2025 North America Leadership Journey

Leadership Journey

Program Duration: March 2025 – February 2026
Format: Hybrid (both virtual and in-person elements)*
Cost: None (all program costs, including travel and lodging, are covered)
Effort: Approx. 4-8 hours each month
Apply By: Wednesday, July 31, 2024 at 11:59 pm ET

The fully funded 12-month North America Leadership Journey provides talented mid-career women leaders in global health with a safe space to explore their authentic leadership through vulnerability and reflection, an inclusive and diverse network that fosters a strong sense of belonging, and tools and strategies for enhancing their voice, presence, and influence—all while being supported by a powerful group of peers, mentors, and coaches. The program imparts contextualized tools and frameworks to address the individual, organizational, and societal challenges that women leaders in global health face today.

The women leaders who would benefit most from this program are those who value diversity, equity, and inclusion; see the value of bringing diverse lived experiences to policy and practice; and are eager to not only expand their leadership presence and influence but also pay it forward to others in their organization and community.  

Last year, we expanded the program from one to two simultaneous North America Leadership Journeys, allowing us to support a total of 60 exceptional mid-career women leaders based in Canada and the United States from a variety of global health sectors. This year, we will continue to support a total of 60 women leaders through two cohorts during our 2025–2026 program cycle. Each cohort will comprise of 30 women leaders, who will participate in both separate and joint events throughout the year.

Please see the journey calendars for the cohort schedules. 

*COVID caveatsAt this time, the program includes two in-person residences as well as monthly virtual touchpointsPlease note that, due to the uncertainties caused by COVID-19, the program may need to be converted to an all-virtual format. 

Designed for professional women leaders, the Leadership Journey was thoughtfully crafted for participants to be fully present and engaged. We recognize the importance of work-life harmony.

The culturally contextualized Leadership Journey is uniquely designed to cultivate competencies that bolster leadership that is authentic, inclusive, strategic, and impactful. The program has been tailored to meet the needs of mid-career women who have been working in the global health space spanning a variety of sectors.

Learn More to Apply

Journey Framework and Elements

Gain insights into the comprehensive framework that guides our leadership journeys, designed to empower and transform women leaders.

About the Leadership Project

Uncover the key elements and components that make our leadership journeys a unique and impactful experience for participants.

Meet the North America Mentors & Coaches

Meet the incredible mentors and coaches that bring our North America Leadership Journey to life.


You are eligible for consideration if you meet all the following criteria:   

  • You identify as a woman  
  • You work in a role that focuses on global health (your work and partnerships serve target populations in low- and middle-income countries)  
  • You have 10–25 years of experience in global health 
  • You live in Canada or the United States (any nationality is welcome)  

We require participants to live in Canada or the United States during at least 75% of the program because we believe time zone compatibility is essential to your ability to participate in the touchpoints and to engage with your peers within and outside of the sessions.  

Apply by Wednesday, July 31, 2024, at 11:59 pm ET. 

Access our Application FAQ here. If you have any questions about the application or process, please email NorthAmericaJourney@womenlifthealth.org. 

Commitments & Expectations

If accepted, you will be required to attend each virtual session and in-person learning residency* as detailed in the 2025–2026 Cohort A and Cohort B calendars and to complete the deliverables associated with the Leadership Project. Attendance at JourneyPLUS events is optional.

Designed for professional women leaders, the Leadership Journey was thoughtfully crafted for participants to be fully present and engaged. We recognize the importance of work-life harmony.

The time commitment for the required Leadership Journey activities (including all virtual touchpoints and intersession activities) ranges from 4–8 hours each month, plus the in-person residencies (five days total, plus travel). This estimate does not include the time required for the design, planning, and implementation phases of your Leadership Project, so please consider that in your decision to participate in the program.   

You will also be asked to complete a 360-degree evaluation and other leadership style assessments, which will inform your understanding of your leadership strengths and growth areas.

There is no cost to participate if you are selected. All program costs, including travel and lodging, are covered.

You must have access to a computer and internet in order to attend the virtual touchpoints. Proficiency in English is expected, as all sessions will be conducted in English.

While the following are not technical requirements, our hope is that you will bring your drive, passion, and commitment to the program; engage actively with your peers, mentors, and coaches; and take full advantage of the resources provided. Our approach involves human-centered design, so we will ask you to evaluate your experience and contribute ideas for how to enhance the Leadership Journey for future cohorts.  

One of the most important takeaways of this journey is the relationships you form during this year. As many of our alumnae would say, “Behind every successful woman is an amazing group chat.”  

Download our Application FAQ here. 

Leadership Project

Please see the Elements of the Leadership Journey section above and this Leadership Project infographic for the rules and parameters for a Leadership Project. You can also see examples of Leadership Projects from North America’s 2020 Cohort2021 Cohort, 2022 Cohort, and 2023 Cohort by watching their inspiring Lift-Off videos. 

Describing your Leadership Project idea is a critical element of your application. Please note that implementation of your project does not have to be complete by the end of the Leadership Journey and will likely continue beyond it.

WomenLift Health does not provide funding for your Leadership Project, but we will support you by connecting you with highly experienced mentors, coaches, and experts within our team and network. Your peers in the cohort can also be an excellent resource for enhancing your project. We also encourage you to align your project with your work stream and gain buy-in from institutional leaders. 

Letter of Recommendation

Please include a letter of recommendation from your supervisor. If you can’t obtain a letter of recommendation from your direct supervisor, you may submit a letter written by a senior leader at your current organization or a leader in the global health community who has experience working with you.

The letter of recommendation may speak to:  

  • Any significant contributions you have made to your professional field that demonstrate your leadership capacity  
  • Your strongest personal quality that distinguishes you and qualifies you to participate in this Leadership Journey  
  • How this Leadership Journey will help you enhance your leadership knowledge and skills  

For your application to be considered complete, you must upload and submit your letter of recommendation as part of your application by the deadline. 

