Women’s World Banking

Women in Leadership Programs

For more than 15 years, Women’s World Banking’s Women in Leadership Program has worked with both high-potential women leaders from around the globe to accelerate their leadership journeys and their senior executive sponsors to build a more inclusive organizational culture. This 5-week virtual program can be offered either for a single institution interested in investing in its women leaders or at a regional level where high-potential women leaders engage with others at similar stages in their careers from different institutions and countries. 

Applications now closed for:
Women in Leadership: Sub-Saharan Africa Regulators and Policymakers   


This 5-week virtual leadership program for regulatory and policymaking bodies supports senior officials to build a more inclusive culture and to strengthen the leadership competencies of identified high-potential women leaders.

Each week, the high-potential women leaders come together for live online sessions that are a mix of self-reflection, peer learning, and action-oriented learning. During the course, senior sponsors complete sessions focused on being an active sponsor, engaging and motivating your team, and driving inclusive behaviors.

Sample modules include:

High Potential Women Leaders
Senior Executives/Officials
Building Relationships Coaching Approach to Leadership
Communicating with Confidence Engaging and Motivating your People
Listening & Questioning How to be an Effective Sponsor
What is Great Leadership


For nearly 20 years, Women’s World Banking has trained more than 1000 leaders from around the world. Our courses are not lectures – they are designed to be highly interactive, reflective and positioned so that participants can take what they have learned and begin to apply it in practice immediately. In addition, Women’s World Banking’s approach to bringing in both senior-level sponsors and high-potential women leaders produces a powerful impact: creating a culture of sponsorship in an institution and raising the caliber of women leaders.


More than 75% of women leaders have increased their scope of responsibility within a year after graduating from the program.

92% of women leaders have applied lessons learned from the program to their leadership approach.

Sarah Kleiner Buitoni
Manager & Executive Trainer, Leadership and Diversity Programs, Women’s World Banking

Sarah is responsible for designing and delivering learning solutions that help global financial inclusion leaders better serve women customers and build diverse talent.

Prior to joining Women’s World Banking, Sarah consulted on post-conflict and alternative education initiatives for UNICEF. Sarah holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University and a BA in Latin American studies and Spanish from Barnard College.

She is trained in the Co-Active® coaching methodology and certified in the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks® 360 Assessment Suite, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI),Neethling Brain Instrument (NBI™) and Inclusive Behaviors Inventory℠(IBI).She is also a certified EQ Practitioner (EQPC).



Maria Sanchez Smith
Manager & Executive Trainer, Leadership and Diversity Programs, Women’s World Banking

Maria Sanchez-Smith is a Manager and Executive Trainer for Women’s World Banking’s Leadership and Diversity Programs and a Relationship Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean. With over 14 years in the financial inclusion sector, she supports senior executives of financial institutions as they face the demands of an increasingly complex environment.

Prior to joining Women’s World Banking, Maria conducted market research for Arc Finance and the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE).

Maria has a double degree from Columbia University in Economics and Latin American Studies. She is trained in the Co-Active® coaching methodology and certified in the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks® 360 Assessment Suite, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI), the FIRO-B® Assessment, and the Neethling Brain Instrument (NBI™).



  • Must be a regulatory or policymaking body from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Senior Official

  • Executive, Deputy Governor or other Senior Official from central bank or other financial regulatory agency (e.g. banking, insurance, microfinance, pensions, etc.) in Sub-Sarahan Africa. Part of executive/senior management team or leads a regulatory division with a high level of influence in the institution and commitment to development of gender-diverse talent.

High-Potential Woman Leader

  • Mid-level professional with approximately 10 years of experience. Capable of being promoted to the next level of leadership or broadening role significantly. Has demonstrated the ability to lead people in the organization and is motivated to take on new leadership challenges and opportunities. People manager preferred but not required.

Helpful Tip:

  • Senior officials (male/famle/non-binary) along with their HR department will choose the high-potential women leaders from their organization and submit one application per pair that wishes to attend.


We are grateful for the ongoing support of the core funder of our Leadership & Diversity Programs, the Credit Suisse Foundation.