The U.S. Leadership Journey
The U.S. Leadership Journey
In this fully-funded, 12-month Leadership Journey for mid-career women, participants engage in two in-person experiential learning residencies (Immersion and Lift-Off), in addition to virtual learning touchpoints, virtual group mentoring, virtual one-on-one coaching sessions, and importantly, a self-directed leadership project – all the while being supported by their Leadership Journey community and experts in the global health sector.
Alumni will be part of a lifelong network of allies at local, regional, and global levels who continue to support each other and new cohort members and to advocate for women’s leadership.
Our aim is to create a network of talented women leaders and provide them with a safe space for independent and collaborative learning to deepen and elevate their leadership impact.
Meet the Cohorts
Apply for 2023 U.S. Cohort
“The Leadership Journey has just been so transformative for me - I learned more about myself, my environment, and the influence and power that I could unlock. I was equipped with a support group of other women leaders who helped push me forward. I'm still on a journey, but I feel I have the tools, the skills, the attitude, and the authenticity to bring out my best self. Having been thrown into one of the most complex public health issues around Covid-19, I'm deploying those skills every day.” — FOLAKE OLAYINKA, Immunization Team Lead at USAID
“I want to thank the Leadership Journey for giving me the time and the space to really think about leadership and what my leadership style and role might be. I think perhaps most important to me, has been the fact that I had the opportunity to have 22 beloved colleagues, plus a mentor, a coach, and all the WomenLift Health folks holding up this beautiful little mirror so that I could see the things that they saw that I often have a really tough time seeing myself.” — CHERYL MOYER, Associate Professor at University of Michigan Medical School
Leadership Journey Elements
Learning Touchpoints are facilitated, virtual group sessions. Cohort members explore leadership frameworks, research & tools in highly interactive learning touchpoints and workshop-style sessions focused on dynamic practice. The touchpoints focus on personal & professional growth, relevant topics and priorities for health leadership, as well as their Leadership Projects. These sessions allow the cohort to share with and learn from each other.
Effective women leaders are championed by a network of strong supports, including that of mentors.
We identify senior-level leaders from different backgrounds, health sectors, and disciplines to serve as mentors to the cohort. Mentoring groups, comprised of several cohort members and one mentor, are grouped based on complementary backgrounds and professional trajectory. Cohort members will be able to rely on their mentor as a technical and career resource during the Journey.
Having a personal leadership coach is critical in helping navigate change and adapting to new challenges on the path towards leadership roles.
Cohort members are paired with an executive coach who works one-on-one with them to build on their strengths and address areas for growth. Leadership style assessments, including a “360-degree evaluation,” will inform these conversations and enhance each participant’s understanding of their own leadership skills. With this gift of feedback and support from their coach, participants can decide which leadership competencies to focus on, paving the road for them to be a more powerful and effective leader.
The combination of mentors and coaches is powerful as women prepare for the next level of their career, providing both professional connections and transformational leadership guidance.
In-Person Learning Residencies*
The ‘Leadership Immersion’ is a 3-day experiential convening that takes place a few months into the Journey. Through dynamic discussions and hands-on exercises, cohort members enhance their skills, apply them to real-world examples, and reflect on lessons learned. A series of powerful conversations will complement the instruction, featuring eminent figures in global health who have led transformational change.
The 2-day ‘Leadership Lift-Off’ event at the end of the Journey celebrates the cohort’s growth as they ‘lift off’ to a new phase of their leadership. Cohort members will reflect on their leadership evolution through the course of the year and present their leadership projects to their peers as well as other global health audiences.
*Covid Caveats: Please note that due to uncertainties caused by Covid-19, the 2022 programming and calendar, including the in-person events, may need to be converted to an all-virtual format.
The Leadership Project is an opportunity for each member to design and lead an effort that taps into their expertise, network, passion, and creativity.
Participants enter the 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 phase of the project begins in the latter half of the Journey. Finally at the Leadership Lift-Off event, each cohort member presents a summary of their project’s development and early outcomes.
Implementation of the project does not have to be fully complete by the end of the Journey and will likely continue beyond it.
There are only 4 rules for the Leadership Project:
- It should focus on improving outcomes at the intersection of health and gender equality, or take a gendered lens on a global health issue
- 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 & 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/gender data
- Improving a gender or health-related process/system in your organization
- Empowering or enabling women in your community or organization to be successful
- Incorporating a gendered lens into a policy, practice or research project where it was absent