Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In Women on Boards: Building Exceptional Leaders, you will:

  • Refine and enhance your professional brand to strengthen your board candidacy
  • Receive practical guidance for building your board CV and professional biography, as well as expertly using social media and LinkedIn
  • Learn to network effectively with board decision makers
  • Determine which board opportunities are the best for you, and negotiate for them
  • Grasp the fundamental obligations and duties of board members
  • Get invaluable advice from experienced guest speakers about board service

Experience and Impact

Currently, only about 22 percent of board seats at publicly traded U.S. companies are held by women. But many firms are working to increase board diversity, and legislation is pending that could yield up to 6,000 new board seats for women. Similar efforts are ongoing in Europe and Asia.

Given this promising trend, executive women and their allies who have been thinking about board service should act now to prepare themselves for these opportunities. Both practical and inspiring, Women on Boards will boost your chances of rising to the top of the list when firms are looking to fill a seat.

You will explore how to build your personal brand. You will learn to strategically use social media, choose the right speaking engagements, construct a powerful network, and more. Moreover, get in-depth guidance for putting together your board bio, CV, and LinkedIn profile. With these skills in your arsenal, you can become a recognized expert in your field so boards will seek you out.

Cultivating relationships with existing board members will be discussed. But you will also learn how to market yourself to other key players such as nomination committees, search firms, consulting firms, and external counsel. These roles are becoming increasingly important as boards face pressure to put together broader, more diverse pools of candidates.

You will determine which board opportunities are the best fit for you, and the right questions to ask when considering a seat. Plus, investigate paid versus volunteer positions, and the kinds of compensation packages you should advocate for.

This program will also give you a strong foundation for serving in your first director role. Explore how to navigate the politics and culture of the boardroom, and discover how to make your voice heard. Find out how to look for red flags in accounting, compensation, and succession, and learn other board fundamentals. You will discuss social movements such as MeToo and Black Lives Matter, emerging threats such as disruptive technology, and ways to monitor these trends on behalf of all stakeholders.

In addition, Women on Boards will provide you with an invaluable opportunity to meet and network with other high-level executive women and their allies. With this program, expect to have your confidence increased and to acquire the tools you need to win that first public company board seat.

Session topics include:

  • Executive Compensation
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Marketing Yourself: Building Your CV
  • Networking
  • Leading through Uncertainty
  • Environmental Governance
  • Balancing Stakeholders: Making Complex Decisions

Convince Your Supervisor

Here’s a justification letter you can edit and send to your supervisor to help you make the case for attending this Wharton program.

Due to our application review period, applications submitted after 12:00 p.m. ET on Friday for programs beginning the following Monday may not be processed in time to grant admission. Applicants will be contacted by a member of our Client Relations Team to discuss options for future programs and dates.

Past Guest Speakers

Mindy Ginsberg

Mandy Ginsberg

Director at thredUP

For the last two decades, Mandy Ginsberg has been a technology leader in the consumer internet space. She was the chief executive officer of Match Group (NASDAQ: MTCH), where she was responsible for the growth of a portfolio of industry-leading dating brands like Tinder, Match, Hinge, OkCupid, Meetic, and PlentyOfFish. She was with the company in various roles over 14 years. During her tenure as CEO, she quadrupled the stock price and drove unprecedented growth both top line and bottom line as Match Group became one of the fastest-growing public tech companies.

Throughout her time at Match, she has consistently driven growth and breakthrough marketing campaigns, spearheaded the use of matching algorithms, and established online dating as part of everyday culture. Prior to becoming CEO of the company, she served as CEO of Match Group Americas, overseeing Match, OkCupid, PlentyofFish, OurTime, and the Affinity brands, as well as the company’s Latin American operations.

In 2014, Ginsberg was named CEO of The Princeton Review (acquired by IAC/Match Group), where she added online services to the company’s offerings, including tutoring and college counseling for a new generation of students. Prior to that she served as general manager for North America. She began her career at Match Group as vice president and general manager for in 2006.

