Leadership and Diversity for Innovation Program

This global leadership program partners a senior executive (female or male) with a high-potential woman leader, developing their skills to successfully serve low-income women while charting a path for more diverse leadership within the institution. The pair works together on a real-time business challenge related to serving the women’s market or advancing internal gender diversity and given the tools to apply Women’s World Banking’s women-centered design methodology to develop solutions that successfully close the gender gap. Download the brochure to see eligibility requirements, cost, and curriculum.

Program kick-off (virtual): March 2020

Virtual learning: April 2020 to August 2020

In-person session: September 28 to October 2, 2020 in New York, NY

Virtual learning, continued: October 2020-January 2021

Capstone presentations: February 2021

USD 6,000

USD 5,000 – Women’s World Banking Network Members

Program fee includes tuition and course materials for two (2) participants per institution (executive and high-potential woman leader). Women’s World Banking will cover accommodations, curricular materials and lunch during the week in New York. Participants must cover all travel and incidental expenses such as flights to the US, ground transportation, visas, insurance and additional meals.

Women’s World Banking may provide limited tuition assistance. Application must be completed for tuition assistance consideration. Email us for more information.

Senior executive track

  • Member of the executive/senior management team at a financial institution, FinTech or MNO in emerging markets
  • Leads a significant line of business and has a high level of influence
  • Interest in serving low-income women
  • Commitment to advance a critical business initiative and report back on progress
  • Ability to travel to attend in-person workshop in New York and complete all virtual touchpoints
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English

Selection criteria for the high-potential woman leader is provided in the application form. Note that the senior executive will select the women leader after being accepted into the program.

Who should be applying?

Members of the executive/senior management team at a financial institution, FinTech or MNO in emerging markets. Applicants can be male or female. They should lead a significant line of business and have a high level of influence within their organization. They should also have an interest in serving low-income women with financial services and commitment to advance the critical business initiative identified as part of the program and report back on progress

High-potential women leaders do not need to submit an application. Nominees will be confirmed by the senior executive following acceptance into the program.

How do I nominate and confirm the high-potential woman leader participant?

Senior executives must select the high-potential woman leader after admittance, but are required to indicate one or more potential nominees on the application form in order to be considered by the admissions committee. Selection criteria for the woman leader are as follows:

  • Mid-level professional, 5 – 10 years of experience
  • Capable of being promoted to the next level of leadership or broadening their role significantly
  • Has demonstrated the ability to lead people in the organization
  • Motivated to take on new leadership challenges and opportunities
  • People managers preferred but not required

What is sponsorship and how is that different from mentoring?

Mentors provide feedback, access to information and help mentees understand what are often referred to as the “unwritten rules for success”. Sponsors do all of that and actively advocate for the person they are sponsoring (called the “protégé”).  This can include facilitating introductions to high level contacts, stretch assignments that can help advance the protégé’s career or actively advocating for opportunities for the protégé in their institution.

What is the time commitment required?

The program will run from March 2020 through February 2021.

Throughout the program there will be virtual learning, remote consultation, assessments, readings, diagnostics, and post-evaluations that may take approximately 4-5 hours a month.

The program will include a week-long in person component in New York, USA. This will include day-long sessions that are dedicated to the program, and an evening event, totaling approximately 43 hours.

Participants also commit to working on a critical business issue they have identified and executives are expected to dedicate time to mentoring/sponsoring the selected high-potential woman leader.

At the end of the year-long program, each pair will share their progress on the business initiative during a virtual capstone presentation. Participants are also required to report back to Women’s World Banking at the one-year mark following the workshop.

Who attends the in-person workshop in New York?

The executive and high-potential participant from each institution will join the in-person workshop in New York. During the week in New York they will attend some joint and some parallel learning sessions.

Can I nominate more than one (1) high-potential women for this program?

Each institution is guaranteed space for one (1) high-potential leader to accompany the executive. Upon acceptance to the program, senior executives are welcome to nominate up to two (2) high-potential women leaders to join the program.  A second will be accepted as space will allow. Attendance by more than one high-potential participant will require sponsorship of both women by the senior executive during the program and the involvement of both women in the strategic business initiative that has been identified.   Additional fees for the participation of a second high-potential woman leader will apply:  Women’s World Banking Network members USD 2,500 / Non-Women’s World Banking members USD 3,000.

What is the strategic business initiative?

The Leadership and Diversity for Innovation Program offers you the opportunity to bring a Strategic Business Initiative you are working on into the program. You will work on your initiative throughout the duration of the program, with support from Women’s World Banking experts on topics such as leading innovation, behavioral design, women-centered product development, etc.

A good fit for a Strategic Business Initiative will have the following characteristics:

  • Tackles a strategic challenge for your organization
  • Focuses on better serving the women’s market and/or increasing internal gender diversity within your organization
  • Identifies a behavioral change you would like to drive towards
  • Can yield meaningful results in a one-year period

What is the capstone?

The capstone presentation is a report back to peers and faculty on steps taken towards moving the identified business initiative forward. Participants will have a period of four (4) months after the in-person program in New York to make progress on their initiative before being asked to report back. The capstone provides an opportunity to showcase any tangible steps taken.

What does the program fee cover?

The program fee includes tuition and course materials for two participants per institution (senior executive and high-potential woman leader). Women’s World Banking will cover accommodations and lunch during the week in New York. Participants must cover all travel and incidental expenses such as flights to the USA, ground transportation, visas, insurance, additional meals, etc.

Are scholarships available?

Tuition assistance to partially fund the program fee may be available. Only completed applications will be considered. Women’s World Banking does not offer scholarships to cover travel or other associated costs. Please email leadershipadmissions@womensworldbanking.org for more information after submitting your application.

Will I receive a certificate?

Yes, you will receive a certificate from Women’s World Banking and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania upon completion of all programmatic components, including the capstone.

What types of institutions have participated in the past?

One hundred and eighty-six leaders from 72 organizations in 34 countries have participated, including banks, MFIs, NGOs, Fintechs and financial regulators.

“We’ve had an eye on the low-income women market segment for some time and this program is helping us reframe how we look at it.”


About The Wharton School

Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates ongoing economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 13,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and a powerful alumni network of 98,000 graduates.