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Women’s Leadership Program

Join forces with Yale to prepare for a successful transition to senior leadership.

Women face unique challenges in the workplace but they also add unique value and perspective. They shatter groupthink, improve communications dynamics, and reinvigorate companies in ways that make them more competitive. Research shows companies with a critical mass of top-team gender diversity enjoy significantly better financial performance.

Your company can build this competitive advantage by developing women at critical transition points so they stay in otherwise leaky pipelines. The Women’s Leadership Program addresses the leakiest part of the pipeline—the leap to top management.

Implementation plans post-program extend the impact of an intensive in-person workshop. Yale faculty will lead a wide range of interactive and experiential learning sessions proven to enhance women’s leadership behaviors. Participants build awareness of decision-making biases, learn how to create high-performing teams, negotiate win-win outcomes, manage crises, drive innovation, and create an authentic leadership style.

Participants leave with new ideas, skills, confidence, and fresh perspectives to add more value to their company and cascade the benefits of improved diversity across the organization.

Preview image for the video "Yale SOM Executive Education: Women’s Leadership Program".
Hear from past participants on their experiences at the Yale Women’s Leadership Program, an executive education program that prepares women to make a successful transition to senior leadership.
Woman in classrom during Yale's Women's Leadership Program
Women in a conference room
Women networking in Women's Leadership Executive Education program.

The Women's Leadership Program provided a unique opportunity and a safe space to get honest perspectives on leadership and personal challenges while identifying opportunities and tapping into the power of positivity. Recognizing that we have so much in common despite our diverse backgrounds, was a really powerful way to build community and commit to elevating our work to grow impact and confidence in our ability to create change.

About This Program

  • Lead your firm to better enterprise-wide gender diversity: Better understand and explain the quantitative and qualitative benefits of diversity to gain support for change.
  • Use strategic vision and sharper decision-making skills: Lead growth, manage crises, drive growth through innovation, and make better decisions.
  • Improve your leadership skills: Learn different styles to adapt to an individual’s, team’s, or company’s situation.
  • Communicate with power: Develop executive presence with effective verbal and non-verbal skills learned with a Yale Drama School acting coach.
  • Build an authentic leadership style: Articulate your value proposition and create a career strategy to support your goal to work in senior management.

Built for women in mid to senior-level leadership positions and those who support them. Relevant to corporate, non-profit, and government leaders.


Below is a sample of what you can expect to experience in the Women’s Leadership Program.
Content and schedule are subject to change.

To prepare for classroom discussion
  • Case Study: “What Makes a Leader?”
  • Leadership Assessments: Decision Making for Leaders and Reflected Best Self
Executive Presence
  • Leadership Development for Women
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Influence and Persuasion
  • Verbal and Nonverbal Communications
Leadership Perspectives and Strategic Thinking Skills
  • The Business Case for Diversity: The Real ROI
  • Problem Framing: Reframing Challenges
  • Leading Growth through Innovation: Fail Early and Often
Leading High Performance Teams
  • Case Study: “What Makes a Leader?”
  • Autocrat to Advisor: Decision Making For Leaders
  • Crisis Management: Leading Teams Under High Stress
Developing a Leadership Style
  • Strategies for Implementing Personal Change
  • Leveraging Talent in Teams
  • Executive Coaching Sessions in Small Groups
Suggested for further development
  • Implement leadership and management strategy
  • Peer coaching
  • Executive coaching development goals implementation


Faculty and lecturers are subject to change.

Faculty Director

Emma Seppala
Emma Seppälä

Lecturer, Yale School of Management

Areas of Expertise: Positive Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, Well-being, Social Connection

Emma Seppälä, Ph.D., is a best-selling author, Yale lecturer, and international keynote speaker. She teaches executives at the Yale School of Management and is faculty director of the Yale School of Management’s Women’s Leadership Program. A psychologist and research scientist by training, her expertise is the science of happiness, emotional intelligence, and social connection. Her best-selling book The Happiness Track (HarperOne, 2016) has been translated into dozens of languages. Seppälä is also the Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

Seppälä’s research has been published in top academic journals and featured in major news outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, and CBSNews. She speaks and consults internationally for Fortune 500 companies like Google and Facebook and contributes to Harvard Business Review, the Washington Post, Psychology Today, and TIME, among others.

A repeat guest on Good Morning America, she also spoke at TedX Sacramento and TEDx Hayward. Her research on breathing for military veterans with trauma was highlighted in the documentary Free the Mind. She is also featured in documentaries like The Altruism Revolution, What You Do Matters, and Bullied.