Early in her career, Ginsberg developed her marketing and customer service acumen as vice president of consumer technology for Edelman Public Relations Worldwide and subsequently as vice president of Worldwide Marketing at i2 Technologies. Ginsberg holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She resides in Florence, Italy, with her husband and younger daughter. Her older daughter is living in Dallas, Texas; she works in the medical field and will start medical school in the summer of 2022.

Ginsberg is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Uber Technologies (NYSE: UBER) and thredUP (NASDAQ: TDUP).

Alka Gupta

Alka Gupta

Board Director, Former Tech Entrepreneur, President, and Fortune 500 Exec

Alka Gupta is a public company board director, venture investor, former tech entrepreneur, and Fortune 500 exec with deep experience in digital transformation, fintech, marketplaces, regtech, and identity. She has been at the beginning of some of the most significant disruptions and platforms — including blockchain, digital payments, ecommerce, mobile, digital advertising, and search — at both early stage and public companies globally. Gupta has operated and built revenue in B2B and B2C markets across more than 10 countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America, building an understanding of internationalization and localization success strategies and tactics.

She is a venture partner at 8vdX, a venture fund focused on the Y Combinator incubator, and was previously with Fin Capital, a $1.2B fintech B2B-focused global fund. Gupta is also a limited partner and on the Investment Committee at Penn’s own Chestnut Ventures. Before venture, she was co-founder and president of GlobaliD, a venture-backed, portable, and interoperable identity platform leveraging blockchain. She built the company from inception and led its growth, building the team; releasing the first product; establishing an eastern European product-development center; and signing digital wallet customers working with the likes of Ripple, Uphold, and TransferGo. Prior to this, she was with eBay/PayPal (Nasdaq: EBAY) as head of strategy for eBay Marketplaces. She led the development of strategy — including moves in fulfillment, local delivery, expanded payment systems, large retail omni-channel with GSI Commerce and Magento, small business onboarding, and cross-border transactions — contributing to revenue growth of $9B in 2010 to $16B in 2013 and user growth rates of more than 40 percent. She developed market strategies for select Asian markets and Latin America, including partnership and ecosystem strategies in those countries.

Gupta's initial entrepreneurial journey started at Norwest Ventures-funded, Retrevo (Acq. BN), an e-commerce business focused on the consumer-electronics buying experience. As VP of business development, she brought in the first revenue and strategic partnerships, working with the likes of PCWorld and Yahoo Shopping, during which time users increased by more than 400 percent. Retrevo was recognized by Time magazine as the Best Shopping Website at the time and was acquired by Barnes & Noble. Her formative years were at Lycos (Nasdaq: LCOS, Acq.: Telefonica,) one of the first and fastest search engines to IPO. Gupta was general manager of a global suite of products, during which time the company grew revenue from $50M to $800M over four years and grew users by more than 300 percent. Eventually, as VP of corporate development and strategy, she led strategy and acquisitions, and she guided Lycos through its divestments and $12.5B acquisition by Telefonica.

Gupta is driven by a commitment to democratization of access and empowering populations via technology. She earned an MBA from the Wharton School and a BS (cum laude) from Case Western Reserve University. She is board-directorship certified by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD.) Gupta serves on the board of directors for National Bank Holdings Corporation (Nyse: NBHC, Risk & Audit, Comp, and Tech Committees), Dwolla Payments (Foundry and Union Square Ventures), and Digital Frontiers (chairperson), and previously served on the board of MoneyGram (Nasdaq: MGI, Compliance and Ethics Committee, Acq: MDP). She speaks frequently on digital transformation, fintech, blockchain, globalization, and her journey scaling technologies. Gupta serves as an advisor at University of California, Berkeley's SkyDeck; advisory board member at Case Western Reserve University’s xLab; and expert in resident at the Wharton School's Venture Lab at the University of Pennsylvania.

Shaz Kahng

Shaz Kahng

Board Director, CEO, and Author

Shaz Kahng is a visionary leader and inventive thinker who is passionate about consumer-focused businesses. A serial board director and CEO, Kahng is adept at turning around and scaling businesses in retail, apparel, footwear, consumer goods, and consumer tech and at generating business and brand value.

