Women’s Leadership Initiative

About the Program


PROGRAM DATES: April 11-14, 2023

PROGRAM FEE: $14,000


For the current COVID-19 guidelines for coming to campus, visit Harvard Law School Executive Education Health and Safety Protocols→


Despite the continued attention given to gender diversity in the legal profession, firms and in-house legal departments are struggling to make strides. Case in point: A 2019 ABA report states that only 30% of Fortune 500 general counsels and less than 25% of partners in the 200 largest firms are women. Once women attain leadership positions, they often continue to face distinct challenges. The Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) addresses these challenges.

The Women’s Leadership Initiative will empower you to fulfill your leadership potential so you can attain and flourish in leadership roles. With faculty including distinguished women practitioners and scholars, this engaging program will challenge you to develop strategies for navigating your career more strategically through personal influence, self-advocacy, and more effective team leadership.

This immersive four-day program is designed for both women in leadership positions in in-house legal departments and firm-based women partners. You will gain valuable insight into your leadership style and skills—and how you can best leverage your strengths to advance your career and steer your organization. WLI will also help you fortify your network by providing the opportunity to develop relationships with fellow women leaders. Amplify your ability to bring about meaningful change by participating in the program with a colleague.


Why WLI?

HLS Executive Education’s Women’s Leadership Initiative is an intensive program designed to accelerate the leadership potential, experience, and visibility of promising women partners and women in leadership positions within in-house legal departments.

The Women’s Leadership Initiative aims to prepare you to:

  • Identify and apply personal leadership strategies to address unique leadership challenges and to better balance your responsibilities within your organization.
  • Amplify your proven leadership to have greater impact and broader influence within your team and organization.
  • Develop a network of distinguished peers and acquire tools to enhance the value and power of your network.
  • Improve self-advocacy skills including the ability to identify and articulate your professional needs, strengths, and goals.
  • Think strategically about your contribution to your organization’s growth and your impact on your organization.

The Learning Model

Case studies, lectures, hands-on exercises, and small group discussions focused on leadership and effecting change afford participants the opportunity to discuss the determinants of sustained  success and effective leadership.

The program’s distinguished faculty focus on providing applicable frameworks and tools necessary to cultivate personal leadership styles and effectively manage and influence teams as a leader within the organization. The curriculum will also include:

  • Sessions on identifying and leveraging your personal brand
  • Opportunities to develop a peer network of women leaders
  • Sessions on self-advocacy and the power of influence
  • Opportunities to practice leadership skills in a supportive program

The Women’s Leadership Initiative is designed for equity partners and lawyers in leadership positions in in-house legal departments. The program is also open to leaders in all professional services firms including accounting, consulting, engineering, and design. The seniority level of participants will vary by organization, but it is recommended that applicants manage or oversee other lawyers in their current role.

We recommend participants consider attending the program as part of a pair or small team from their firm or organization. Attending with another provides accountability and opportunity for greater impact when participants return to their organization.

While the program is focused on women (and those who identify as women) executives, the program is open to all executives who meet the admissions criteria.

Visit the Admissions page for information on the process.

Our core faculty are members of Harvard faculty – distinguished academicians, educators, researchers, authors, and practitioners in their respective fields. Representing various disciplines, they are close to practice through relationships with law firm leaders and General Counsel and through personal involvement as consultants for top firms around the world.

Program Teaching Team

Hillary Sale

Michele DeStefano

Francesca Gino

Kathleen McGinn

Sheila Heen

Learn more about the Women’s Leadership Initiative faculty→