High-Potential Women’s Leadership Forum Hero Image

Helping talented women advance toward senior leadership

Imagine a career path with no detours or wrong turns. Imagine earning the leadership position you were destined for and then succeeding beyond your expectations. These breakthrough results are within your reach, and we can help you make it happen.

The High-Potential Women’s Leadership Forum is designed and facilitated by Lerner faculty and staff who are considered thought leaders – and practitioners – of women’s leadership development and who have supported the advancement of high-potential women for over 15 years. Our mission is to move beyond adding “cracks in the glass ceiling” to putting more talented women in the C-suite.

You will also earn a Lerner College of Business executive education certificate to build your formal leadership credentials. Lerner’s tagline is “Opportunity, Inc.” because we believe every aspiring leader should be given an opportunity to succeed.

This program is for you if you:

  • Have a line of sight on a leadership role in your organization
  • Have more to offer your team and want to further define that “something”
  • Are getting restless in your current role because you’ve outgrown your job

Now is the time to advance your career. Join us as we change the landscape of organizational leadership, one woman at a time.

Program Core: The 3 C’s of Dynamic Leadership

The program is based on the three C’s of dynamic leadership: clarity, capabilities and community. All three elements are essential to the advancement of women into senior leadership roles. Here’s what’s in store:

1: Clarity

  • Formulate a personal leadership vision
  • Heighten your self-awareness of your unique strengths through 1-on-1 coaching
  • Acquire actionable, research-based knowledge to advance your career
  • Clarify your authentic leadership style

2: Capabilities

  • Define your best self
  • Become an “uber networker”
  • Refine your persuasion and influence skills
  • Enhance your assertive communication abilities
  • Practice good workplace politics

3: Community

  • Engage in a variety of activities designed to help you build your very own Board of Directors and make lasting connections with fellow aspiring leaders

"The Lerner College facilitators have been a tremendous influence on me and my leadership role. I was able to learn so much about myself and develop the skills necessary to be an effective leader.”

Tara Simpson, Beebe Healthcare

Program Dates & Structure

Dates for the next offering of the Forum will be announced shortly.

We’ve designed a transformational program with three distinct phases:

Phase 1: Defining your leadership brand

Onsite learning and development on the UD Newark campus

Phase 2: Implementing your action plan

1-on-1 executive coaching and self-assessment

Phase 3: Writing the next chapter of your leadership story

Onsite learning and development on the UD Newark campus

Program Leaders

Wendy Smith, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Lerner College of Business

Wendy is on a mission to rid the workplace of “either/or” thinking.  Her research over the last several years has uncovered an important element of effective leadership: leaders don’t make clear-cut choices between competing demands (today vs. tomorrow, profit vs. passion). Instead, they find approaches that embrace the paradox. They use “both/and” thinking. This work is captured in her Harvard Business Review article and her TEDx Talk. Wendy’s expertise in organizational dynamics does not come solely from her research. She learns mostly from her twins.

Read Wendy’s full biography.


Amanda Bullough, Assistant Professor of Management, Lerner College of Business

Amanda is a world traveler and a passionate believer in the power of entrepreneurship. Her research and teaching focuses on women’s entrepreneurship and leadership, organizational behavior and cross-cultural management. Amanda serves on the editorial review board for Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, and has presented at numerous international business and management conferences.  Amanda hails from the Sunshine State and still does not understand why northerners love winter.

Read Amanda’s full biography.


Barbara Roche

Barbara is an executive coach and organizational development specialist. She helps career professionals stop running in place. Based on her work with female clients in a wide range of industries, Barbara’s focus turned toward helping women rid themselves of beliefs and behaviors that undermined their success. This led to her book, Commit to Confidence: 30 Strategies to Help Women Step Up and Stand Out. She is a lecturer at The Wharton School in Philadelphia and is a proud member of Red Sox Nation. She lives a secret life as a fitness instructor, and will be leading one or two exercise classes during the residency programs so be sure to pack your sneakers.

Read Barbara’s full biography.


"Over the years, we’ve partnered with the Lerner College and various members of their faculty to support our organization’s continued focus on developing our future leaders. They have created programs that merged the academic with real world business applications; engaging our leaders along their path of self-discovery.”

Deb King, EVP & Chief Human Resources Officer, AAA Club Alliance

Program Benefits

Why attend the High-Potential Women’s Leadership Forum?

  1. It targets women’s specific leadership needs.
    Informed by the latest research on gender, organization and learning, the forum focuses on building key skills necessary to address the specific challenges facing women in leadership.
  2. You’ll build lasting leadership skills through cycles of learning and reflecting.
    Over six weeks, you’ll grow your leadership capabilities as you learn new skills, apply them at work and then return to reflect on your experiences and plan your next steps. Individual executive coaching and participant accountability partners reinforce learning.
  3. You’ll join a powerful regional network of women leaders.
    Successful female leadership depends on a strong network of mentors, advisors and supporters. You’ll develop a support network from the cohort of participants in a variety of industries and sectors across the mid-Atlantic region.


Admission to the forum is open to any woman who has some experience as a manager or leader, and who is moving toward a senior leadership position, as well as women entrepreneurs who plan to expand their businesses. Organizational leaders are encouraged to sponsor one or more of their high-potential women leaders.

Admission is on a rolling basis until two weeks prior to the Forum’s start date.

Participant Profile

This program is designed for women with the potential to move into senior leadership positions in their organizations.


The Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware and Lerner College with dinners at local venues.

"I would highly recommend Lerner College for professionals who are looking to expand their education or grow their careers.”

Lisa Harris, Toyota Financial Services

For more information, please contact:

George Irvine
Director, Corporate Programs & Partnerships