AUSB Women in Leadership

Closing the Gender Gap in Leadership: AUSB Launches Women in Leadership Certificate Program

This story previously appeared in Noozhawk.

Women across the globe are facing challenges to break into leadership roles. Antioch University is helping women overcome those challenges.

Antioch University Santa Barbara first designed a Women in Leadership Certificate Program in 2014 and in May 2019, the program will relaunch a streamlined version of that course. The revamped course takes a 10-month curriculum of intensive residency weekends, keynote presentations, trainings, and mentorship, and combines them into three months to better accommodate busy professionals. The goal is not only to make these early-mid career women — from fields across business, corporate, education, and non-profit sectors — aware of the professional challenges that they face, but to enhance their confidence and leadership skills in the workplace.

Dr. Jacqueline Reid, who teaches education and social justice in masters’ programs at Antioch, is the program’s director and says the new program is consistent with Antioch’s mission to empower students to advance social, economic, and environmental justice.

“Intersectionality is a critical issue to consider, and modern feminism is dealing with this as women try to understand the role that race, class, and gender identity play in having access and being visible in the public arena,” said Reid. “Women’s experiences in the workplace can be dramatically different, yet with these differences, there are also similarities we all experience as women. This program hopes to provide opportunities to understand the barriers women face, but also share practical, actionable strategies to overcome these barriers.”

With required reading like, Kick Some Glass: 10 Ways Women Succeed at Work on Their Own Terms, participants will explore how the gender gap in leadership influences their careers, teams, organizations, and communities.

At the heart of the program are three intensive residency weekends including keynote presentations, training, and mentorship by influential women leaders, following distinct themes: “Understanding Strengths and Leading with Purpose,” “Appreciating the Feminine Advantage in Leadership,” and “Next Steps in Leadership.”

Some of the featured speakers and instructors are a diverse group, including:

  • Gloria Soto, Santa Maria City Councilmember, who at age 29 is the youngest on the council, in the community where she grew up
  • Wendy Sims-Moten, Executive Director of First 5 Santa Barbara County and president of the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Trustees
  • Dana-Rene Randolph, Director and General Manager of Santa Barbara Focalplane, Lockheed Martin’s innovation hub for infrared and multispectral sensor technologies.
  • Lize Booysen, Antioch faculty member for the Graduate School of Leadership and Change
  • Lois Phillips, A founding Executive Director of Antioch University, Santa Barbara
  • Monique Limón, Assemblymember for the 37th District and Final Keynote Speaker

Among the discussions during the three weekends, will be lessons learned as these women broke through barriers to become leaders. An ongoing theme, through one-on-one and group coaching, will be around problem-solving, finding an authentic voice, and “negotiating your way to yes” with skills in public speaking and strategy.

Online large and small group interactive meetings will augment the presentations and participants will work with their cohort to understand their strengths and how they can lead with purpose.

At the end of the program, students will have an action plan for a specific leadership goal. Creating the action plan will include identifying a need in an organization for positive change, coming up with personal and professional goals for the action plan, identifying skills and strengths that the women already have to achieve their vision, and then making it happen. Those action plans might include negotiating more pay and higher positions, launching and leading new initiatives, growing their own businesses, or becoming mentors.

Women supporting women is a key theme throughout the program, says Reid: “How are we, as women leaders, navigating within the diverse world that we find ourselves in, and how can we support each other, but also lead each other, from our own strengths that we bring to the table?”

Applications are now being accepted until May 1 for the 2019 cohort, which will begin May 31. Scholarships are available.

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