Mastermind Series Offers Forum on Women in Leadership

The online series provided a forum for women to come together to discuss topics ranging from aspects of conscious leadership to honing an authentic voice to fulfilling purpose and meaning at work.

May 9, 2017

Valerie Belanger MA ’06, Director of Global Leadership Programs at the Yale School of Management, says that we should think of leadership as a mindset, not something dependent on hierarchical position. Leadership, she says, is grounded in a lifelong commitment to daily practices, such as openness to giving and receiving feedback, collaborating, and self-reflecting. With this definition of leadership, there remains ample space for women to find opportunities to lead, to focus on specific areas of development, and to embark on meaningful personal and professional expansion regardless of their current position.

Belanger shared this message a few weeks ago during an online workshop sponsored by the MBA for Executives Program at Yale SOM, part of a six-part series called Mastermind Series: Women in Leadership, during which women can come together to discuss topics ranging from aspects of conscious leadership to honing an authentic voice to fulfilling purpose and meaning at work. 

Within our Mastermind Series offerings, we want to provide a space for women to share as they grow in their authentic embodiment of leadership without the comparison to other more traditional and gender-biased models. As one participant said, “Women have the tendency to take feedback and immediately apply it without considering that it is only one data point. When it comes to personalities of female versus male leaders and because women are typically considered pleasers, this message doesn’t get expressed enough and leaves women to chase someone’s vision instead of chasing their own.”

During the Mastermind on Crafting your Mission Statement, led by Logan Yonavjak FES/SOM ’16 and Ariana Bain FES ’16, participants were asked to focus on their personal mission statements. One participant said, “It is great to see so many other women on the same wavelength who are interested in applying intentionality to their lives, and I sense this is going to be an important social trend going forward. We are all getting tired of the ‘always on’ 24/7 world we find ourselves living in.” Another participant spoke of the importance of having a “guiding star” or purpose, especially when so busy with the day-to-day activities and responsibilities. She found it “grounding and centering to consciously step back to think about one’s higher purpose.”

The Yale School of Management’s mission is to educate leaders for business and society. In keeping with that mission, we are working to address the challenges women face in the global workforce. Through this online series, we plan to provide sessions on a wide range of topics, led by Yale SOM staff, faculty, and alumni, as well as outside content experts and coaches. In the future, our aim is to engage all genders in dialogue regarding women in leadership because women need support in order to move closer toward their full potential.

Read the results of a recent Global Network for Advanced Management survey about the challenges facing women in the workplace.

Read “Women Rising: The Unseen Barriers” in the Harvard Business Review. The authors suggest that in order to best support the growth of women in leadership we must support their motivation to step into leadership and provide recognition even when it may not present similarly to current styles of leadership.

Read about a a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which studied the profitability of gender diversity and found that women are underrepresented at the highest levels of leadership.


About the author

Maria Stutsman y Marquez

Associate Director of Admissions