Seppälä is the recipient of a number of research grants and service awards including the James W. Lyons Award from Stanford University for founding Stanford’s first academic class on the psychology of happiness and initiating other well-being programs for Stanford students.

She graduated from Yale (BA), Columbia (MA), and Stanford (PhD). Originally from Paris, France, she is a native speaker of French, English, and German and conversant in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

Learn more

Rodrigo Canales
Rodrigo Canales

Kelli Questrom Associate Professor of Management and Faculty Director, Social Impact Program at the Boston University Questrom School of Business

Areas of Expertise: Economic Development, Emerging Markets, Entrepreneurship, Globalization, Organizational Behavior, Social Enterprise

Rodrigo Canales does research at the intersection of organizational theory and institutional theory, with a special interest in the role of institutions for economic development. Rodrigo studies how individuals can purposefully change complex organizations or systems. Rodrigo's work explores how individuals’ backgrounds, professional identities, and organizational positions affect how they relate to existing structures and the strategies they pursue to change them. His work contributes to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that allow institutions to operate and change. Rodrigo has done work in entrepreneurial finance and microfinance, as well as in the institutional implications of the Mexican war on drugs. His current research is divided into three streams. The first focuses on the structural determinants of the quality of startup employment. The second explores the conditions under which development policies and practices integrate rigorous evidence. The third, with generous support from the Merida Initiative, explores how to build effective, resilient, and trusted police organizations in Mexico.

Rodrigo is faculty director of Questrom’s Social Impact Program. Before, he was Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management, where he taught the Innovator Perspective. He sits on the advisory board of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT; he spent the 2014-2015 academic year advising the Mexican government on the US-Mexico bilateral relationship; and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Nature Conservancy.

Zoe Chance
Zoë Chance

Senior Lecturer in Marketing

Areas of Expertise: Influence and Persuasion, Decision-Making, Behavior Change

Zoë Chance helps smart people become more influential. At the Yale School of Management, she teaches a popular elective called Mastering Influence and Persuasion, aka "Doing Uncomfortable Things That Make You a Better Person." Her research has been published in top academic journals like Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and Psychological Science, and covered in media outlets like the New York Times and the BBC. She has appeared on CNN and written for Harvard Business Review. Google uses her behavioral economics framework as the basis for their global food policy. Zoë speaks internationally for Fortune 500 firms and leading NGOs, and her TEDx talk, "How to Make a Behavior Addictive," has over half a million views. Prior to Yale, Zoë managed a $200 million segment of the Barbie brand at Mattel, acted on stage and film, and earned her bachelor's from Haverford College, MBA from USC, and doctorate from Harvard Business School. Her first book was published by Random House on February 1, 2022. It's called Influence Is Your Superpower: The Science of Winning Hearts, Sparking Change, and Making Good Things Happen.

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Grace Zandarski
Grace Zandarski

Assistant Professor Adjunct of Acting, Yale School of Drama

Grace Zandarski is a faculty member of the Acting Department at Yale School of Drama where she has taught Voice since 2002, specializing in Advanced Vocal Technique and Text for 2nd and 3rd Year Actors. She has coached numerous Yale Rep and YSD productions including Cymbeline (Evan Yionoulis, director), Caucasian Chalk Circle (Liz Diamond, dir.), Hamlet starring Paul Giamatti (James Bundy, dir.), The Winter’s Tale (Liz Diamond, dir.), Romeo and Juliet (Shana Cooper, dir.), and The Three Sisters (Les Waters, dir.), among many others.  

Her New York coaching credits include Mike Nichols’ Death of a Salesman and Betrayal on Broadway, The Dance and the Railroad (Signature, May Adrales, dir.), The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide… (The Public, Michael Greif dir.), Homebody/Kabul (BAM, Frank Galati, dir.), in addition to numerous individual coaching credits for actors appearing on and off Broadway, in film, and on television.  

Grace has taught master classes for the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and the Public Theater’s Shakespeare Lab. She was named Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework in 1998 in the first certification program. She was one of the core faculty members of The Actors Center, and The Studio NY, and also served on the faculty of A.R.T./MXAT (Harvard’s Advanced Actor Training Program with the Moscow Art Theatre). In addition to YSD, she also teaches at Fordham University. Her work outside of actor training includes individual business and professional coaching as well as workshops on Voice, Presence, and Improv for Executives. 

Learn more

Registration Information

Program Details

Due to high demand, the September session of the Women's Leadership Program has reached capacity.  Join our Stay Updated mailing list to be notified of future program dates and information.