Kahng brings a wealth of experience running busineses and companies such as Gymboree, Lucy Activewear, and Nike and working with brands like Staples, Carter’s, Sephora, Tiffany, Levi Strauss, Macy's, Quaker Oats, Kraft, and P&G. As the first female to hold a global business P&L at Nike, Kahng led a turnaround of the Nike Cycling business, making it profitable for the first time and in record time. As CEO of Lucy Activewear, Kahng and her team reinvented the company and achieved profitability in 13 months, nearly two years ahead of corporate expectations. She has served on the boards of children’s apparel retailer Gymboree and OMSignal, a biometric apparel company.

She currently serves on the public corporate board for GoPro. Kahng is also an advisor to PE- and VC-backed businesses and is on the Investor Advisory Council of AVG Funds, a venture capital firm. Kahng is also the author of two novels, The Closer and Smashers Synched, about the first female CEO of a sports company and the secret society of professional women (Wharton graduates) called the Ceiling Smashers who help her succeed. An experienced public speaker, she recently gave a Talks At Google speech entitled "The Superpowers of Ceiling Smashers."

Driven by a lifelong desire to learn, Kahng has been a scientist, a consulting partner, an e-commerce expert, and a brand and marketing strategist. She is fueled by her desire to make a positive impact, lead with honor, work collaboratively, and have some fun. One of the most rewarding aspects of her career has been coaching and mentoring others.

Kahng is married and the mother of twin girls. She is also a SCUBA diver and a golfer who dreams of having a single digit handicap, and she practices Tae Kwon Do.

Pauline Brown

Pauline Brown

Former Chairman of North America for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton

For nearly 30 years, Pauline Brown has acquired, built, and led the world’s most influential global luxury brands. Most recently, she served as the chairman of North America for the world’s leading luxury goods company, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, where she provided regional leadership for about 70 brands in five sectors including fashion and leather goods, watches and jewelry, perfume and cosmetics, wine and spirits, and selective retailing. While at LVMH, Brown also served on the board of L Capital, a private equity fund backed by LVMH, as well as on the boards of several LVMH subsidiaries including Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, and Fresh Cosmetics. In 2016, Brown joined the faculty of the Harvard Business School, where she introduced a new interdisciplinary course for graduate students named “The Business of Aesthetics.” In 2018, she decided to write a book based on the learnings and insights from her HBS course. The book, entitled Aesthetic Intelligence: How to Boost It and Use It in Business and Beyond, will be released by HarperCollins this November.

Pauline Brown boasts unparalleled expertise when it comes to understanding why long-term financial value in today’s world rests on an ability to deliver aesthetic value. Touching on the strategies that have built consumer demand and loyalty for booming brands in the age of Amazon, she explains how such companies are rewarded not only for eliciting a high degree of pleasure in those who buy their goods and services, but also for spurring desirability among others who aspire to them. Brown focuses on helping business leaders discern, appraise, and enhance their companies by tapping into the power of their own senses — a critical and oftentimes under-developed skill set for corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and investors alike — as well as helping them analyze the issues and challenges of running an aesthetic business from a strategic, financial, organizational, and cultural vantage.

In addition to her operational experience in the luxury goods sector, Pauline Brown also boasts a successful track record as an investor in luxury brands. Before joining LVMH, she was a managing director at private equity firm The Carlyle Group, where she helped build the firm’s global consumer and retail practice, co-led deals, and served on the boards of portfolio companies including the European sportswear brand Moncler and the American beauty brand Philosophy. Earlier in her career, Brown held senior executive positions in the global beauty industry including head of corporate strategy and new business development at The Estée Lauder Companies. There, she led all mergers, acquisitions, and licensing activities and helped to expand Estée Lauder’s portfolio from eight to 25 distinct beauty brands. She reported to the company’s CEO and was a member of its executive committee. Brown began her career as a management consultant at Bain & Company.

Since 2008, Brown has been a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, a program that seeks to develop the next generation of community-spirited leaders. In 2013, she joined the board of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program. She also currently sits on the boards of the Parsons School of Design and is a former board member of the National Retail Federation, Fashion Group International, and Cosmetic Executive Women.

Brown received an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from Dartmouth College. She is a member of Wharton’s Executive Alumni Board and a former member of Dartmouth’s Alumni Council.

