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.

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

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

Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

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

Gaining New Confidence: Maureen Clancy says this program gave her the confidence to seek a promotion.

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.

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

Plan your stay in Philadelphia

Plan Your Stay

This program is held at the Steinberg Conference Center located on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia. Meals and accommodations are included in the program fees. Learn more about planning your stay at Wharton’s Philadelphia campus.

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.


Nancy Rothbard

Nancy Rothbard, PhDSee 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

Sigal Barsade, PhDSee Faculty Bio

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

Research Interests: Organizational culture, emotional intelligence, unconscious bias, organizational change, teamwork and leadership

Matthew Bidwell

Matthew Bidwell, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School

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

Brian Bushee

Brian Bushee, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Geoffrey T. Boisi Professor of Accounting, The Wharton School

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

Karen Dinunzio

Karen DiNunzio, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Principal, Karen DiNunzio PhD LLC

Mauro Guillen

Mauro Guillén, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Dr. Felix Zandman Professor of International Management; Professor of Management; The Wharton School

Research Interests: Globalization, international political economy, multinational management


Maureen ClancySenior Director, Endo Pharmaceuticals

Cindy ShawDirector of the Haverford Fund, The Haverford School

Lisa LarsonAssociate Vice President, HDR Inc.

Nicole D’SouzaDirector of Corporate Development, OBG

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.”

Megan KillianVice President of Member Relations, Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Wharton’s Women’s Executive Leadership program was a gift to myself; a life-changing experience and totally worth it. The experience is still very near and dear to me.

The program was very structured and managed well. A big takeaway for me was the emotional intelligence session, which was beautifully crafted and we role-played to understand others’ emotions. I also liked the session on financial acumen. I’m a math person, so I’m technically savvy, but the instructor really made finance look simple to everyone. Also, the negotiation tools I learned are something I use daily at work still today!

I met so many great people in the program, from South Africa and Saudi Arabia and from all around the world, working in different areas such as teaching, banking, and startups. They are building communities of women leaders within their organizations, which is so powerful when you think about it.

The program is already helping me in my career, not just that I have Wharton on my LinkedIn profile, but with my career goals. I’m currently director of engineering within Comcast aspiring to become a senior leader in this space. How do I get there? I learned about being an adaptive leader and am slowly but surely crafting my role into where I want it to be eventually as I turn into a lifelong student!

I would definitely recommend the Women’s Executive Leadership program and have already recommended it to several women at Comcast who don’t know about the course. I would consider taking another Wharton course in the future, maybe the Advanced Management Program."

Kinnera AngadiDirector, Software Engineering, Comcast

Rachel HudsonVice 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 MelendezHead of Sales and Business Development, Vila Butantan, São Paulo, Brazil

Dr. Tami Benton

A New Perspective on Leadership

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 StevensR&D Senior Director, ThermoFisher Scientific

Mary Jo Timlin-Hoag

A Diverse 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 BroitmanProfessor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Date, Location, & Fees

October 21 – 25, 2019Philadelphia, PA$10,950

March 30 – April 3, 2020Philadelphia, PA$11,280

Download the program schedule, including session details.

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Hotel Information

Fees for this program include accommodations and meals. Prices are subject to change.

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