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Women’s Executive Leadership: Business Strategies for Success

Program Overview

From glass ceilings and “leaning in” to office politics and work-life balance, female executive leaders face numerous challenges. As they ascend the corporate ladder and take on greater management responsibilities, women executives need a full understanding of how to navigate the dynamics involved.

Women’s Executive Leadership: Business Strategies for Success is an executive leadership program for women that features the latest Wharton faculty research in work motivation and engagement, career development, internal coaching, emotional intelligence, and women in leadership roles. Participants will gain invaluable insight into their personal leadership styles and career strengths, and master the building blocks of business acumen.

Read more about the Experience & Impact »

Program Highlights & Benefits

In Women’s Executive Leadership: Business Strategies for Success, you will:

  • Reimagine and advance your leadership skills
  • Enhance your professional influence
  • Improve your business acumen by gaining a more sophisticated understanding of marketing, talent management, and financial reporting
  • Better understand nuances of negotiations and emotional intelligence
  • Hone your critical thinking and decision-making abilities

Contact Us

Schedule a personalized consultation to discuss your professional goals:



October 8 - 12, 2018$10,750

Philadelphia, PA

March 11 - 15, 2019$10,950

Philadelphia, PA

Download the program schedule, including session details.

Tuition for Philadelphia programs includes lodging and meals. Prices are subject to change.

womens leadership rothbard

Academic Director Nancy Rothbard explains how Women’s Executive Leadership focuses on both leadership development and business acumen.

Still considering your options? View programs within Leadership or use our Program Finder.

Experience & Impact

With a dual focus on clarity and confidence, Women’s Executive Leadership delivers sophisticated business and leadership concepts that have immediate and practical application for today’s women business leaders, allowing them to improve their leadership capabilities and advance their career. Participants will come away with a better understanding of how to apply contemporary business theories currently driving their organization and results, while creating a personal plan for their own professional advancement.

Wharton faculty, led by Professor Nancy Rothbard, apply their field-based research and the latest strategic insights to help women leaders find clarity in their careers while mastering key business acumen skills for which Wharton is renowned: leadership, strategy, management, finance, innovation, and negotiation.

What sets this program for women executives apart is its strong focus on business acumen and leadership, combined with a practical approach to developing and honing these strategic skills.

Session topics include:

  • Critical Thinking and Decision Making
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Financial Acumen
  • Leaning In: How Not to Fall Over
  • Leadership and Teamwork
  • Negotiations
  • How Top Women Succeed

Each afternoon, participants will break into small groups to review the day’s learnings and discuss how they can be put into practice. Wharton faculty and executive coaches oversee the sessions, providing real-time coaching and feedback for effective outcomes, and translating the practicum for participants to take back to the office.

Within this collegial forum, participants will establish the beginnings of a lifelong network of women executives — who often face similar decision points and possibilities along their career paths — which can become a rich resource of influential peers.

Who Should Attend

Women’s Executive Leadership: Business Strategies for Success is best suited for executives and high-potential women who are transitioning into senior management roles within a large corporation or women entrepreneurs who are taking on a broader leadership role as their company grows.

The program is designed for women executives who:

  • Have 10 or more years of experience
  • Have titles ranging from manager or director to vice president, and also consultant and business owner
  • Work in a wide range of industries
  • Aspire to more senior levels of management
  • Seek to enhance their professional influence

Participants leave the program with an expanded peer network, plus specific tools and frameworks they can use to enhance their leadership impact within their organization.

Fluency in English, written and spoken, is required for participation in Wharton executive education programs unless otherwise indicated.

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.

Participant Profile

Participants by Industry

Women’s Executive Leadership participants by industry

Participants by Job Function

Women’s Executive Leadership participants by job function 

Participants by Region

Women’s Executive Leadership participants by region


Nancy Rothbard, PhD   See Faculty Bio

Academic Director

David Pottruck Professor, Professor of Management; Chairperson, Management Department, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Emotion and identity, work motivation and engagement, work-life and career development

Sigal Barsade, PhD   See Faculty Bio

Joseph Frank Bernstein Professor; Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Emotional intelligence, organizational culture, team dynamics

Matthew Bidwell, PhD   See Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Human resource management, knowledge workers, worker mobility

Brian Bushee, PhD   See Faculty Bio

Geoffrey T. Boisi Professor of Accounting, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Corporate disclosure, institutional investors, stock market anomalies

