Women's Leadership Institute

About the Women's Leadership Institute

The Women’s Leadership Institute, founded in 1997, is designed for women staff and faculty who aspire to develop and hone outstanding leadership skills. The institute features a research-based curriculum and pedagogy focused on developing inclusive, participatory, strategic, articulate, reflective leaders – in sum, to “accelerate women leaders who make a difference in the world.” After the kick-off retreat, 25 participants meet monthly for ten sessions to learn from award-winning speakers/researchers/leaders -- and each other. In the final session, participants present the personal leadership projects they have designed and engaged in throughout the year. Feedback about WLI has been wildly enthusiastic. Many participants tell us they use the information often, and that they continue to gain from the connections they made long after the institute is over.

What Participants Have To Say

“Thanks so much! I kept all of my materials and have discovered myself referring to them often.”

“I have referenced WLI materials and workshop content when talking with friends, family, and coworkers. I hope to continue these conversations throughout the years to come.”“I have already begun leading a department committee and the meetings we have. I am also heading a major change initiative. Thank you!”

“THANK YOU! WLI was wonderful and I really appreciated this opportunity. The facilitators were dedicated, knowledgeable, fun, and wise!”

“I plan to review the strategies we discussed to think about how I can continue to develop more holistically as a leader. For example, I have already employed some of the strategies around public speaking and salary negotiation, as well as self-care, to continue my own growth."

“I really learned so much -- it was powerful.”


A biennial program (held every other year), the next WLI cohort will take place during the 2020-2021 academic year. Applications for that cohort will be available during spring semester 2020. Please continue to visit the Women's Center website for updates or direct questions to 612-625-9837 or women@umn.edu.


The Women's Leadership Institute is sponsored by the Women's Center and the Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education.