Do men and women differ in their leadership styles? Are they perceived differently even when they do the same thing? The research answers with a resounding yes. And the implications are significant to women in the workplace. Which is exactly why the Stanford Executive Program for Women Leaders was created. This research-driven, career-changing experience will not only transform the way you negotiate and manage teams, it will fundamentally change the way you lead.

Program tuition includes private accommodations, all meals, and course materials.


Power, influence, persuasion. We pack a lot of learning—lectures and simulations, techniques and tactics—into six dynamic days. Gain insights from some of the world's leading Graduate School of Business faculty who make it their business to challenge your assumptions, confront your fears, and turn obstacles into opportunities. And experience it all in the company of other dedicated and daring women to create a personal and professional network you can leverage throughout your career.

The Executive Program for Women Leaders uses research to understand the perceptions, behaviors, stereotypes, and backlash women uniquely face. And then transforms those empirical results into effective strategies and solutions. The program tackles negotiation, team effectiveness, power and relationships, social networks, and influence. These are the most critical and complicated issues. These are the essential skills you need—to enhance your power, navigate the workplace, and take the lead.

Faculty Directors
Other Faculty
Deborah H. Gruenfeld

The Moghadam Family Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business, is a social psychologist whose research shows how social structure affects the working of the mind. Her current research examines the psychological consequences of having power, which include an action orientation, the tendency to objectify others, effects on ideological beliefs, and disinhibited behavior.

Margaret A. Neale

The Adams Distinguished Professor of Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business, is known worldwide for her research into distributed team and learning environments. Her research interests include decision making, distributed collaboration, team-based learning, negotiation, and team performance. She is coauthor of Negotiating Rationally (Free Press, 1992). She is also Director of the Managing Teams for Innovation and Success Executive Program and Director of the Influence and Negotiation Strategies Executive Program.

Professor of Organizational Behavior (by courtesy); Professor of Sociology, School of Humanities and Sciences; Barbara D. Finberg Director, Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Research on Gender

Paul E. Holden Professor of Organizational Behavior; Codirector of the Executive Leadership Development: Analysis to Action Program

Sanwa Bank, Limited, Professor of Marketing; Director of the Strategic Marketing Management Executive Program; Director of The Innovative CIO Executive Program

Video Introduction
Executive Program For Women Leaders
"What we deal with in this course is understanding the psychology that gets in the way of feeling comfortable…the opportunity to step back and think in a more big picture way about our goals, our aspirations, the extent to which we contribute to the bottom line in our company." — Deborah Gruenfeld

Meet faculty directors Maggie Neale and Deb Gruenfeld as they share some of the "aha" moments of this unique women-only program.
Key Benefits

The Executive Program for Women Leaders will help you:

  • Develop expertise as a negotiator and grasp the complicated dynamics of successful negotiation
  • Enhance team effectiveness by analyzing team composition, leveraging information sharing, and resolving leadership issues
  • Interpret the subtle messages of power and recognize and react to the organizational impact of diverse management styles
  • Learn about and leverage social networks and techniques to influence individuals and groups
  • Build a strong personal and professional network with peers from various industries and continents who face similar challenges and opportunities

Program Highlights

The ability to function effectively within a hierarchy is a crucial component of leadership, yet many women struggle with "authority issues" that make certain hierarchical roles and positions difficult for them. This session draws on the craft of acting and the concepts of psychology to help you learn how to use them to develop the characters that can play these roles effectively.

Building strong alliances is critical for today's leader particularly when the formation and implementation of new strategies depend on allies who may not be subordinates and who may even seem like natural adversaries. Ultimately, alliances are based on trust and reciprocity.

Learn the importance of influencing small groups, particularly with little or no authority. Analyze effective influence tactics and develop multiple perspectives on how to gain influence through dynamic interactions with others.