Mauro Guillén, PhD   See Faculty Bio

Dr. Felix Zandman Professor of International Management; Professor of Management; Director, The Lauder Institute

Research Interests: Globalization, international political economy, multinational management

Ethan Mollick, PhD   See Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Entrepreneurial strategy, entrepreneurship in innovative industries

Nicolaj Siggelkow, PhD   See Faculty Bio

David M. Knott Professor; Professor of Management; Co-Director, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Competitive strategy, firms as systems of interconnected choices


The way the program was structured really kept your attention. The flow of the content was really good; the speakers were for the most part amazing. You barely wanted to take a bathroom break for fear of missing something good! I was particularly impressed with Professor Sigal Barsade’s emotional intelligence sessions. I learned a lot about myself and the people I interact with. I have definitely applied that—probably every single day since I’ve been back from the program—in dealing with my co-workers, superiors, and board members.

I also really liked the financial session. I’ve worked with CPAs for a long time but my background is not financial, so it was a good way of seeing what my members do every day. Plus, my company recently went through financial reporting for year-end, and I felt like I was more prepared to understand the details.

The participants were such a great group of women. Although our industries and experience levels were all different, we faced similar challenges at work such as personality issues and silo problems. You felt like everybody was there to learn and listen and was committed to being there. An added bonus is that Wharton has such an amazing reputation, and people are familiar with the program, so it’s going to be good to have it on my resume.”

Womens Executive Leadership - Lisa Larson

Lisa Larson

Associate Vice President, HDR Inc.

Women's Executive Leadership - Rachel Hudson

Rachel Hudson

Vice President of Operations, Cadent Network

What attracted me to Wharton’s program was its focus on women. The way Wharton structured this program we were able to become very close in a short time. There was a lot of exchange of experiences in a structured way — my class had women from Africa, Brazil and the U.S., and we all have the same challenges. That was really comforting and exciting.

The emotional intelligence session was one of my favorite parts. You always think that you are a certain kind of leader but being able to detach and look at it from a different perspective was very helpful. I’ve applied insights I learned during the session every day not only professionally but also personally. Also, I’ve worked in financial markets, which is a male-dominated environment here in Latin America and in the U.S. I was happy to learn that the challenges I had during my career were the same as the other women in the program regardless their career focus or age.

This program has helped me tackle new opportunities as I’ve changed jobs, going from the Brazilian Stock Exchange to now being responsible for sales for Brazil’s first open air shopping center that uses recycled containers. I am looking to be a transformation agent in the company and building a legacy professionally.”

Karina Melendez

Head of Sales and Business Development, Vila Butantan, São Paulo, Brazil

Rachel Hudson - Testimonial

A New Perspective on Leadership

Dr. Tami Benton explains why she chose this program

Women in business are always compared to the highest-achieving men, never the mediocre ones. I feel like we wear a sort of invisible armor, especially in science where we are so outnumbered. You always have to be the best. I would never share my weaknesses with them. But the first day of Women’s Executive Leadership (WEXL) was like a high school reunion. We shared our challenges, which is something I would never do in another group. We were all very established women from many different industries and disciplines.  I’ve always thought of myself as an R&D person — I have been in science for 25 years. But after the first few sessions in the Wharton program, I realized I could grow more. WEXL showed me that I have strengths on the business side. I never thought of myself that way. It really raised the bar on how I view myself and my strengths. I feel very empowered.”

Junko Stevens

R&D Senior Director, ThermoFisher Scientific

A Diverse Network

Mary Jo Timlin-Hoag gained a new professional network

It is rare to have the opportunity to share with other business women. Women are not a minority, but we often behave like we are. We keep our defenses up and feel the need to prove ourselves all the time. In this program, we were not competing — we were collaborating. From the beginning, it was like being in a group of people that you knew already. The usual competition, the hyper alertness you feel in other programs, wasn’t there. We were able to share personal things, talking about issues we struggle with every day. It wasn’t the main topic of the program, but it was interesting that we could be more open about things that we would not discuss in another environment. I have organized many leadership programs for MBA students both in Chile and overseas, and have also attended many programs. This one was really outstanding. We had some of Wharton’s top faculty with us every day — their energy and commitment to the program was a real bonus.”

Paula Broitman

Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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