The Women's Leadership Forum
Innovation Strategies for a Changing World
In today's evolving business arena, every executive must be prepared to lead her organization through periods of disruptive innovation and rapid change. Bringing together a carefully selected group of accomplished businesswomen from around the world, The Women's Leadership Forum at Harvard Business School helps you to optimize your individual performance and your organizational impact—while achieving new levels of confidence and success.
This intensive program is designed to advance your management and leadership skills. In small groups, classroom discussions, and informal interactions throughout the week, you will have the opportunity to explore best practices and new research, share insights, compare experiences, and try out new ideas with an exceptional group of seasoned businesswomen. You will emerge reenergized and prepared to inspire and lead your colleagues with lasting impact.
Your curriculum combines topics that promote proactive business leadership, including marketing innovation, organizational effectiveness, service excellence, and negotiation; a focus on enhancing your leadership skills; and the opportunity to meet each day with your Board of Advisers—a small group facilitated by a professional coach—who can help you address critical challenges and develop a personal action plan.
This leadership development program assembles a dynamic group of senior businesswomen from around the world—successful leaders of public and private firms, including business owners, entrepreneurs, corporate officers, and nonprofit executives.
What You Can Expect
Improving Your Company's Performance
To drive business performance and create competitive advantage, many companies are focusing on growing leaders from within. But when the talents of executive women are underutilized, companies miss a crucial opportunity to expand their leadership capacity. The Women's Leadership Forum is designed to transform businesswomen into outstanding leaders who can contribute more broadly to their firm's ongoing success.
Along with a seasoned group of female executives from around the world, you will expand your general management and leadership skills while exploring the latest research and emerging best practices. Whatever your role, the program will prepare you to sustain strategic advantage for your organization. Specifically, your company will benefit from your improved ability to:
- Identify and capture new opportunities for innovation
- Lead organizational change
- Develop talent and leadership qualities in others
- Foster and leverage organizational diversity
- Achieve key business goals
Taking Your Skills to the Next Level
In the program's demanding yet supportive environment, you will focus on enhancing your own approach to leadership and on building a personal action plan designed to help you be more effective. You will expand your knowledge, skills, and confidence as you learn how other successful women have approached key management and leadership challenges. In the process, you will become better able to:
- Build processes that foster your organization's ability to innovate
- Negotiate skillfully inside and outside your company
- Adapt your organization to current business conditions
- Create an internal culture that thrives on diversity and change
- Foster ethical decision making throughout the organization
"I found the four days intellectually invigorating and emotionally strengthening. Overall, it satisfied my thirst for personal and professional growth. The professors were gifted teachers and leaders in their fields, and the program provided a truly unique opportunity to learn from other women in a variety of industries from around the world."
Maricelle Narciso [Vice President, Marketing], Pepsi-Cola Products, The Philippines
Your Course of Study
The Women's Leadership Forum provides a range of learning experiences that add up to a powerful, transformative week.
Through faculty lectures and case studies, you will explore how other professional women have overcome challenges in their industries, their companies, and their interpersonal interactions. You will have privileged access to the latest research on leadership, gender in the workplace, and emerging best practices that are helping today's most successful companies outperform the competition.
Each day, you will meet with a Board of Advisers—a small group facilitated by a professional coach—who will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, articulate and overcome your personal leadership challenges, and guide you through the process of developing your personal action plan in the context of key lessons from each day's curriculum.
Deriving practical solutions from executives who have "been there," you will craft a realistic agenda for change in your company and in your own approach to leadership. Your small group work will incorporate guided self-assessment exercises that help you and your Board of Advisers to design a leadership approach that maximizes your strengths.
At the same time, you will be able to identify and address personal blind spots in a supportive environment, and create a more balanced approach that enables you to work more effectively with a diverse range of colleagues. This personal action plan will help you to implement what you have learned in the program and to continue developing your ability as a leader.
Key topics will include:
- Leadership—aligning your leadership strategy and style with your own personal values and self-image
- Innovation—identifying opportunities for new or enhanced products, services, and business models, while supporting entrepreneurial initiatives
- Negotiation—capturing maximum value through skillful and effective negotiation
- Service Management—helping your organization enhance service and differentiate on service excellence
- Change—leading organizational change and creating an environment that inspires and sustains results-focused change
- Values—implementing ethical negotiation and decision-making strategies across all levels of the organization
"I highly recommend the Women's Leadership Forum. It was a life-changing and fulfilling experience for me because of the amazing women, who were delightful and humble, and the inspirational morning Board meetings. Jump right in and get out of the course as much as you put in—and don't underestimate the power of women!"
Kathryn Pressser [CFO], Beach Energy Limited, Australia
"This course was truly eye-opening—I gained profound insights from the innovative teaching methods of the HBS faculty and from the dynamic exchange of so many different student viewpoints. The variety of media used to facilitate classroom discussion and illustrate the coursework contributed to a rich learning experience."
Kavita Sharma [Product Manager], JP Morgan Chase & Company, U.S.
