Women’s Emerging Leaders

The Women’s Emerging Leaders (WEL) program was created to help address gender and wage equity issues in the nonprofit sector by preparing, strengthening, and supporting women for future leadership roles.  Despite the prevalence of women in the sector–almost 75%, women are underrepresented in leadership roles and receive lower incomes than men in comparable positions at nonprofits, particularly those with larger budgets.  Research further shows that the sector places particular burdens on women of color.  While several factors contribute to these disparities, one cause is the lack of adequate leadership development for current female executive directors and middle-tier staff interested in transitioning into leadership positions.

WEL is a ten-month program consisting of two components: an intensive Leadership Essentials for Women workshop and enrollment in the Nonprofit Essentials Program, a series of skill-building classes jointly sponsored by HandsOn NWNC and Wake Forest University’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement.

Applicants must be mid-level female staff (managers, program directors, program coordinators, and other professionals) currently employed by nonprofits located in and serving Forsyth, Davie, Davidson, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin Counties, who are committed to public service and interested in gaining leadership skills to enhance their ability to pursue leadership positions within their organizations or the nonprofit sector. The program is also open to Executive Directors of new or emerging nonprofit organizations who have 3 years or less of experience in their role as Executive Director.  

Leadership Essentials for Women-A mandatory, intensive workshop that helps participants develop their leadership skills while addressing issues and perceptions traditionally unique to women, including the choices and trade-offs that many women face as they juggle professional and personal issues. Based on a curriculum from the Center for Creative Leadership and taught by a CCL adjunct faculty member, this program was specifically designed to ensure that WEL participants:

–receive personal insight that will help strengthen leadership skills;
–learn techniques to give and receive feedback;
–gain perspective and advice on tackling a personal leadership challenge; and,
–develop strong bonds with a group of local female peers within the nonprofit sector for future support.

Leadership Essentials for Women workshop (MANDATORY) will be held in person at Senior Services, 2895 Shorefair Drive.  
Wednesday, August 31, 2022  8:30 am – 5 pm
Thursday, September 1, 2022  8:30 am – 5 pm

Nonprofit Essentials Program. Ten monthly skill-building classes including governance, budgeting and finance, human resources, strategic planning, working with grassroots leaders, fund development, collaboration, evaluation, advocacy and communication, and grant writing.  Classes are typically scheduled on the third Thursday of each month unless there is a holiday.  Nonprofit Essentials class descriptions and dates can be found here.

Hear from a WEL participant about how the program impacted her.

Cost. $550/person. The cost for HandsOn NWNC Supporting Partners is $500/person.  If you are unsure as to whether your organization is a Supporting Partner, please check Join/Give Now on our website or call 336-724-2866.  These fees represent less than ten percent of the cost of the program and are a significant savings for the participant/organization.  If payment is a barrier to this program, please contact us.  This particularly applies to small, grassroots organizations and those led by people of color.  While the program cannot be offered for free, we will work with your budget.

If you already currently taking classes in the Nonprofit Essentials program, you must wait until WEL applications for the next class are open in order to apply to this program.  Joining the program at other times throughout the year is not allowed.

Apply here (WEL applications are due July 15, 2022)

  • “I made connections that have helped me significantly in my work. The leadership training has helped me be a more effective team leader and adapt to the changing needs of my team more flexibly (and learn from the things that didn’t go well). The topics discussed in the training have also helped me feel more confident in my volunteer work as well as given me ideas for how my agency can improve the work that we are doing. And, the networking opportunities have helped connect me to new volunteer opportunities and helped me to feel more comfortable networking and asking for assistance from other professionals when needed.”
  • “I have been positively impacted by the WEL program to date. The program has allowed me to engage with others and provided me with a network of female professionals in the Winston Salem/Forsyth County area.  I have learned so much about my strengths and how to overcome my weaknesses during this experience.  I also truly enjoyed being paired with an accountability partner.”
  • “In September, right after the training, I shared some of the highlights from the session with my colleagues – videos, examples, ideas on leadership, tool kits, and handouts. I find myself coming back to the green folder regularly looking for a certain survey, some particular part of the workshop, or the handouts. The value was absolutely priceless. Nonprofit Essentials classes feel new every time as there’s always some piece of information I didn’t know before that I can implement immediately in my everyday work.”

For more information, contact the Program Director.