Next Stages Next Steps

Hosted by HERS and co-facilitated by Academic Search, Inc., a long-standing partner of HERS and leader in the executive search field, NSNS was created to help women and people who are gender diverse secure executive-level leadership positions in higher education. The latest research by CUPA-HR shows that women hold approximately 30% of executive positions at the nation’s colleges and universities.1 Next Stages Next Steps is our answer to that equity gap.



  • Program will begin with an evening reception Thursday, August 8th
  • Formal program will conclude with a closing dinner Saturday, August 10th

NEW PROGRAM ADDITION: Please join us for an optional Sunday morning debrief with the HERS Team from 8:30-10:30am. Based on requests from previous Next Stages, Next Steps participants, we will provide a space to process the information shared during the program and outline next steps before heading home. We strongly encourage participants to attend and plan travel accordingly, but this is not a required portion of the program.

program fees:¹

*All participants are required to stay at the conference hotel checking in by Thursday, August 8, and checking out on Sunday, August 11.  

Palmer House a Hilton Hotel 

17 E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603 

Group Rate: $199/night +tax
(Please note: you must reserve your room by July 15th to receive this group rate.)  

Please note that many of our former participants recommend checking in a day early and/or staying a day late to further explore the location!

¹ HERS is a nonprofit organization. The Program Fee helps defray our venue and program facilitator expenses, as well as various administrative costs. Please review our GuideStar profile for further information about our financials and nonprofit status.


Land that Executive-Level Leadership Position. Effect Greater Change.

- Event Info -

Our career workshop, designed and delivered in partnership with Academic Search, equips higher education professionals applying to leadership positions with the insight, skills, and practice needed to navigate the often challenging academic search process. To date, we have helped nearly 60% of our participants secure senior leadership roles, with more on the cusp. Join us for our next workshop in August 2024 and get ready to achieve your own career ambitions.

What makes Next Stages Next Steps unique is the cohort of similarly motivated participants you will be joining. Long after the workshop wraps up, alums can tap into their cohort for networking, feedback on job application materials, and inspiration.

Don’t Self-Select out of the Running for a Executive-Level Leadership Position

Don’t fool yourself into believing you’re just not qualified enough for the role. You may have heard the oft-quoted stat that men apply to jobs when they meet 60% of the qualifications, while women only apply when they meet nearly 100% (Hewlett Packard). Academic Search, Inc. says, in their experience, that it’s closer to 40-45% for men and 85-95% for women.2 This gap does not reflect a lack of confidence on the part of women, but a misunderstanding of how the hiring process works.designed in 

[Women don’t] see the hiring process as one where advocacy, relationships, or a creative approach to framing one’s expertise could overcome not having the skills and experiences outlined in the job qualifications.”

The Next Stages Next Steps workshop is about mastering the art of positioning yourself as an exceptionally strong candidate, even if you don’t meet 100% of the qualifications. If you’re ready to take your leadership to the highest level, HERS is excited to provide all the practical knowledge you need to secure that leadership promotion.

For additional information, check out our Next Stages Next Steps FAQs webpage.

1Bichsel, J., & McChesney, J. (2017, February). Gender Pay Gap in Higher Ed Administration. Retrieved from
2Reported promotion statistics are based on exit surveys of all Next Stages Next Steps workshop participants from October 2016–January 2020. The last survey was administered in April of 2020 with an average response rate of 51%.
3Mohr, T. S. (2018, March 2). Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified. Retrieved from

- Curriculum -

Leadership search processes are significantly different and more demanding than other hiring processes, not least because they are often conducted by an outside search firm. We have partnered with Academic Search, Inc.—a long-standing partner of HERS and leader in the executive search field—to give workshop participants an insiders’ look at how the leadership search process works, what each leadership role entails, as well as peer and group coaching to ensure their candidacy’s serious consideration.

- What participants learn -

How to prepare job application materials (including CV and cover letter) that best demonstrate your qualifications for the job
Gain a clear understanding of the higher ed executive search process from start to finish and feel well-equipped to navigate the process
Be prepared to tackle search committee interviews and campus visits with confidence

- Who should attend -

Next Stages Next Steps invites women and gender diverse leaders who are either actively or considering applying to executive-level leadership roles, including deanships, presidencies, vice presidencies, provost roles, and comparable leadership positions at colleges and universities. The ideal candidate for the program has at least 10 years of experience in higher education and is ready to participate in search processes for an executive role typically conducted by outside search firms.

- How Next Stages Next Steps Supports Our Mission -

One of the barriers to achieving equity in higher education is the executive search process, which can deter or deny opportunities to otherwise qualified candidates who do not know how to position themselves as ready for senior leadership positions. By removing career barriers for women and gender-diverse leaders, HERS drives leadership equity throughout the higher education sector, transforming institutions and the students they serve.

- Registration CLosed -