Cornell’s new Executive Women in Leadership certificate program

Women comprise 44 percent of the overall S&P 500 labor force, and yet they hold just 25 percent of executive and senior-level positions, occupy only 20 percent of board seats, and represent just 6 percent of CEOs. Power structures and gender dynamics often favor and reward the contributions of men over women, and even the most experienced and capable women can struggle to overcome these to attain leadership positions.

To empower accomplished professionals with the strategies and techniques needed to skillfully level the playing field while working to attain higher levels of leadership, Cornell has announced the launch of the new Executive Women in Leadership certificate program. Available online through eCornell, this certificate program equips learners with the tools needed to identify and reduce the gender bias and power dynamics present in their own organizations, and to bring greater parity to workplace culture.

“Research shows that when both women and men think of a leader, they think of a man,” says faculty co-author Dr. Deborah Streeter, the Bruce F. Failing, Sr., Professor of Personal Enterprise at Cornell’s SC Johnson College of Business. “For centuries, men have held the highest positions of power in most organizations, which has led people to associate leadership with stereotypically masculine traits, including aggression, decisiveness, strength, and willingness to engage in conflict. This certificate program allows learners to create a personalized action plan using recommended strategies to understand the gendered environments in which they are operating and then navigate the most effective path to leadership, status, and power in their organization.”

Women leaders in mid- to senior-level positions, women who hold or are interested in seeking board positions, women entrepreneurs and founders, and male leaders seeking to better understand gender dynamics in their organizations will find value in this program. Learners will refine their executive presence to improve interactions with people at higher power levels, improve their approach to negotiations, explore the strategies needed to develop a strong professional network, and assess the core competencies needed for board membership.

“In order to become a senior leader, an individual must first be perceived as one. This requires demonstrating myriad skills such as being an effective negotiator, a visionary, and an excellent networker, as well as personal characteristics such as gravitas, authenticity, and the right mix of authority and warmth,” says Dr. Susan S. Fleming, co-author, executive educator, and former Senior Lecturer at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and the Johnson Graduate School of Management. “Learners will explore ways to prepare for the challenges women face in developing and evidencing these skills and qualities.”
Once learners complete the Executive Women in Leadership certificate program, they are well-positioned to navigate institutional dynamics and achieve higher levels of leadership.

Courses include:

  • Power and Gender Dynamics
  • Developing Executive Presence for Women Leaders
  • Gender Bias and Negotiation Strategies
  • The Network Effect
  • Decoding the Gender Gap in Board Membership

Upon successful completion of all five courses, learners earn an Executive Women in Leadership Certificate from Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, 40 professional development hours, and 4 Continuing Education Units.