The HERS Leadership Institute is a transformational, leadership development program for women in higher education, founded to fill leadership pipelines across the United States with dynamic women, each capable of ushering their respective institutions into a more inclusive and equitable future.

Participants are asked to share their vision of leadership and what they hope to contribute to their respective institutions, and are then challenged to develop the skills to actualize their professional vision. As a noncompetitive space, participants are also encouraged to champion the growth of other participants. Alumnae of the HERS Leadership Institute emerge better-skilled and more confident in leading with their unique voice, providing a much-needed infusion of bold, new leadership to their respective institutions.

Boston, MA
Sep, Nov, Feb, Mar 2020-21
Wellesley College


The HERS Leadership Institute is neither a conference nor a workshop on an isolated topic. Instead, the curriculum takes a holistic approach to leadership, asking participants to develop not only their strategic change management skills, but also more self-awareness of themselves as leaders. Over the course of the intense, 12-day residential format, the approximately 60–70 program participants, plus facilitators, share their knowledge and experiences to support each other’s growth. The curriculum covers three areas of focus: Institutional Awareness, Networking and Self-Knowledge. The program culminates with a self-designed leadership project for each participant, in which participants apply the knowledge they’ve gained to a project to positively impact their respective institutions. The program concludes with a graduation and reception, where the hard work that takes place at the Institute is rightly celebrated and lasting bonds are formed with others in the HERS Network, providing innumerable opportunities for career advancement and growth.


One of the distinguishing features of the HERS Leadership Institute facilitators is that they are practitioners and scholars, hand-picked based on their breadth of experience and scholarly work. The HERS Leadership Institute facilitators are proven leaders; many of them either were or are chief officers, and can bring in real-life situations for participants to dissect and discuss, in addition to sharing research and scholarship on leadership in higher education. Additionally, the Institute presents a series of moderated panels featuring both chief academic and chief executive officers, wherein participants have the opportunity to ask officers questions about their experiences. These panels tend to be a program participant favorite of the Institute.

Who Should Attend

The HERS Leadership Institute is designed for women (both faculty and staff) who generally hold mid-to-senior level positions in higher education. The ideal candidate for the Institute is passionate about positively impacting their respective college or university, as well as the higher education sector overall. That said, participants need not be pursuing an administrative path—as long as they have a desire to emerge as a more dynamic leader, for themselves and their institutions, they will find a place at the HERS Leadership Institute. The HERS Leadership Institute is an inclusive organization, welcoming all participants who identify as women. In addition, the HERS Leadership Institute celebrates diversity. Ideally, participants will represent a range of racial and ethnic groups, nationalities, veteran and disability statuses, religious affiliations, ages, and years of experience in higher education, thereby broadening the range of perspectives and insights brought to each session.

Upcoming HERS Leadership Institute Offerings

We cater to the schedules and preferred learning preferences of our participants by offering the HERS Leadership Institute in two unique formats: (1) our intensive 12-day residential format and (2) our staggered 4-weekend format.

Need time to digest information and try out ideas before returning with fresh questions? The gradual transformation of the latter format may work best for you. Want to fully immerse yourself in a transformational experience and emerge bursting with ideas? Consider the former. If you have questions about which is the right fit for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.


Boston, MA
Sep, Nov, Feb, Mar 2020-21
Wellesley College
Apply to the HERS Leadership Institute

Financial Support

Limited financial support may be available and is granted based on institutional need.  Requests for financial support are independent of applications for attendance and have no impact on an applicant’s likelihood of admission.  Financial support applications may be obtained by contacting