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Leading Women Programme


The Women Matters report, based on research conducted by McKinsey & Company, concludes that more women in business are needed as an imperative for competitiveness. The Strategic Reason Studies suggest that companies, where women are more strongly represented at board or top-management levels, are also the companies that perform best. The research does not claim a causal link, but it does give some insight into the benefits of a gender-diverse governing body. The Business Motivation to adapt to the changing social and consumption trends, is that companies increasingly need to integrate women into their decision-making process since women now have a major influence on purchase decision.

A recent survey demonstrates that women are the driving force behind 71% of household purchases and only account for 51% of the population. How can South Africans benefit from a gender-balanced workplace? Research has demonstrated that interested and qualified women can best be supported by a combination of: exposure to ongoing training opportunities, real-life examples of successful women, enhanced opportunities to demonstrate their abilities; mastering the codes of rising through the ranks; and maintaining the integrity of their personal leadership style. The Gordon Institute of Business Science has created the Leading Women programme for women's leadership development in response to these needs and in support of talented and engaging women's leadership in South Africa.

Leading Women facilitates leadership prowess in women of high potential and impact.The programme recruits women of demonstrated potential and impact. The programme leads them through a year-long process to further strengthen their managerial ability leadership E.Q. (emotional quotient). These skills are developed in a supportive environment with the intention of assisting professional women to grow and excel into executive leadership roles. The aim of the programme is to develop well balanced and effective leaders for the next generation of South African organisations.

Programme Overview

The programme consists of five components that collectively facilitate the development of various managerial competencies. Skills and challenges introduced in one component of the programme can be interrogated and tested in others. In this way, delegates are constantly learning and practicing new skills and also challenging their peers to find creative means for solving problems. The five components of the programme are listed below. Conversations with Extraordinary South African Businesswomen.Delegates will meet for intimate conversations with extraordinary South African businesswomen.

This will provide delegates with the opportunity to ask questions and garner advice from these high achieving women and Small Group Coaching Sessions.Leading Women delegates meet in diverse groups of six women, along with a professional coach, to interrogate further the case study introduced at the previous panel debate. Delegates are encouraged to bring dilemmas drawn from their own work experience before the group for creative problem solving and discuss current issues around gender in the workplace. These small group sessions are for delegates only. The delegates and coaches assigned to each group remain the same throughout the year to encourage trust among the participants. Themes explored in the coaching sessions include:

  • Impact – How do others receive my leadership style? Do I truly have the impact I believe I have?
  • Values – What are my core values in life? How do I best carry those out as a leader?
  • 360˚ Evaluation assessment – Based on feedback from those I work with regularly, in what areas should I focus continued development and in what areas have I grown?
  • Being heard – What matters to me as a leader? How do I best get that message across to the right parties?
  • Vision – What does it take to formulate, convey and lead a team towards a vision?

Case Study Panel Debate. A panel of professional luminaries is invited to debate solutions to a managerial dilemma presented by way of a particular case study. These well experienced managers pull back the curtain on the deliberation process to expose best practices they've developed over time. Case studies will be explored over the year. Guests from outside the Leading Women programme may also attend these debate sessions.

Business Improvement Project (BIP). The business improvement project requires delegates to work in cohorts (company specific when possible) to solve a real-life business dilemma in their workplace, applying skills developed in the course. Each delegate is required to select a senior-level accountability partner within their organisation to oversee their progress on the project. An internal panel with operational oversight must also be elected to assess the business improvement plan and champion its implementation within the organisation. Executive Education Course Leading Women delegates take part in a customised GIBS Executive Education course focusing on effective and authentic women's leadership.

Who should apply? 

Upper-middle to senior level managers in their organisations with at least five years' experience at this level; have demonstrated potential to serve in leadership capacities; have an interest in exploring best practices through dialogue;  and are able to commit to one three-hour session in the late afternoon, once a month.

You should expect to challenge your existing practices and interrogate your professional pathway in Leading Women. The programme combines group coaching on E.Q. skills for leadership, case study panel debates on managerial dilemmas, an Executive Education course and conversations with outstanding businesswomen to develop both hard and soft leadership skills.

Delegates meet once per month except for the opening seminar which is three full-days. All assignments require delegates to apply leadership and managerial principles garnered in the programme to each delegate's work environment, the results of which are assessed by their coaching groups. The success of each candidate is wholly dependent on the level of engagement each delegate brings to the programme activities.

Application fee:

The fee for the Leading Women Programme in 2016 is R35 200 fully inclusive. There is a subsidised preferential rate for all individuals who apply and whose organisations are not paying for them. For information on this, please enquire with Bridgit on (011) 771-4142. Please note that we do not charge VAT on tuition fees.

Application information:

You will first get a prompt to join the GIBS website, if you haven't previously done so. Once you have joined the website you will automatically be re-directed to complete the Leading Women application form. If you have joined the website previously, you will be required to type in your username and password and this will give you access to the application form.

Admission process:

The admissions team will review your application and contact you with information on the next steps (either an interview or decision). Successful candidates will receive their acceptance packets including their invoice. Payment is due within 30 days of receipt. We expect that the full process stated above is completed within 30 business days of receipt of application. Should you encounter any problems please contact:

Bridgit Gwasera - Programme Co-ordinator 
Tel: (011) 771-4142​

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