As a leader, you spend the majority of your time communicating with others—team members, subordinates, clients, and public constituents. You probably don't spend much time thinking about the way you communicate, nor are you likely, in the corporate setting, to get honest feedback on the messages you send. Yet the quality of your communications largely determines your effectiveness. This session will help you appreciate the nature and complexity of communication and provide guidelines for both improving your own communication style and recognizing the unique styles of others.

The exponential growth in our understanding of the workings of the human brain has led to a rather startling and maybe embarrassing (even depressing) conclusion. While the human brain is unique among species in its ability to strategize, conceptualize, hypothesize, memorize, etc., it is now undeniable that most human decisions are shaped by non-conscious instinctual neural systems and processes. In these two sessions, you will first gain an understanding of the workings of the instinctual brain and then leverage that understanding to be exemplary leaders—to be more effective at making decisions and influencing others' (e.g., key stakeholders’) decisions.

In this session we will strategize about how to create workplaces where all people—women and men—can thrive. The main focus will be on reducing gender biases that can undermine women’s achievement and limit their advancement. This session will provide an overview of the research on the way that biases emerge and describe what the consequences are for women and for their workplaces. It will also provide strategies for minimizing or eliminating these biases. You will be invited to share your own experiences and to describe the approaches your workplaces have taken to advance women. You should leave the session with research-informed strategies for creating fair and effective workplaces.

Who Should Attend?

The Executive Program for Women Leaders is an incredible opportunity for women 8 to 12 years into their careers. It’s specifically designed for:

  • Executives and functional managers who aspire to positions of greater influence and authority in their organizations
  • Those identified as high-potential talent by their organizations
  • New mid-level and senior-level managers leading teams with direct reports
  • Entrepreneurs and business owners
SAMPLE Participant Mix
This program has been an incredible, transformative experience. The world-class faculty, research driven curriculum and interactive, hands-on approach have given me tremendous new insights into effective management.
– Clara Shih
Founder and CEO of Hearsay Labs,
Author, The Facebook Era
I have a fresh and new view of organizations, motivation, team work, and the amazing feeling that we have incredible potential still to be used.
– Mariangela Rossetto
Loro Piana S.p.a
The course content, the quality of the faculty, and the learning from my fellow participants have contributed to an experience that I will keep with me for life. Attending a course at Stanford came at a time in my life when I was looking for something to help me put together my professional experiences and make sense of them for the future.
– Saskia Groen-in't-Woud
Assistant to Executive Committee
Holcim Group Support Ltd.
Integrating the powerful results of empirical research and translating those results into prescriptions for action, we have chosen topics and designed sessions to improve the skills and tools of women and the challenges that they, uniquely, face as they move into leadership roles.
– Margaret A. Neale
Faculty Director


Stanford University
The Stanford campus is world renowned for its natural beauty, Spanish mission-style architecture, and temperate climate. With more than 8,180 acres (3,310 hectares), Stanford's campus ranks as one of the largest in the United States. Participants in Stanford's Executive Programs become part of a quintessential university setting, residing together, walking or biking to classes, and enjoying access to Stanford University facilities.
The Knight Management Center
Opened in spring 2011, the Knight Management Center has transformed the Stanford Graduate School of Business into a vibrant and unified indoor-outdoor, living and learning community. Participants will take classes at this new state-of-the-art campus, which features tiered classrooms with extensive floor-to-ceiling glass, the latest in audiovisual technology, numerous breakout and study rooms, outdoor seating areas to encourage informal discussion, and an open collaboration lab that employs hands-on and design thinking techniques.
Schwab Residential Center
Designed by renowned Mexican architect, Ricardo Legorreta, the Schwab Residential Center gives residents ample privacy while promoting collegial interaction through shared lounges, outdoor meeting areas, a library, and an exercise room.


Fiona Taft
Associate Director of Programs
Phone: +1.650.736.8497

The Stanford Difference

The Place: Immerse yourself in innovation.
The Experience: Transform your thinking, your career, your company.
The Approach: Challenge yourself with research-based learning and real-world experience.