Maria del Carmen Garcia Nielsen

Maria Garcia Nielsen

Corporate Director and Former Global Fortune 200 Division CEO

Maria Garcia Nielsen is an independent director for private European multinationals, with corporate boardroom experience in both family-owned and ESOP companies. She is a Director for the Lontana Group, Fegemu SA, and Grupo Sanz and serves on the Advisory Board of 3Dental. Past advisory board positions include the International College of Spain and Hewlett Packard’s EMEA Resellers, where she advised the company on commercial policies for their distribution channels in EMEA. She teaches “Strategy for Boards” to new corporate directors at Spain’s Institute for Directors and Administrators.

Maria leverages technology to propel profitability and has a history of leading digital transformations that drive revenue. As CEO of Office Depot in Spain and Portugal, she led a 3-year turnaround for the iconic brand and helped the company break even after yearly losses.

Maria also has more than 13 years of experience executing Mergers and Acquisitions of information technology companies in Southern Europe and Latin American. She was a founding member of BtoB Factory Ventures, a €150M Banco Santander-funded firm investing in ecommerce companies, and served as the Director of the fund’s Investment Committee, as well as in C-suite and Director positions for several of its portfolio companies.

Before joining BtoB Factory Ventures, Maria led two Spanish companies to successful exits. She was founder and CEO of Libroweb, a first-of-kind online bookstore that was acquired after three years by She also served as General Manager of Lid Logistica, a disruptive, 24-hour book delivery startup she led from ideation through a successful sale.

Maria is based in Spain and first worked in Europe as a strategy consultant for McKinsey. She was selected for the II edition of PwC’s “Women to Watch” Spain and has sat on the Alumni Board since 2018. Maria earned her MBA from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and founded Wharton Alumni for Boards. She earned her BS in Engineering from Cornell University, where she currently sits on the President’s Council of Cornell Women.

Originally from Peru, Maria immigrated to the U.S. at 10 and became a citizen at 18. She received full scholarships for her education and now works to create opportunities in education and business for other women of color. She is a member of The Latino Corporate Director Association and Co-President of Spain’s Ellevate Network. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Novia Salcedo, a foundation dedicated to increasing employment opportunities for young adults.

Kathleen Crandall

Kathleen Crandall

Expert in personal branding, executive coach and public speaker

Kathleen Crandall is a nationally known expert and thought leader in personal branding, a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and coach to executives and leaders. The founder of Know My Impact, she created the IMPACT Personal Branding Experience™, a powerful process and coaching curriculum that has helped thousands achieve personal and professional success through the power of their personal impact and brand.

Kathleen spent more than 20 years as an executive in public relations, advertising, and corporate brand development. She is an adjunct facilitator with Twin Cities-based non-profits HIRED and Goodwill Easter Seals and a proud graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Zev Eigen

Zev Eigen

Founder; Chief Science Officer | Syndio Solutions

Zev Eigen is Syndio’s founder and Chief Data Scientist. Dr. Eigen has been at the forefront of cutting edge HR technology for more than a decade. He combines his uniquely overlapping areas of expertise in labor economics and employment law with deep experience in data science, predictive modeling and economic sociological research. He is responsible for all aspects of research & development to ensure that Syndio’s products provide unbiased and accurate results to inform the very best organizational decisions.

Zev writes and speaks about subjects related to pay equity methodology, HR tech, data science and legal compliance in the workplace. He has authored more than a dozen scholarly articles and books and is an internationally recognized expert in these fields appearing in the media frequently (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, NPR, Bloomberg News, Reuters, Chicago Tribune, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc.).

He holds a PhD from MIT, a JD from Cornell Law School, and a BS from Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor Relations (with honors). We can try to summarize his experience by name dropping just a few of the organizations for whom he has worked: Northwestern, Yale, NYU Law, 20th Century Fox.

