BLOG: Leadership Insights

Get Email Updates

What You Can Expect from the Women in Leadership Institute™ | A Special Message from Katharine Panessidi, Director of WIL

August 5, 2020 Katharine Panessidi
If women were engaged in equal numbers through senior leadership, businesses would see higher returns, larger growth and better client retention.

Simply put? Businesses with greater diversity see better results, and at Linkage, we’re passionate about accelerating the advancement of diverse populations of women leaders into greater roles of responsibility. As Director of Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute™ (WIL), I get to bring incredible programming for women leaders to life each fall.

This year, everything has changed: With COVID-19 impacting everything about the way we live our lives, we knew that WIL needed to meet the unique needs of women, right now. That’s why, in 2020, the Women in Leadership Institute™ is going 100% virtual for the first time in its 21-year history. And, with brand-new keynote-only packages, the Institute is more accessible and affordable than ever.

We understand that the most effective leadership development for women is actually designed for women and targets their unique professional needs. WIL equips women with actionable learning and strategies to accelerate their advancement, helping high-potential women leaders to overcome obstacles in their path to advancement and fully realize their leadership potential.

WIL, and our work with women leaders, is based on 20+ years of work with hundreds of organizations and thousands of leaders. Through this work, we have identified the seven hurdles to advancement that women are more likely to experience in the workplace. Just a few years ago, we published our findings in Mastering Your Inner Critic (McGraw-Hill), and our research comes to life on the mainstage at WIL each fall.

There is so much that makes WIL an incredible leadership development experience for women. Check out my top reasons to attend, and then secure your spot today.

This is not your average women’s conference.
The full WIL experience is an intensive, immersive and integrated learning and development program that is truly unique. Prior to the event start date, attendees take Linkage’s Advancing Women Leaders 360° Assessment to discover their individual strengths and areas for improvement. During the conference, participants unlock the power of their assessments and create a development plan, emphasizing strengths and opportunities specific to them.

After hearing inspirational keynote sessions by leaders like Glennon Doyle and Soledad O’Brien, and attending hands-on Master Class workshops, participants engage in daily small-group discussions called Learning Teams. In Learning Teams, participants process all that they’ve absorbed throughout each day and think about how to apply it to their own development, given their assessment results. Here’s what makes this so special: These Learning Teams support each participant’s processing of what they plan to commit to, moving forward. In this way, attendees experience a truly integrative learning experience: We give you the tools and the space to focus your evolution. This special combination of inspiration, skill-building and reflection means that all that rich learning goes beyond awareness to ensure you work differently post-experience.

We also set our women leaders up for success, as we deliver pre-Institute experiences. Leaders begin their development weeks before the conference, participating in a full menu of on-demand webinars and taking their 360˚ assessment.

At WIL, the leadership journey doesn’t end when the conference does. A Virtual All-Access pass includes post-Institute extended learning with our Leader for Life Program. This guide allows you to access your learning throughout the year, and reinforces the rich learnings gained at the Institute with reflection opportunities, discussion guides, and other independent activities.

Gain access to meaningful networking opportunities.

Connect with other women leaders, who are on the same leadership journey you are. For the past two decades, WIL has brought together thousands of women leaders in a true spirit of support and collaboration. We call it “the magic of WIL.” We know that networking during a pandemic is challenging; so, in order to recreate that magic at this year’s WIL, we’ve designed various ways to enable the connections that are so critical at this time. Virtual learners will experience “virtual collisions” throughout their conference experience, such as attendee chat features and live Virtual Networking Receptions, including “speed dating” activities.

Experience an interactive panel: Women, Race & Advancement in the Workplace.

Every woman is unique in how they experience the world. For women in different racial and ethnic groups, factors like cultural expectations, life experiences, and a complex combination of forms of discrimination, including racism and sexism, overlap in ways that profoundly affect their ability to professionally advance. Through an awareness of intersectionality, we can better acknowledge and ground the differences that exist between us. During this panel, which will be moderated by Bev Wright, three Black women will share their experiences in corporate America and outline how leaders can model better allyship in the workplace. All WIL ticket types have access to this timely panel discussion on the intersection of race and advancing women.

How can you join us this fall? Introducing: Virtual Keynotes and Virtual Keynotes PLUS Packages!

Now, there are two additional ways to experience WIL! You can hear from our incredible keynote speakers, without having to commit to the full conference schedule. With the Keynotes and Keynotes PLUS packages, you can stream the keynotes live in real time or on-demand for one month after the Institute. WIL keynote speakers are thought leaders, practitioners and world-renowned educators who center on specific Advancing Women Leaders competencies designed to accelerate the leadership readiness of women. This year’s keynotes include Glennon Doyle, Soledad O’Brien, Molly Fletcher, Carla Harris, Liz Wiseman, Maria Howard and Alan Mulally.

Unlike other events, we don’t leave you on your own to determine how the keynotes apply to you. We help you unpack your learning through an exclusive Keynote Learning Guide for self-reflection, critical thinking and actionable next steps. We also empower you to gain insights from an Advancing Women Leaders Self-Assessment. Just like the full experience, we provide pre-Institute materials as well.

And the Keynotes PLUS package adds two Master Classes and networking to your experience!

This is a critical moment for women: New research from LeanIn finds that women are experiencing physical symptoms of stress and burnout at up to twice the rate of men during this COVID-19 crisis. Women leaders need to recommit to their leadership journeys—and organizations need to support them with differentiated learning opportunities. If there ever was a time to invest in your women, show them that you care about them, and give them a break from their routine to focus on their own development so they can bring back a fresh perspective to their role as leaders—it is this year!

We hope to “see” you at WIL in November for a transformative learning experience. Questions about WIL 2020? I’d love to hear from you. Email me at:

Dark haired woman watches from audience of conference event

Women in Leadership Institute

NOV. 13–16, 2023 | Orlando, Florida, or Virtual
A 4-day immersive learning experience designed to equip women leaders with actionable strategies to overcome the hurdles women often face in the workplace.

Enrich Your inbox

with timely, relevant leadership insights

Join more than 15,000 others and subscribe to Linkage Leadership Insights: your resource for leadership development-related topics that matter to you, from the advancement of women leaders to diversity and inclusion and purposeful leadership. Plus, get all the latest Linkage news delivered to your inbox.

Related Posts

All Insights

Start Your Journey

Speak with a Linkage expert today