Program dates: September 18-21, 2023
Location: On campus
Program fee: $7,400 - Includes lodging and most meals.
Contact: Joanne Legler, Senior Director of Learning Partnerships

How do I explain the benefits of the certificate program to my supervisor?
Download the Sample Justification Letter.

Yale SOM Executive Education offers a 15% reduction in program fee for:

  • those who work in the nonprofit sector. (Apply NONPROFIT code at time of registration.)
  • those who work in government. (Apply GOV code at time of registration.)
  • Yale University alumni. (Apply YALEGRAD code at time of registration.)
  • groups of 3-6 participants. Groups can be from an organization or be self-formed.
  • those who have previously participated in a Yale Executive Education program with Yale SOM, ExecOnline, or 2U/GetSmarter.

Discounts cannot be combined.

For more information, please contact Joanne Legler, Senior Director of Learning Partnerships.

Yale School of Management is proud to offer funding support for veterans interested in this program. For more information about financial aid options and eligibility, please visit the Executive Education Veterans Benefits page.

Refunds are allowed for live online and in-person programs if requested in writing to the Yale Executive Education Registrar.  The Yale Executive Education Cancellation Terms are as follows:

Request for change in registration/cancellation Refund provided
30 days, or more, prior to Program start date 100% Program Fee Refund Provided
15-29 days prior to Program start date 50% Program Fee Refund Provided
14 days, or less, prior to Program start date No Refund Provided

Yale reserves the right to cancel or reschedule programs if enrollment is deemed insufficient or health and safety would otherwise be jeopardized.  Yale School of Management is not responsible for any travel or incidental costs incurred by a registrant if a program becomes cancelled. If a program is canceled by Yale, a full refund of fees paid will be processed within 30 days. 

While it is our goal to deliver our programs as scheduled, we may postpone programs, deliver them online, or cancel them. If one of our programs has a scheduling change, we will notify those affected as soon as possible. 

Additional Information

Open House for Yale's Women's Leadership Program, featuring past participants Kell Bliss and Jing Lang

Watch video

Open House for Yale's Women's Leadership Program, featuring past participants Wanjeri Gakuru and Ruchi Sharma

Watch video


"Excellent program which facilitates self-discovery while providing practical tools for team growth and leadership. Regardless of position, company, or cultural background, this program enables all and encourages diverse leadership thinking." – Kate Merrill Balart, Renewable Natural Gas Supply Development Manager, Shell

"Yale's Women's Leadership Program is the ideal program to reflect on the role of women in society and in organizations, emphasizing social skills and organizational behavior to achieve outstanding results while attending to their own well-being and team's development. Without a doubt an invaluable experience."  Diana Jimenez, Solutions Design Senior Manager, DHL

“The Women's Leadership Program is one of the most inspiring programs I have ever attended. The instructors at the Yale School of Management are brilliant and engaging. Hands down one of the best executive education programs out there!” – Michelle Oldham, Managing Director, Professional Services, Aquent

"I will recommend the Yale Women's Leadership Program to all women who are interested in making a change in both their professional and personal goals. I thought the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Innovation/Creation, Communication, and Creating Courageous Community were all appropriate for the time we are in now (post-COVID). The instructors were engaging and provided tools to take back home and use. The energy from women from 11 different countries and backgrounds was an awesome experience that was both motivating and encouraging and left you feeling that you can make a change!!"  Carla L. Carroll, Associate Director, Program Management Office, Mount Sinai Health System

"The program has instilled the confidence of leadership in myself. I am excited to start applying the new ideas, skills, and fresh perspectives I have taken away from this program." Jennifer Cutrali, Vice President, Credit Administration Manager, Fairfield County Bank

"The Women’s Leadership Program at the Yale School of Management is a priceless experience. The sincere work by the faculty and planning team to create a physical and digital environment of inclusivity, the phenomenal and diverse participants, the coaching and the degree of personalization, made this a truly transformative experience." – Anonymous

"I believe the Women’s Leadership Program strives to create an environment where women can experiment with knowledge. The program is designed so that every woman’s voice can be heard. I felt that I was valued as a person rather than a title." – Latosha Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

"I encourage anyone who is contemplating attending this program to not hesitate and attend! It will be more than you expect." – D. Jones, Senior Associate Director of Finance & Administration, Yale University

"The Women's Leadership Program has allowed me to gain strength and confidence as a leader." –  Anna Carabetta, Fitness Instructor, STAR Studio