Women’s GPS, in 2011 and launched her website, www.purposefulwoman.com. She also leveraged her experience in the program to secure a promotion within her organization to the role of Strategic Virtualization Manager.


Who Should Apply / What We Deliver / Curriculum / What Makes This Program Distinctive / Fees and Application Information / Testimonials