Application, Notification, Onboarding Timeline

Open Application Period: The application period closes Wednesday, July 31, 2024, at 11:59 pm ET

Notification Period: We will notify applicants of their acceptance status in late September 2024.

Acceptance & Pre-Orientation Period: The 60 accepted candidates will be asked to confirm their participation by mid-October 2024, after which we will begin onboarding.   

Leadership Journey Launch: Orientation commences the week of March 4, 2025.

Our Partners

This program benefits from the considerable resources of the New Venture Fund (NVF), a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. Our sponsor, the Gates Foundation, has provided the funds to enable this movement. Our Leadership Journey curriculum design partner and touchpoint facilitator is the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). The virtual learning and engagement platform is developed and powered by our partners at TechChange.

The Leadership Journey Framework

The contextualized Journey is uniquely designed to cultivate competencies that bolster four leadership styles: Authentic, Inclusive, Strategic, and Impactful.

Elements of the Journey

Virtual Learning

Learning Touchpoints are facilitated virtual group sessions. Together with your cohort, you’ll explore leadership frameworks, research, and tools in highly interactive workshop-style sessions focused on dynamic practice. The touchpoints focus on personal and professional growth, relevant topics and priorities for global health leadership, and your Leadership Projects. These sessions will allow you to share with and learn from each other.   .

Virtual Mentorship

Effective women leaders are championed by a network of strong supports, including mentors. We identify senior-level leaders from different backgrounds, health sectors, and disciplines to serve as mentors for you and other members of your cohort. Mentoring groups, made up of several cohort members and one mentor, are formed based on complementary backgrounds and professional trajectories. You’ll be able to rely on your mentor as a technical and career resource during the Leadership Journey.

Virtual Coaching

Having a personal leadership coach is critical in helping navigate change and adapting to new challenges. We’ll pair you with an executive coach who will work with you one on one to build on your strengths and address areas for growth. Leadership style assessments, including a customized “360-degree evaluation,” will inform these conversations and enhance your understanding of your own leadership skills. With the gift of feedback and support from your coach, you can decide which leadership competencies to focus on, paving the road for you to be a more powerful and effective leader.

The combination of peers, mentors, and coaches is a unique and powerful support structure to prepare you for the next level in your career, providing both professional connections and transformational leadership guidance.

In-Person Residencies*

The Leadership Immersion is a three-day experience that takes place a few months into the Leadership Journey. Through dynamic discussions and hands-on exercises, you and your cohort will enhance your skills, apply them to real-world examples, and reflect on lessons learned.

The two-day Leadership Lift-Off event at the end of the journey celebrates the cohort’s growth as you lift off to a new phase of your leadership. Cohort members will reflect on their leadership evolution through the year and present their Leadership Projects to their peers and other global health leaders.

Leadership Project

The Leadership Project is an opportunity for you to design and lead an effort that taps into your expertise, network, passion, and creativity.

Participants enter the Leadership Journey with a project idea and develop a theory of change, stakeholder analysis, and implementation plan with the guidance of their mentor, coach, and global health experts. The implementation of the project begins in the latter half of the Leadership Journey. Finally, at the Leadership Lift-Off event, you’ll present a summary of your project’s development and early outcomes.

Implementation of the project does not have to be complete by the end of the Leadership Journey and will likely continue beyond it.

There are only four rules for the Leadership Project:  

  • It should focus on improving outcomes at the intersection of health and gender equality or examine a global health issue with a gender lens 
  • It should leverage your leadership skills 
  • It should be within your scope of control or influence, but also stretch you beyond your day-to-day work requirements 
  • You should be passionate about it 

Leadership Projects fit into one of four themes: 

  • Centering women and girls in health 
  • Catalyzing institutional change 
  • Optimizing pathways to leadership 
  • Building integrated and resilient health systems 

Your Leadership Project could accomplish one or more of the following, but is not limited to: 

  • Answering a research question  
  • Promoting health or gender education in a particular group 
  • Developing a new or better technology 
  • Innovating a better way to collect/analyze/use health or gender data 
  • Improving a gender- or health-related process/system in your organization 
  • Empowering women in your community or organization to be successful 
  • Incorporating a gendered approach into a policy, practice, or research project where it was absent 

JourneyPLUS Sessions

JourneyPLUS sessions are optional programmatic offerings that provide cohort members with a focused space to learn more, build community with one another, and explore special topics. The sessions sometimes feature guest speakers such as senior global health experts and Leadership Journey alumnae.

Program Dates

The 2025 North America Leadership Journey will take place from March 2025 to February 2026. Before applying, please check the dates and timing of the sessions to make sure you can attend all touchpoints and in-person residencies. As mentioned, we will be launching two simultaneous North America Leadership Journeys, allowing us to support a total of 60 exceptional women leaders during our 2025–2026 program cycle. Each cohort will comprise of 30 women leaders, who will participate in both separate and joint events throughout the year. All events are mandatory except JourneyPLUS sessions. The in-person residences involving travel include the three-day Immersion (May 5–9, 2025, including travel days on May 5 and May 9) in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the two-day Lift-Off (February 10–13, 2025, including travel days on February 10 and February 13), location TBD. The mandatory Immersion and Lift-Off dates will be the same for both cohorts.

Please see the journey calendars for the cohort schedules. 

Ready to Apply?

Applications must be submitted by September 13, 2023, 11:59pm in your time zone.  If you have already started an application, click here to access your application.

Have questions about the application?

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Hear from the Alumnae

Watch inspiring testimonials and Leadership Journey reflections from some of our alumnae members.

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