Chicago Harris Launches Executive Education Program for Women in Public Leadership

CHICAGO – At a time when women are seeking – and achieving – unprecedented levels of power and influence in public life, the University of Chicago is launching an executive education program designed to give participants the tools they need to take on leadership roles in the public square.

The inaugural Women in Public Leadership (WIPL) program, offered by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, brings together prominent female leaders and distinguished UChicago faculty to help equip executive women for greater leadership roles in government, politics, philanthropy and advocacy.

“With this program, Chicago Harris is offering smart, accomplished women an extraordinary opportunity to learn firsthand from female leaders who have broken through the glass ceiling,” said Rebecca Sive, WIPL academic director and a noted author, advocate and speaker. “By combining academic research with battle-tested strategic advice, WIPL is designed to give women effective new tools to earn power and success, shape public policy, and help make the world a better place.”

WIPL’s faculty will be led by Daniel Diermeier, Chicago Harris dean and Emmett Dedmon Professor of Public Administration, and will include acclaimed UChicago scholars who have published notable research in public policy, business, management and behavioral psychology.

“Chicago Harris’ commitment to rigor and relevance is underscored by its unwavering focus on equipping future public leaders for success. I can think of no better way to launch our executive education program than with a seminar to train the next generation of female public leaders,” Diermeier said. “The complex public policy challenges of our time demand a new kind of leadership, and I look forward to taking part in a program that paves the way for women to achieve even greater public influence and impact.” 

The five-day program’s guest speakers draw from a long list of female trailblazers who have succeeded at every level of public leadership, from the White House, to City Hall, to the executive suites of leading corporations and foundations. They include:

  • Janet Foutty, principal and national managing director of the Federal Government Services Practice for Deloitte Consulting LLP.
  • Lori Healey, CEO of the Chicago-based Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority, which owns and manages McCormick Place, the nation's largest convention center, and Navy Pier, Illinois' top-visited tourist destination.
  • Celinda Lake, founder and principal of Lake Partners and one of the nation's foremost experts on electing women candidates and on framing issues to women voters.
  • Connie Lindsey, executive vice president and head of corporate social responsibility and global diversity & inclusion for Northern Trust. She is the immediate past national board president of Girl Scouts of the USA.
  • Toni Preckwinkle, the first elected woman president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and chief executive of the 19th largest government in the United States.
  • Susan Sher, senior advisor to University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer and leader of the University's Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum initiative. She formerly served as chief of staff to First Lady Michelle Obama.
  • Julia Stasch, president of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and former deputy administrator of the federal General Services Administration.

The WIPL program will be held from noon on Monday, Nov. 16 through 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015 at the Harper Court Conference Center at 5235 S. Harper Court in Chicago, just blocks from the University of Chicago Hyde Park campus.

The course fee of $7,200 includes tuition for the intensive, certificate-granting program, as well as housing, books, curricular materials, meals and special events. Women who wish to join this inaugural cohort of exceptional leaders may learn more or register online at harris.uchicago.edu/women.

Every day, women leaders face a complex array of challenges, barriers and opportunities. Harris WIPL will provide tested strategies and research-based guidance to enable women to overcome gender bias, build on success, recover from failure, expand their influence, advance their careers and take their place in the public square.

For more information, or to arrange media interviews, please contact Elizabeth Austin at 708-912-2247 or eaustin@uchicago.edu.

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