Lerner Women’s Leadership Forum
Take your next leadership leap with Lerner’s executive education forum for women.

Make it to the C-suite. Start your own venture. Get a better job. You know you’re ready, and the Lerner Women’s Leadership Forum will help you achieve your goals. In three intensive days, you’ll clarify your leadership vision and build the competencies and community to accomplish it.

You will also earn a Lerner College of Business executive education certificate to build your formal leadership credentials.

Ginger Victoria, Barclaycard US:
“Being a part of the Forum has had such a profound impact on me personally and professionally. I am now able to assert myself in a way that allows my authentic personality to shine through. I could not have accomplished this without the phenomenal facilitators and other women in the program.”

About the Program

Clarity: What you want and why
What do you want to accomplish in the next 5-10 years? What is your next leadership move? Why you? Why now?

We can accomplish anything we set our minds to, but first we have to see it. We will work with you to explore your values and strengths, clarify your big, audacious goals and develop essential leadership skills.

You will:

  • Explore your values
  • Evaluate your strengths
  • Identify your background and experiences
  • Develop a leadership vision for the next 5-10 years
  • Clarify why you want to accomplish your vision
Community: Who's with you
Who’s on your team to support this next chapter in your journey? Who do you need to add?

No (wo)man is an island. We need others to help us accomplish our goals – mentors, sponsors and friends. Together, we’ll work to assess your network and develop business networking skills. We also help you to expand your network of influencers by linking you with like-minded women who have already gone through the program and executives who are part of the Lerner women’s leadership initiative.

You will:

  • Assess your current network
  • Identify gaps in your network
  • Connect with like-minded women
  • Connect with female executives in the area
  • Practice critical networking skills
Competencies: How you will make it happen
How will you accomplish this next move?

Women are highly competent, yet often undervalue their own skills or fail to capitalize on their expertise. We will address core skills women need to succeed as leaders – helping you to recognize your existing skills and to build and expand these talents.

You will:

  • Rethink your mindset for leadership
  • Develop your assertive communication
  • Explore your time management strategies
  • Show up with executive presence
  • Talk about yourself in a compelling manner
  • Get feedback from a supportive community
Tara Simpson, Beebe Healthcare:
“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.”

Program Benefits

  • The forum 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.
  • You’ll connect to 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 in a variety of industries and sectors across the mid-Atlantic region.
  • You’ll join unique conversations in women-only space.
    Women-only space creates the opportunity to address gender-based issues that may not emerge in other programs. Previous participants have noted the value of the exchange of ideas in this space.

Organizational Benefits

  • The Forum prepares women for new leadership roles in their organization.
    30% of past participants were promoted or changed jobs in their organizations after they completed the Forum.
  • The Forum helps organizations improve the diversity of their mid and senior level leadership teams.
    Business research shows that when women join leadership teams, public companies perform better in terms of shareholder value.  So leadership teams comprised of confident Forum graduates can improve an organization’s value.
  • Forum graduates champion the creation and expansion of Women’s Affinity Networks.
    Forum graduates launch and/or strengthen women’s affinity groups in their organizations.
  • The Forum provides organizations with a research-based women’s executive education program that complements their in-house leadership development programs.
    Creating an in-house women’s leadership development program takes time and resources.  The Forum is a ready-made solution which organization like.

Program Leaders

Wendy Smith, Ph.D.

Professor of Management, Lerner College, University of Delaware

smithw@udel.edu, @profwendysmith

Wendy wants to see leaders succeed by living in the AND. Women can be both compassionate and competent, assertive and engaging, committed to family and committed to work. She serves as a co-founder and co-director of Lerner’s Women’s Leadership Initiative, and the Deutch Family Fellows studying strategies for how leaders and organizations can succeed by living in the AND. Her research has been published in the Harvard Business Review, as well as leading academic journals. She received the University of Delaware’s Mid-Career Research Award. She has also received numerous teaching awards, helping students engage and expand their leadership skills.

Barbara Roche, MS

Lecturer, Management Communications, The Wharton School

broche@wharton.upenn.edu, @ConfidentTalker

After many years as a consultant helping organizations advance their employee engagement efforts, Barbara launched her own company in 2005 to combine her three favorite jobs: workplace learning, organizational development, and coaching. She has completed successful engagements in healthcare, financial services, hospitality, advertising and cybersecurity. She is best known for blending her theatrical experience, Irish Catholic humor, and hard-won leadership skills to help professionals become more effective communicators. Referred to by her clients as the “People Whisperer,” Barbara helps career professionals stop running in place. Barbara is a certified facilitator with the NeuroLeadership Institute. She is the author of Commit to Confidence: 30 Strategies to Help Women Step Up and Stand Out.

Kei-Shanda D. Saddler, Department of Veteran Affairs:
“At some point in our lives each of us will be in need of an advisor, a coach, a friend, a mentor or a sister. All were found within the Women’s Leadership Forum.”

Program Dates & Location

The Forum is held at the beautiful and historic Inn & Spa at Montchanin Village, located just north of Wilmington, Delaware. We are pleased to provide interested participants with discounted hotel accommodation in the Wilmington area.

  • April 10-12, 2019

Admission & Fees

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

The fee to attend the Forum is $3,500, which includes the executive education seminars, readings and assessments and meals during the program. The fee for participants from government and non-profit agencies is $3,150. Please contact us about discounts for multiple participants from one organization.


For more information, please contact:

George Irvine
Director, Corporate Programs & Partnerships