The Case Western Reserve University Women’s Leadership Development Institute (WSLDI) is a year-long program offering women professional staff an opportunity to enhance and energize leadership and career development skills through education, coaching, and the building of professional networks.  The purpose of WSLDI is to provide a university-based resource and support system for women professional staff seeking to further their professional skills, including better communication, more collaboration, and the development of trust across university units, helping to create a synergy that promotes the university’s best practices. The institute is designed to complement the supervisory development offerings provided by Human Resources and is intended to serve the needs of women in a supportive environment. The enrollment is limited to 12 participants per year.


Research has shown that women face particular challenges in the work environment. WSLDI is designed to address women’s issues and challenges within the context of the overall leadership curriculum. While much of the content can and does apply to men as well, we know from similar programs that those designed specifically for women that focus on the circumstances of women’s work lives within the overall context of work life are more beneficial.

WSLDI Session Summary (All meetings and sessions are mandatory)
Meeting time estimates




Orientation & Learning Styles Inventory with Susan Freimark

11:00 am - 3:00 pm


Four WSOM Executive Education Classes

8:30 am – 4:30 pm


Panel of CWRU Women Staff Leaders

11:30 am - 1:30 pm


Panel on Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion

11:30 am - 1:30 pm


Career Planning Workshop with Dr. Tom Matthews

9:00 am - 12:00 pm


Two Case Studies Workshops

9:00 am – 12:00pm


Cohort Networking Event

11:30 am - 1:30 pm


End of Year Celebration

11:30 am - 1:30 pm


Three one-on-one meetings with an executive coach Independently scheduled 4.5



~58 total hours


We recommend the following book as a background to coaching sessions:
Boyatzis, R.E. Johnston, F. McKee, A. 2008. Becoming a Resonant Leader, Harvard Business School Press


Importance of Institute

  • This program helps to fulfill the university's strategic plan by promoting a seamless context of excellence and leadership in a collaborative atmosphere. The CWRU draft strategic plan calls for "highly collaborative and collegial functioning in an atmosphere characterized by support, mentoring, and inclusion." It also includes a focus on "distinctive opportunities for learning and discovery – both formal and informal" and the maximization of "student interactions with faculty and staff members." All of these goals are enhanced with the development of improved leadership skills for women professional staff across the campus.

  • Specifically, the program increases the numbers of women staff members with skills that enable better communication, more collaboration, and the development of trust across university units, which would create a synergy that promotes the university's best practices.

  • The program is intended to help the university retain talented staff and maximize the use of their skills in vital positions of responsibility.

  • The program helps to position the university as a leader in higher education, promoting diversity and leadership development, as well as cultivating a vibrant intellectual atmosphere.


Rachel Begley, Director of Postdoctoral Affairs, Office of Graduate Studies
Deborah Bibb,
Senior Director of Admissions, Weatherhead School of Management

Denise Douglas, Associate Dean, Executive Education, Weatherhead School of Management
Kathleen Dowdell, Administrator, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences

Deborah Fatica, Assistant Dean, Student Programs, Case School of Engineering

Susan Freimark, Associate Director, Women Faculty Leadership Development Institute
Shannon Lundeen, Director, Flora Stone Mather Center for Women
Thomas Matthews, Executive Director, Career Center

Shirley Mosley, Assistant Dean of Students, Student Affairs
Kathleen O’Linn, Human Resources & Facilities Mgr., FBP School of Nursing
Tracy Wilson-Holden, Director of Research Integrity and Education, Office of Research and Technology Management