Who Should Attend

This program is designed for distinguished senior-level female executives and their allies who aspire to serve on a corporate board or have recently been nominated. Specifically, distinguished women executives and their allies who are:

  • C-suite level executives (CEO, CFO, CHRO, CSO) who are board-facing
  • Partners at accounting, consulting, and law firms
  • Recently retired or preparing for retirement and seeking opportunities to serve on a board
  • Successful entrepreneurs with a business track record or leaders of long-standing family firms or large nonprofits who aspire to serve on a corporate board

Additionally, this program will benefit executives who have non-traditional or underrepresented professional backgrounds that are currently sought out for board service, such as experience with cybersecurity, climate change, human resources, nonprofit work, community organizing, politics, corporate social responsibility, or socially responsible investing.

While the program is designed for women executives (and will be most beneficial to those who identify as such), the program is open to all executives who otherwise fulfill the admissions criteria. Please find the University of Pennsylvania’s Nondiscrimination Statement here.

Fluency in English, written and spoken, is required for participation in Wharton Executive Education programs.

Group Enrollment

To further leverage the value and impact of this program, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer group-enrollment benefits to companies sending four or more participants.


Mary-Hunter McDonnell

Mary-Hunter McDonnell, JD, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

Bantwal Family Goldman Sachs Presidential Associate Professor; Associate Professor of Management

Research Interests: Organizational theory (political sociology, institutional theory); nonmarket strategy; corporate governance; corporate misconduct and punishment

Matthew Bidwell

Matthew Bidwell, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Xingmei Zhang and Yongge Dai Professor; Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Careers, contingent work, firm boundaries, human resource management, knowledge workers

Emile Feldman

Emilie Feldman, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Michael L. Tarnopol Professor; Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Corporate governance, corporate strategy, diversification, divestitures, firm scope, spinoffs, mergers and acquisitions

Sarah Light

Sarah Light, JDSee Faculty Bio

Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics; Faculty Co-Director, Wharton Climate Center

Erika James

Erika James, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Dean; Reliance Professor of Management and Private Enterprise; Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Lori Rosenkopf

Lori Rosenkopf, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Simon and Midge Palley Professor; Professor of Management; Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship, The Wharton School

Michael Useem

Michael Useem, PhDSee Faculty Bio

William and Jacalyn Egan Professor Emeritus of Management; Faculty Director, Center for Leadership and McNulty Leadership Program, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests: Catastrophic and enterprise risk management, corporate change and restructuring, leadership, decision making, governance


I’m the founder and CEO of a consulting service for biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies. I also run an organic and sustainable microgreens company. I was inspired to enroll in Women on Boards after taking Wharton’s Executive Development Program. In the next five to ten years, we’re going to see a greater demand for senior-level female executives on corporate boards, and I wanted to prepare myself for the opportunity.

The program was wonderful. Professor McDonnell was great about listening to our feedback as we moved through the course. She pivoted and level-set to ensure that the content matched what the attendees really needed. It was awesome to have the opportunity to have input and share where we were in our journeys. I also liked all the other faculty and guest speakers.

Until this program, I never truly understood the power of networking. Now that I’ve embraced active networking, it’s brought a lot more traffic to my LinkedIn page — from about eight hits a week to now upwards of 32 consistently.

I also used guidance from the program to update my LinkedIn profile, which has made a tremendous impact on the number of people I’ve been introduced to. For example, one of my earliest mentors happened to see my profile and put me in touch with the “50/50 Women on Boards” group in San Francisco.

I do a good bit of oversight governance in my job, and it was great to learn about the challenges and knowledge gaps that some boards experience. I also particularly enjoyed learning about the ESG aspects of board governance because it ties in closely with my sustainable agriculture business.

I would definitely recommend the program — I’ve already recommended it to several people, including my sister. I’ve found the addition of Wharton education to my life to be extremely beneficial. I’m really glad I took this step to invest in my future.”

Sarah Mott Founder & CEO, Skilpad Consulting Services / Pernicious KaNibs

Date, Location, & Fees

If you are unable to access the application form, please email Client Relations at

December 3 – 11, 2024Live Online$8,00011:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST
Five days across two weeks
Week 1: Tuesday to Thursday
Week 2: Tuesday and Wednesday

July 15 – 18, 2025Philadelphia, PA$9,850

Download the program schedule, including session details and format.

Download ScheduleApply Now

Prices are subject to change.

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