Women in Leadership

Building a Better Future: The Impact of a Women in Leadership Certificate Program

Chief Executive reported that businesses with a greater percentage of women leaders performed better financially. The companies in the top 20% of financial performance employ women in 37% of their leadership roles.  

Women bring documented advantages to organizations when assuming high managerial and executive roles. To be effective, employees must be able to understand and implement proper training and skill sets used by leaders.  The training and skill sets learned during women in leadership programs can also help employees overcome challenges they may face in the workplace.  

Women currently make up half the workforce, but fewer than 20% hold C-suite positions, and fewer than 5% are CEOs, according to Chief Executive. Addressing these issues is also good for business, improving culture and productivity.  

Infographic showing that less than 5% of CEOs are womenChallenges Women Face 

Deloitte’s 2023 Women @ Work report highlights some of the specific challenges women may face within the workplace. The report surveyed more than 5,000 women working across 10 countries and data shows that organizations around the world are still working towards a more inclusive, flexible, and well-rounded work environment for women. A lot of progress has been made but the skills that you will learn in the women in leadership program can help women to handle similar situations. Some of the statistics included in this report consisted of:

  • Nearly half of the respondents (44%) reported experiencing harassment (including unwanted physical advances or repeated disparaging comments) and microaggressions (being interrupted, talked over or patronized) in the last year. While this is a considerable decrease from the previous report (59%), the percentage of women who reported these issues to their employer also decreased, with 59% reporting vs. 66% in 2022.
  • The experience is notably worse for women in under-represented groups or LGBTQ+ communities. 54% report microaggressions, facing a higher chance than other women to have managers patronize or undermine them, while the groups are “significantly more likely” to be excluded from informal interactions, feel patronized and receive disparaging or belittling comments about their race or ethnicity.
  • 44% state the reason for not reporting harassment is because they didn’t feel it was serious enough. Another 12% fear that if they do report, the behavior will become worse.

The online Women in Leadership: Influence and Impact certificate program, offered through SMU Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE), gives women the ability to develop a holistic view of their skills, strengths and personality traits to help establish themselves as an effective and influential member of an organization.

In CAPE’s online certificate program, you will be surrounded by a community of like-minded, dynamic and motivated women who discuss the challenges and opportunities present in the workplace. Each week, you will learn from an experienced, female leader who brings expertise in a functional area of leadership and understands what it takes to boldly lead with influence and impact. It’s important to note that while focusing on the challenges faced by women, a leadership program focused on women can also be valuable for and is open to men who want to take the course. For many men, taking these courses allows them to see the working world from another viewpoint and helps them better understand the issues women face.

In the six-week Women in Leadership program, you will learn to:

  • Recognize situations that may steer you off course, allowing you to confidently show up and share your point of view
  • Align your actions to support the achievement of the organization’s strategic goals
  • Prepare messages that inspire action by providing the right message to the right people at the right time
  • Build productive teams that deliver results
  • Cultivate relationships and empower both yourself and your teams, supporting your professional development

You will also learn how to recognize your leadership style and take steps to maximize its impact, as well as reframe your thoughts by practicing emotional agility and growth-mindset strategies.

Additionally, the certificate program teaches you how to improve your communication skills and identify the level of psychological safety and trust offered by your current organization. By learning how to use mentoring meeting tools, you will learn how to plan and engage in critical mentoring relationships.

Women in Leadership Instructors and Curriculum

The Women in Leadership program is designed to prepare women to transition into leadership roles in modern organizations or strengthen their position as an active leader in their company. The program is led by five subject matter experts who each have expertise in a core function of leadership and together have leadership experience in fields such as global learning design; human capital strategies; human resource management; strategic planning; consulting, marketing, coaching; and diversity equity and inclusion.

Kara Schillaci – Module 1: Leadership Starts From Within

Kara Schillaci is a global talent development and transformation executive who is passionate about creating future-ready leaders and organizations. She is currently the Vice President of Talent Development and Transformation at Rexel, USA. Kara has had many roles inside large organizations leading learning, talent management, leadership development and functional capability building.

Mina Shams – Module 2: Developing Strategic Insights—From Staff to C-Suite
Mina Shams is an HR leader with over 30 years of diverse experience in the healthcare, biotechnology, and defense industries, which included over 20 years of progressively greater management responsibilities. Those included developing and leading initiatives that align leadership, culture, talent and total rewards.

Laura Wooten – Module 3: Communicating for Influence
Laura Wooten has spent her career working to empower women both professionally and personally as a strategic problem solver, consultant, marketer and coach. Over 15 years, Laura built her own consultancy helping small and mid-sized businesses, nonprofits and corporate clients turn their expertise into revenue streams.

Wendy Hultmark – Module 4: Cultivating Psychological Safety, Trust and Team Engagement

Wendy Hultmark, CPC, ACC, is a certified executive coach who is passionate about helping women succeed and find fulfillment in leadership and in life. Wendy’s career spans over two decades, as an HR leader and then as a coach, guiding and supporting all levels of leaders-from first-time managers to executives running $500 million dollar businesses and everything in between.

Mignon Early – Module 5: Influence Through Coaching, Mentorship and Sponsorship

Mignon Early is the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Fresenius Medical Care. She has more than 25 years of experience in the nephrology industry and has held numerous leadership roles, including regional vice president, group vice president, general manager and vice president of clinical quality.

The modules within the course provide an example of how to address the specific concerns of future women leaders.

  1. Leadership Starts From Within: You will gain a better understanding of your personality, identity and leadership styles.
  2. Developing Strategic Insights – From Staff to the C-Suite: Learn how to leverage strategic thinking and become a key contributor in an organization.
  3. Communicating for Influence: Learn to deliver the right message for the right person at the right time to inspire action.
  4. Cultivating Psychological Safety, Trust and Team Engagement: Learn the business case for psychological safety and trust, how to practice them in the workplace, and how to build a happy and healthy team dynamic.
  5. Influence Through Coaching, Mentorship and Sponsorship: Learn what to consider as leaders extend their influence as an ally, mentor or sponsor.

Industry Expert Panel: In the final week of class, you will listen and learn from senior leaders representing some of the country’s top organizations. Experts will share leadership tips and strategies to help women succeed in their role as a current or aspiring leader.

SMU CAPE’s Women in Leadership program offers a unique learning experience for professionals seeking to advance and/or strengthen your leadership skills. Throughout this program, you will learn essential leadership practices to help you influence, inspire and lead your team(s) to achieve a common goal and create a vision for how to develop yourself and others in service of career objectives.