valuable programming, Kellogg is helping women reach top leadership
was apparent on participants' faces when the Kellogg
School Center for Executive Women (CEW) launched its Women's
Senior Leadership Program last October. The confusion
was not due to the scheduled long days or challenging content
of the executive education program hard work was nothing new
to these accomplished women who had already attained careers
at the corporate officer level and had come to Kellogg intent
to learn how to reach the highest positions in their corporations.
But for executives accustomed to being the minority in their
offices, walking into a room full of talented businesswomen
offered a welcome surprise.
have now attended two of the program's four three-day sessions,
and the camaraderie in the group has formed quickly. "Getting
to know the women in the program has been a wonderful experience,"
says Maria Sullivan '03, vice president of learning and development
at CDW Corp. "We'll walk away from this program not only with
lots of new skills, but also with a network of friends that
we can turn to for business advice."
The Center created
the program in alliance with The Allstate Foundation to help
women reach the top echelon of corporate leadership. "Diversity
is a driver of innovation and high performance at all levels
of an organization
including the executive ranks," says Ed Liddy, chairman and
CEO of Allstate. "The Allstate Foundation is pleased to partner
with Kellogg to create development opportunities that will
position talented women for even greater success in the executive
ranks of corporate America."
are not the only savvy businesswomen making an appearance
at the program. During the first session, senior-level executives
such as Brenda Barnes, president and CEO of Sara Lee Corp.,
Ginger Graham, president and CEO of Amylin Pharmaceuticals,
and Catherine Brune, chief technology officer at Allstate,
served as program speakers, sharing their advice. "These are
women who have made it to the very top," notes Professor Victoria
Husted Medvec, CEW's executive director. "Their real-world
expertise is an amazing addition to the program."
also learn leadership techniques from Kellogg faculty, including
negotiating, motivating others, managing crisis, capitalizing
on information and leading change. Between sessions, they
test what they have learned and return to the program to share
their experiences and refine their skills. Margy Stratton
'93, vice president and general manager at Briggs & Stratton
Corp., says the program's innovative structure four intense
sessions across 18-months provides an optimal learning environment.
"I apply my learnings
between each session," she says. "The networking on business
issues and even on a more personal level, is invaluable. Exposure
to such talented and compassionate faculty and executives
have provided what will be a career-altering experience for
A thread that connects
the four sessions is the CEW's 360-degree Leadership Assessment
Tool, designed for senior-level women by Schoonover Associates.
Dr. Stephen Schoonover conducted interviews with executive
women to pinpoint essential skills for women ascending the
top ranks. While the tool helps women identify and avoid pitfalls,
it focuses mainly on the strengths they can leverage to move
ahead. "We want the participants to focus on using their strengths
as a source of advantage rather than worrying about weakness
in a skill that may not be essential for their position,"
says Cathy Taylor, CEW's manager. After gaining feedback from
subordinates, peers and superiors, the participants meet with
faculty members to discuss the results and develop plans for
also allows faculty to evaluate the strengths and vulnerabilities
of the entire group. If particular topics are recognized as
challenging for much of the class, later sessions may be changed
to address those skills. "It's a dynamic curriculum," explains
Medvec. "We want the syllabus to be flexible enough to fit
the needs of different groups of women."
Both Taylor and
Medvec glow when asked if they see changes in the participants
since the program's start. "We're already hearing so many
success stories after just two sessions," says Taylor. "It's
wonderful to see the program having a real impact on these
women's careers." Mary Beth Siddons, president of diagnostics
at Snap-on Inc. and a program participant, agrees: "The program,
the content, the faculty, the speakers...I would recommend
it to anyone."