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Women shaping the world ... executive education for women.

When Lili St. Christopher was tapped by her employer to attend an executive education program, her options included a program for African-Americans and another focused solely on women. She leaned toward taking the program focused on African-Americans, but due to a timing issue, she chose the latter. After the experience, she says she's happy with her choice.

Ms. St. Christopher attended the Women's Leadership Institute at UCLA's Anderson School of Management, where she took classes on effective negotiating, mentoring and leadership. She also did self-assessments and discussed work-life balance with other women in the program. Ms. Christopher says attending the Women's Leadership Institute gave her the opportunity to consider her career through the lens of gender. "I found a lot of commonalities between myself and others as a wife and mother," said the manager at the Federal Reserve Bank of Memphis.

Female-focused executive education programs like UCLA's are gaining in popularity as more companies seek to develop their female talent and build their pipeline of women leaders. More business schools are offering such programs, including Harvard Business School, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. Women's colleges, including Simmons College in Boston and Smith College in Northampton, Mass., have often been at the forefront of executive education for women.

There is a need for programs like these. Though women have made strides in the workplace and are climbing the executive ranks, they still lag behind men in terms of pay and status. What's more, women don't receive opportunities to attend executive education programs as often as men do; in some cases, they may be overlooked by their companies or they simply don't know they can--and should--ask for such development. Only one in four seats in executive education programs is held by a woman, says Barbara Reinhold, director of career and executive development at Smith College.

"Women are different in how they lead, how they learn, how they view themselves and how others view them," says Alissa Brill, director of marketing for executive education programs at UCLA's Anderson School. She says the school's executive education programs give participants "tools and a framework in which to lead and to lead in ways that are consistent with who they are. They don't have to hide or change or conform to somebody else's idea of who they should be."

At some point in their careers, Ms. Reinhold says, women should consider attending a women-only executive education program. "We believe very strongly, and our research supports this, that when a woman has included in her repertoire of programs she attends at least one women's only program, she never views herself exactly the same way in her career again."

Here are some tips for choosing an executive education program for women:

Ask for it. Some companies send only their high-potential managers for executive education, but some companies offer a more decentralized process, and would consider sending employees who ask for it. Ms. Brill recommends sharing research that shows the benefits of executive education to bolster your case: decreased turnover, increased retention and higher promotion rates. Ms. Reinhold says women should request executive education, whether women-only or co-educational, as part of their development plans. "Women are just not demanding enough for themselves," she says. Executive education programs can cost more than $5,000 for a week-long program up to $30,000 for a longer-term custom program for senior executives. Educators say that some women have paid out of their own pockets and then negotiated partial reimbursement with their companies.

Decide what you want. If you're a member of more than one minority group, it may be hard to decide which program to attend. "Start with the program audience [you] most identify with," Ms. Brill advises. If you want a leadership program, consider taking a women-only program, says Lisa Toby, associate director of executive education at Simmons College, the only business school designed for women. In addition, she says, ask the number of program participants. Too many can detract from the experience. Simmons caps participation at 30.

Examine your options. Researchers recommend reading the descriptions of classes and sessions closely to see if a program was developed from solid female-focused research or is simply a rehashing of existing programs for a female audience. They also say that in general women-only programs address women's needs and learning styles that co-ed programs don't--or can't. "Executive education and MBA programs that work mostly with men by and large teach in a largely linear fashion," Ms. Reinhold says. She notes that women generally want to get the facts and then do the application, get the data and see the metrics and then talk about it in terms of its impact on the full organization.

Involve other women. Ms. Reinhold advises becoming involved with a women's affinity network at your employer for information about executive education and to gain support. Meanwhile, Ms. Brill encourages teams of women from one company to attend executive education programs "so when they come back to the company they have a support group within the company so they can actually make change."


UCLA's Leadership Suite of Programs

Attending a UCLA Leadership Institute is a career-enhancing opportunity unlike any other. In addition to delivering core leadership and career-enhancing strategies, the programs are intensely personal, delving into and integrating the unique issues faced by specific groups of managers. Examining such issues through a prism of experience of each audience are UCLA's:

* African American Leadership Institute, May 22-26, 2006

* Latino Leadership Institute, November 13-17, 2006

* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Leadership Institute, June 12-16, 2006

* Women's Leadership Institute, October 16-20, 2006

During five days of energetic classroom sessions, action learning, and personal work led by world-class, research-producing faculty, you will become a stronger leader and manager with the abilities to:

* Enhance your credibility and strengthen your position within your organization.

* Create and sustain effective developmental relationships and alliances that advance your career.

* Maximize your personal, professional, and organizational potential through better teamwork and team leadership.

* Think, lead, and manage in ways that celebrate your individual attributes and perspectives.

* Develop valuable, long-lasting personal and business connections with managers from leading organizations.

Importantly, you will develop and take away a plan to incorporate personal goals and future career plans to maximize your value to the organization and increase your career satisfaction.

Organizations supporting these important programs build better leaders who are more prepared for organizational advancement, increase employee retention rates, and improve succession planning efforts. The organizations also develop and ensure a more inclusive management team which can draw on its diverse experiences and perspectives.


At Metropolitan College of New York you are able to meet the increasingly complex demands of the workplace and take a leadership role in it, through our unique, accelerated graduate degree programs. Our curriculum enables you to apply what you learn in the classroom today to your workplace tomorrow. What transpires is an efficiency and effectiveness that motivates you to advance your career while earning your degree

Having a mentor or a role model can help. At MCNY all students learn alongside media magnates, corporate executives, faculty, poets, fellow students, employers and co-workers--all providing inspiration and motivation to keep MCNY students evolving into more competent and competitive professionals. One of these role models, Rita Sallis--New York City's Deputy Comptroller for Public Finance--was recently honored by MCNY for her commitment to education and diversity. Ms. Sallis finds value in learning success from life experiences, particularly motherhood. "In order to expect the best from others, we must give our very best and live up to it." MCNY's diverse student body of urban adults boasts an enrollment of over 74% women-women who balance education, work and home lives simultaneously. Two alumnae recently honored by the College, Maxine Shoulders-Brandon and Lori Jones-Dessalines, learned to analyze their communities' needs and create services to address those needs, assuming CEO roles of their own companies. Both attended MCNY full-time, while working full-time, earning their Master's degree in one year. As a result, these young women have become empowered change agents who have built richly rewarding careers.

At MCNY you will be challenged to grow from your own experience, thus finding new ways to succeed. Learn how to make education work for you so that you too can give your very best! Explore our unique graduate degree offerings by visiting our website or by calling 800-33-THINK.


Regent University is an institution of graduate and undergraduate level education attracting high caliber students from around the world. Established in 1978 as a leading center for Christian thought and action, Regent combines an unwavering commitment to academic excellence, an unquestioned focus on values and ethics, and an unflagging dedication to innovation in all endeavors. Regent graduates are CEOs and teachers, state senators and counselors, judges and missionaries, entrepreneurs and media practitioners, and many other successful professionals--all working impacting the culture, and in turn the world.

Regent offers more than 30 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees from a Judeo-Christian worldview in the fields of business, communication and the arts, divinity, education, government, law, leadership studies, and psychology and counseling. Regent University has two campuses in Virginia: the Virginia Beach Campus and the Washington, D.C., Campus. Some programs are also offered online in a distance format requiring little or no residency.

Enrollment: 5,000. Tuition for schools varies from $375-$835 per credit hour.

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Title Annotation:educational programs for African American women
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Advertisement
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2006
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