Certificate in Women’s Leadership


The Certificate in Women’s Leadership is a 3-month, non-degree course designed for female and male professionals who wish to develop skills and practices for advancing women in the workplace.  Through online learning and on-campus immersions, the course will expose students to research and studies regarding women in the workplace, as well as current readings and materials on the subject. Additionally, the course will offer practical skills for overcoming common barriers facing women in the workplace. This certificate program will highlight the following areas of awareness and development:

  • Leadership & Identity: How do you identify as a leader, and what qualities do you aspire to? In this introductory section, we will unpack our individual stories to understand how we developed certain beliefs and mindsets around the role of women at work and at home.  We will also discuss how these stories impact our ability to shift from contributing roles to leadership positions.
  • Emotional Intelligence: According to Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence (EQ) is the “yardstick of leadership.” By examining the primary dimensions of EQ, we will explore what it looks like in practice, how to develop it, and what EQ dimensions women in particular should be aware of.
  • Gender and Communication: We will explore the different ways that women and men communicate in the workplace, how these habits inform our perceptions of leadership ability, and how to break down communication barriers that can prevent women from advancing.
  • Overcoming the Confidence Gap: Confidence is a key element to leadership success, yet many women express feelings of inadequacy, despite knowledge and competence. We will discuss how the ‘confidence gap’ emerges amongst women, provide tips for supervisors to build the confidence of others, and practice skills for growing one’s own confidence.
  • Work-Life Balance: Many women struggle with the demands of family life, while also shouldering the responsibilities of work. The questions is, can women have it all? We’ll examine what ‘having it all’ means to each of us, whether it is achievable, and what choices we must make in the process.
  • Compensation & Negotiation: Research indicates that one of the reasons that men tend to make more money than women is negotiation. In this section, we’ll learn best practices for having assertive conversations around total compensation and work-life needs. We’ll also discuss the importance of sponsorship and mentorship in career advancement, and how to engage sponsors and mentors to help you get where you want to go.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Gain tools and skills to navigate the unique dilemmas that working women face, such as “double-binds” and “unconscious bias.”
    • Understand one’s individual, unique leadership identity and how it surfaces in teams.
    • Enhance one’s emotional intelligence for greater effectiveness in leadership roles.
    • Develop skills to communicate and negotiate authentically and confidently in various situations.
    • Identify practices and attitudes that contribute to a healthy, fulfilling work-life balance.


    Online, plus four (4) full-day classes at Gonzaga University. This hybrid approach will provide flexibility for your weekly schedule, while also providing you the opportunity to engage, learn and network in-person. Our learning format follows a Read, Watch, Reflect, Write (RWRW) approach to cover a variety of content methods. Each of the six topic areas are spread over two full weeks, and each week you will explore relevant reading materials (R), video clips online (W), and you will be given prompts to help you reflect (R) about your weekly written posting (W) in our online discussion board. Plan to spend about three to four hours a week dedicated to the course.

    On-Campus classes (immersions)

    Each of our two on-campus classes, also known as 'immersions', will be held on the Gonzaga University campus. The tentative schedule is 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM each day.

    Immersion #1: Friday, October 12 & Saturday, October 13.
    Immersion #2: Friday, November 30 & Saturday, December 1.

    The immersions will offer participants the opportunity to network with one another, attend presentations by subject-matter experts, and receive practical advice for personal application. Additionally, each immersion will contain workshops for participants to develop skills and learn best practices in various communication situations, negotiation scenarios, and personal action plan development.


    $2,900 (special introductory cost for Fall 2018 cohort only)
    • No federal or institutional financial aid is available for this program.
    • Gonzaga employee tuition waiver does not apply.

    Cohort Size:

    The first cohort is limited to 20 individuals, who will be selected by an external selection committee.

    Time commitment:

    This course runs three (3) months, with an average of 3-4 hours a week of online learning, plus a total of four (4) full days on campus at Gonzaga University.

    Requirements for selection

    The cohort will be selected based on the following criteria:

    • Either an undergraduate degree or 5 years of work experience. (An unofficial transcript will be required to demonstrate an undergraduate degree.)
    • Demonstrated ability to communicate clearly and effectively in writing.
    • A diversity of ethnicity, gender, years of experience, organizations, and industries.


    • Gonzaga University WOMEN LEAD Organizers: Sherri Lynch, M.A. (Assistant Director, Leadership Training and Development), and Rachelle Strawther, M.A. (Director, Leadership Training and Development).
    • Sherri and Rachelle will co-instruct the online learning aspects of the program and facilitate the on-campus immersions, which will include guest speakers and instructors.


    • This course qualifies for four (4) Continuing Education (CE) credits.
    • Successful completion of the course leads to three (3) transferable credits to Gonzaga’s MA in Organizational Leadership or MA in Communication & Leadership. These credits may count as an elective credit, to be applied to the student transcript at the completion of the degree program.

    Fall 2018 Schedule

    • Application period opens June 11, 2018. We will begin reviewing applications on July 11, and accepted applicants will be notified by August 3rd.

     September 5 – early October 11 (online)

    • Introductions
    • Pre-readings & videos (background on women’s advancement); Leadership & Identity; Emotional Intelligence; Communication & Gender)
    • Discussion board posts and responses

    October 12 -13 (1st 2-day intensive; tentatively runs 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM each day)

    Topics include:

    • Storytelling and Identity
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Communicating across gender lines
    • Overcoming the Confidence Gap

    Activities include:

    • Team-building activities
    • Scenario Practice
    • Guest Speakers
    • Networking dinner
    • Post-immersion assignments

     Early October – November

    • Complete assignments
    • Introduction to Negotiation & Compensation
    • Introduction to Work-Life Balance

     November 30 – Dec 1 (2nd 2-day intensive; tentatively runs 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM each day)

    • Follow up on assignments
    • Check in on skills learned in first intensive
    • Compensation & Negotiation: scenario practice
    • Work-Life Balance
    • Discuss importance of career sponsors and mentors
    • Develop Action Plan

    December 2 - 9

    • Continue online posts
    • Final reflection due December 9th

    December 10 - 21, 2018

    • Course evaluation period





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