Host a WLGH Conference

The WLGH Conference brings together established and emerging leaders, both men and women, from across sectors and cultures to address opportunities and challenges for women’s leadership and gender equality in the health sector. The WLGH Conference focus on challenges and opportunities for inclusive leadership, recognizing that despite women representing 70% of the health workforce, they are an untapped and underutilized talent pool, filling only 25% of senior and 5% of top health organization positions. 

WomenLift Health is a new initiative designed to empower accomplished women leaders to advance and contribute more fully to improved health impact. Working with global and national partners, WomenLift Health supports and empowers mid-career women leaders to attain a leadership position and aims to influence the environments in which they live and work. WomenLift Health partners build country-owned and led change, rippling out to engage an increasing number of women and men. WomenLift Health is based at Stanford University and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The annual WLGH Conference is an opportunity for women and men across sectors, disciplines and countries in health to come together to share experiences, ideas and data about inclusive leadership, particularly women’s leadership in health. The annual conference both builds and supports a community of women and men committed to empowering and advancing accomplished health leaders regardless of gender. 

Typically, the Conference champion/chair and host forms two committees: a WLGH Conference Committee and a WLGH Program Committee. The Conference Committee includes the chairs from previous and future conferences to ensure learning and sharing of best practices. It determines the core conference themes and provides guidance on topics and speakers. The Program Committee is responsible for the detailed planning of the agenda including developing concept notes and proposing and confirming speakers for each plenary and workshop session. The conference hosts typically establish internal teams to oversee and manage the logistics of the conference.

Going forward, annual conferences will alternate between having a global versus a regional focus. This will create opportunities for both broad and contextualized discussions and a wider engagement of women and men from the global, regional, national and even district level. Global conferences will focus on topics on women’s leadership in health that are relevant to many countries and regions. As a result, 85% of the speakers and participants will come from all over the world. In contrast, regional conferences will largely focus on themes of women’s leadership relevant to the host region with regional speakers and participants comprising 70-80% of the conference. 

The audience size varies based on whether it is a global or regional conference. Global conferences will have roughly 1,000 people in attendance while regional conferences are likely to be in the 600-800 range.

A global conference has typically cost roughly $1.0-$1.5 million due to a significant cost of funding young participants as well as speakers. Other significant costs are the conference venue plus catering costs. Regional conferences are likely to cost $750,000-$1.0 million.

Conference hosts are expected to raise funds to cover the costs of conferences. There have been a number of traditional donors, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that will contribute funding.

The Woman Champion(s) serves as “the face” of the conference using her name and network to engage both global and local partners in the conference. She will chair the high- level organizing committees (e.g., 20xx WLGH Conference Committee and Program Committee) and be responsible for selecting and organizing the host institution or consortium of institutions, to provide logistical, programmatic and fundraising support required for the conference to be a success.

The host institution or consortium of institutions will work closely with the conference Champion(s) and be responsible for organizing the conference program (topics, speakers), logistics (e.g., venue, catering, audio-visual, hotels, registration), communication/outreach and fund-raising.

The Request for Letters of Interest creates a more open and transparent process for partners to both offer and be selected to host WLGH conferences. Partners have an opportunity to identify whether they are interested in hosting a regional or global conference and in which year. 

The information requested in the letter of interest include: 

  • Woman Champion: The LOI should come from a senior woman leader in health. She can be from any sector or organization in health (e.g., government, the private sector, academia, a multilateral or an NGO). The LOI should include information about the Woman Champion. 
  • Vision/Themes: The Woman Champion should outline her vision for the conference, sharing why she would like to host the conference and what she hopes to achieve by holding it in her country and/or with her selected institution(s). 
  • Host Institution(s): The institution(s) that will be working with the Woman Champion to host the conference should share its administrative, operational and financial management experience in organizing, managing and reporting on large conferences. If a consortium of institutions is envisioned, the LOI should specify which different roles and if one institution will serve as the “anchor”, organizing the others. 
  • Proposed venue: Highlight the city and conference site proposed for the WLGH conference and highlight reasons why this would be a good site including ease of access (flights, visas, internal transport), safety, infrastructure (hotel capacity, etc.) and other assets of the city. 
  • Other information: Provide any other information that shows support for the conference and its objectives. For example, indication of government support or engagement by high-level regional/country champions through commitment for speakers, funding, or in-kind support. 

WomenLift Health invites Letters of Interest from Women Champions and their selected organization(s) to host the WLGH conferences in 2021, 2022, 2023 or beyond. The Global Advisory Board of WomenLift Health will review the LOI submissions and select a host for each annual conference. WomenLift Health will communicate the decision of the Global Advisory Board to all who submitted LOIs and will work closely with the chosen host.

There are requests for Letters of Interest for three separate conferences, Regional 2021, Global 2022, and Regional 2023. Requests for Letters of Interest for all three conferences are due by May 1, 2020.

You may submit Letters of Interest for more than one annual conference. If you are selected, it will only be for one annual conference. Please note that the submission of a Letter of Interest does not guarantee selection.

WLGH Conference Host Partners