Who Is Right for the Program
The HBS Executive Education Women's Leadership Forum is designed for women who hold senior leadership positions in public and private companies and nonprofit organizations around the world. Participants are selected to create a diverse group of accomplished executives from a wide array of industries, disciplines, managerial backgrounds, and cultures. Ideal candidates for this program include:
- Senior corporate officers and executives
- Business owners and entrepreneurs
- Business-unit leaders
- Nonprofit executives
One very important benefit of The Women's Leadership Forum is the opportunity to exchange ideas with a group of highly experienced businesswomen who face similar challenges in their professional lives. Through this program, many participants develop lasting relationships and are able to draw on a valuable network of peers who can offer ongoing advice and support.
Past Participants Represented:
|4%||High Technology||3%||Latin America|
|24%||Nonprofit Services||51%||North America|
"I highly recommend the Women's Leadership Forum if you are looking to take the next step in your career. The case studies were relevant and interesting, and the instructors created a supportive and dynamic learning experience. I'm applying the feedback and knowledge I gained every day in my work environment. The forum was a mental and emotional thrill."
Susannah Carroll [DEC Network Services Director], National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, U.S.
Meet the Program Faculty
Like all Harvard Business School Executive Education programs, The Women's Leadership Forum is developed and taught by a core faculty of HBS professors. Our faculty are widely recognized as skilled educators, groundbreaking researchers, and award-winning authors.
Through publishing, consulting, and teaching, they leverage their business expertise and field-based research to create new knowledge and enduring concepts that shape the practice of management. The result is a teaching team that exposes participants to multiple perspectives, challenging their thinking and encouraging new practices that result in superior business leadership.
Amy J.C. Cuddy, Associate Professor of Business Administration and Hellman Faculty Fellow. Member of the Negotiation, Organizations, and Markets Unit.
Janice H. Hammond, Jesse Philips Professor of Manufacturing. Member of the Technology and Operations Management Unit; and faculty chair of "The Women's Leadership Forum."
Myra M. Hart, MBA Class of 1961 Professor of Management Practice, Retired.
Nancy F. Koehn, James E. Robison Professor of Business Administration. Member of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit.
Leslie A. Perlow, Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership. Member of the Organizational Behavior Unit.
"This was the most effective and rewarding executive program I have ever attended. The group of women professionals was amazing, and my Board of Advisors experience was astonishing. I was able to refocus and identify the roadblocks that have been facing me. In fact, I have already implemented numerous changes at my workplace and continue to appreciate what I learned during the forum."
Iris Schrecker [SVP Group Compliance Office], DVB Bank SE, Germany
Because a diverse participant mix is an important part of every HBS Executive Education program, we look for candidates who reflect a broad range of industries, functions, countries, and backgrounds to enrich the learning experience.
Fees, Payments, and Cancellations
The program fee covers tuition, books, case materials, accommodations, and most meals.
No payment is necessary until you have been accepted into an HBS Executive Education program. After admission notification, we will send you an invoice via email; payment is due within 30 days of the invoice date. If admission is within 30 days prior to the start of the program, payment is due upon receipt of the invoice. Payment is required prior to the program start date. We accept payment by company check, bank wire transfer, or credit card (American Express, MasterCard, Visa). Details are included on the program invoice.
If you need to cancel or defer participation, you must submit your request in writing more than 30 days before the start of the program to receive a full refund. Due to program demand and the volume of preprogram preparation, cancellations or deferrals received 14 to 30 days prior to the start of the program are subject to a fee of one-half of the program fee. Requests received within 14 days are subject to full payment.
Although there are no formal educational requirements, admission is a selective process based on professional achievement and organizational responsibility. We look for professionals who have demonstrated business talent and leadership potential.
We deliberately design our programs to encourage individual growth and to foster productive interaction among participants. For that reason, proficiency in written and spoken English is essential. If English is your second language, or if you have less than one year's experience working in an English-speaking environment, HBS requires a brief statement documenting proficiency in English-language skills, both conversational and written. This may include a list of the English-language certification programs that you have completed; the degrees you have earned at English-speaking colleges and universities; or the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam. The Admissions Committee also may request a telephone interview.
HBS must receive your application and all required documents in order to prepare the application for review by the Admissions Committee.
If you submit your application online, we will promptly acknowledge receipt of your submission via email. In the unlikely event that an email acknowledgment is not received, please contact the Admissions Committee by email: email@example.com, phone: +1-617-495-6226, or fax: +1-617-496-1731.
If you choose to submit a printed application, be sure to type or print legibly and sign your application. Send the application to the address or fax number listed on the form. Mailed or faxed applications are processed and acknowledged promptly upon receipt via email.
Complete Your Application
Please answer all questions thoroughly—the Admissions Committee will only consider completed applications. After reviewing your application and making the necessary edits or corrections, print or copy the application for your records.
Meet the Deadlines
We request applications at least four weeks in advance of the program start date. Early application does not guarantee admission. Programs often fill to capacity, so early application is recommended.
Notification of Acceptance
We acknowledge receipt of all applications and maintain all application information in strict confidentiality.
To optimize the learning experience and maximize the exchange of ideas, the Admissions Committee selects a class that balances each participant's experience, the scope of his or her current responsibilities, and the type of organization.
The Admissions Committee begins reviewing applications four months before the start date, and qualified candidates are admitted on a rolling, space-available basis. Once the review process has begun, applicants are notified within three weeks via email regarding Admissions Committee decisions. If your application is received within three weeks of the program's start date, the Admissions Committee will notify you of their decision as soon as possible.
For further assistance, contact our client service specialists at: 1-800-427-5577 (outside the U.S., dial +1-617-495-6555).