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Women’s Leadership Program: Leading With Power and Influence

Discover why power is a skill set, then learn how to build yours and become a positively energizing leader.

While slow but steady gains have been made in terms of boardroom representation,* many women leaders don’t identify with the commonplace perception of ‘power’, typically associated with authority and force.

However, as the workplace changes, and long-standing productivity metrics prove increasingly unsustainable, a new approach is needed — one founded on purpose, empathy, communication, and well-being.

This online program equips you to harness your unique power as a woman leader to land an impact and drive positive change. Over six weeks, you’ll discover how power is a skill set that can be developed, and must encompass both strong attributes, such as charisma and persuasiveness, as well as connected traits, including empathy and communication. 

Guided by Program Lead Convener Emma Seppälä and her esteemed Yale SOM colleagues, you’ll interrogate existing power structures in organizations, and learn how focusing on positive relational energy for leadership can help you transform your workplace for growth.  

Finally, you’ll examine how everyday junctures can be leveraged for power, helping you become a more effective changemaker and driver of organizational success.

* McKinsey (Sep, 2021).

Emma Seppala, Program Convener of Yale's online Women's Leadership Program
Woman working remotely on her laptop.

This course taught me so many tangible takeaways and also reaffirmed some of the ways I was already leading, which was based on pure gut instinct. I loved meeting other women operating at high levels and sorting through the same issues!

Laura Lucchetti

About the Program

What to Expect

  • Gain an expanded view of power as a skill set that can be learned, and encompasses strong and empathetic attributes
  • Enhance your understanding of organizational power dynamics and structures and build the tools to thrive in them or drive change from within
  • Uncover practical strategies for utilizing everyday moments, a growth approach, and your own internal power to become a positively energizing changemaker
  • Develop a clearer perspective of women’s unique qualities as leaders, as you engage with a global network of like-minded professionals
  • Senior women leaders, including those in the C-suite, directors, and business founders looking to leverage sources of power and drive organizational success
  • General, operations, and regional managers who want to build their leadership capabilities in order to advance into more senior positions
  • Aspiring leaders seeking to take the next step in their careers or simply promote positive change in their organizational context
  • Experienced professionals such as consultants, analysts, project managers, and specialists wanting to learn more about power dynamics and how best to navigate them
  • Orientation module
  • Module 1: Reframing power
  • Module 2: Leading with positive energy
  • Module 3: Harnessing your power
  • Module 4: Navigating structures of power
  • Module 5: Growth and power
  • Module 6: The power of the changemaker

I was pleasantly surprised by the sense of community that developed among the students. Despite being online, we were able to connect through discussion forums, and I felt like I was part of a group of people all working towards a common goal.

Marelize de Jongh


Program Lead Convener

Emma Seppala
Emma Seppälä


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.

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Program Co-Conveners

Heidi Brooks
Heidi Brooks

Senior Lecturer in Organizational Behavior

Areas of Expertise: Diversity and Inclusion, Leadership, Organizational Behavior, Workplace Issues

Heidi Brooks teaches and advises on the subject of everyday leadership: the everyday micro-moments of impact that shape our lived experiences. Creating more courageous communities—especially within organizations—is a particular passion of hers. Dr. Brooks specializes in large-scale culture change projects focused on individual and collective leadership effectiveness in organizations. Interpersonal Dynamics, the MBA elective she has taught for 15 years, is one of the courses most in demand at the Yale School of Management (SOM). Recently, Dr. Brooks pioneered the Everyday Leadership course at Yale SOM, where she first taught the Principles of Everyday Leadership. She has also taught Emotional Intelligence, Power & Politics, Managing Teams and Groups, and Coaching Skills for Managers. Dr. Brooks received her doctorate in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree from Brown University. A life-long experiential learner, you can find her as a student in classrooms as far-ranging as improvisational theater and immersion language lessons.

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Rodrigo Canales
Rodrigo Canales

Kelli Questrom Associate Professor of Management and Faculty Director, Social Impact Program at the Boston University Questrom School of Business; former Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management

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.

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Michael Kraus
Michael Kraus

Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior

Areas of Expertise: Behavioral Science, Decision-making, Diversity and Inclusion, Ethics, Leadership, Organizational Behavior

Michael Kraus is a social psychologist who specializes in the study of inequality. His current work explores the behaviors and emotional states that maintain and perpetuate economic and social inequality in society. He also studies the emotional processes that allow individuals and teams to work together more effectively. Michael’s research has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, and the Washington Post. He currently teaches Power & Politics and Global Virtual Teams in the Yale SOM core curriculum. Michael is also the director of Yale’s summer internship in organizational behavior and the Contending with Societal Inequality Lab.

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Registration Information

Program Details

Registration close: August 20, 2024
Program starts with orientation: August 28, 2024

There are no prerequisites for this program. Register to get started. Our online program partner, GetSmarter, will welcome you and guide you through the steps to secure your place in the program.

A program fee reduction of 15% is available for those working in the nonprofit or government sectors; Yale University alumni; small groups of 3-6; and those who have previously participated in a Yale Executive Education program with Yale SOM or 2U/GetSmarter.*

*Discounts cannot be combined

This program does not qualify for veteran financial aid or veterans benefits at this time.

Program Collaborator

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This program is presented entirely online in collaboration with leaders in digital education, GetSmarter, a 2U, Inc. brand. Technology meets academic rigor in GetSmarter’s people-mediated model which enables lifelong learners across the globe to obtain industry-relevant skills that are certified by the world’s most reputable academic institutions. This interactive, supportive teaching model is designed for busy professionals and results in unprecedented certification rates for online courses.

View the online Women’s Leadership Program: Leading with Power and Influence on the GetSmarter website. 

Modules are released on a weekly basis, and can be completed in your own time and at your own pace.