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Women in Leadership (WIL)

WIL supports women working across practice, industry and public sector who are aiming for senior management, partner or board roles. The programme has a strong personal development focus, and seeks to refine and craft the participant’s individual leadership style.

Why attend?

  • Understand and refine your strengths and how best to use them to support and lead within your organisation.
  • Develop insight into your individual leadership style and it’s impact.
  • Learn to navigate complex leadership issues with leading development experts and mentors.
  • Learn how to thrive within and lead organisational change.
  • Gain access to external perspectives and processes through mentoring and peer networking.
  • Learn about the dimensions of leadership in complex organisations in turbulent times.

Why is the Women in Leadership programme important?

Key details

Location  London
Duration  6 months 
Next start date  May 2017
Cost  £6750 + VAT per person 
How to book Register your interest to receive an information pack. Spaces are limited. 

Programme overview

Why Women in Leadership?

Building on the ICAEW’s credentials in gender diversity and leadership development, this six-month programme supports the careers of women in finance and business across all industry sectors who are one to three career stages away from a senior leadership or board role.

Working to the theme of personal development as a key tenet of strong leadership, it focuses on inspiring others and developing participants’ strengths considering the impact of these on their teams from a leadership perspective. WIL develops participants’ awareness of organisational cultural environments and how to best operate and lead within them, with the focus on the sharing of external perspectives being one of the differentiators of this programme.

Who should attend?

The programme is aimed at two audiences:

  • senior women, one-two career stages away from a more senior leadership or board role
  • middle-management women aspiring for senior management roles.

Participant numbers are limited to 18 per cohort in order to optimise networking and learning opportunities.

Employer benefits

Against the backdrop of the 2011/12 Davies Report recommendations promoting the advancement of women into senior roles, the need for this type of development has never been greater.

WIL supports an organisation’s inclusive leadership and succession planning goals and will:

  • increase employee motivation, confidence and focus; and
  • help participants act as change agents to improve the results of company initiatives.

Participant benefits

WIL helps participants:

  • understand and refine their strengths and how best to use them to support and lead within their organisation;
  • workshop leadership issues with leading development experts and mentors;
  • develop insight into their leadership style and its impact;
  • gain access to external perspectives and processes;
  • learn about the dimensions of leadership in complex organisations in turbulent times; and
  • learn how to thrive within and lead organisational change.


The next programme starts on 4 May 2016.


The cost of this 6-month programme is:

  • £6750 + VAT per person (4 mentoring sessions).

Delegates who are self-funding have the option to pay in instalments.

The Women in Leadership experience

WIL has a strong personal development focus evolving participants unique leadership style through a blend of workshops, peer learning groups and 1:1 mentor sessions. The course is structured to build momentum over the six months, building upon and connecting each of the activities, culminating in an action planning workshop.

WiL programme structure

Strengths development workshop

A workshop designed to help you understand leadership talents, learn about your strengths and craft your personal leadership hallmark.

Leadership and skills workshops

Practically focused skills workshops, led by expert facilitators.

Peer learning groups

Delegates work together in groups of six to share ideas and discuss issues.

Mentoring sessions

1:1 mentoring sessions in which participants receive practical, personalised and confidential guidance and support and access to exclusive mentor’s networks.

Networking events

Optional informal social events take place so as to help delegates make new contacts and build relationships with delegates, tutors, and ICAEW staff (Please note: Additional cost may occur when registering for these events and attendance is subject to demand).

Review and action planning

An action planning session to consolidate your learning and plan your next steps.

Case studies

Read about how WIL participants have progressed, the benefits of gaining access to external perspectives and processes - as well as working with leading development experts and mentors.

Jo Clube

Head of Group Technical Accounting, Aviva

Jo Clube

I have found the WIL programme very valuable and inspiring. Right from the start I have been able to see the results both in my performance at work and personally, in terms of my career aspirations and goals in life. Each session has left me feeling more energized and motivated about my leadership opportunities and life in general.

The opening dinner was a great opportunity to meet my peers and all the course tutors and mentors. This was closely followed by a challenging and inspiring strengths workshop. Working in small groups, I was able to get to the crux of some challenging issues and gain a real understanding of my innate strengths and how this translated into my leadership style. The approach and tone that was set right from the beginning has enabled me to give the level of personal disclosure necessary to really benefit from the input of others. The external perspectives of others are a key part of the value of this course.

I feel that the combined experience of the tutors and mentors in business, finance and sport and the fact that they have experience of what they ask us to do, have been powerful and a real differentiator of this programme. They really understand the environments and cultures we are grappling with.

Julia Macdonald

Director, AlixPartners

Julia MacDonald

Working as a Director at the global turnaround and performance improvement firm, AlixPartners, I am acutely aware of the benefits of inspiring leadership and the impact on the success of the business and so naturally, my firm is very supportive of my participation in the ICAEW’s Women in Leadership programme.

Being able to workshop leadership issues with some of the country’s top development experts is a huge boost to me in my future career. I’m equally excited about the opportunity to expand my professional network through a group of like-minded peers, with the added benefit of having access to a carefully selected mentor.

Diana MacDuff

Head of Business Development, British Sugar

Diana MacDuff

My attendance on the first Women in Leadership programme came at a time when I felt I was at a crossroads with my career, because I was unsure how to try and progress to the next level, whilst continuing to balance my family commitments.

The programme has introduced to me to a fantastic group of women, many of whom are struggling with similar issues to me. It has made me realise that I am not alone and the support that I have received from the other members of the group, as well as from my mentor and the programme facilitators, has been amazing.

It has given me the courage to initiate debate at a senior level on ways to improve gender diversity within ABF. It has also been very refreshing to be on a development course that focuses on identifying my strengths and how I can use them to develop my own authentic leadership style, rather than focussing on the things I need to change or improve. The programme has included a lot of practical advice on how I can progress my career, with the emphasis being on staying true to oneself as a woman, but understanding how to do that within a predominantly male environment.

I would highly recommend this programme to any senior female who is facing the challenge of breaking through to director level. This programme will give the courage to realise that it can be done.

Women in Leadership mentors

  • Carla Stent Carla Stent NED and Trustee of Christian Aid

    Carla has held a number of senior positions in banking and retail industries. She has had direct responsibility for corporate finance & post-merger integration, strategy, business operations, brand development & management and business transformation. Carla has operated at Board level in several countries for organisations including Virgin, Barclays and the Thomas Cook Group.

  • Jan Babiak Jan Babiak Royal Mail board member

    Jan Babiak spent 28 years with EY before starting her ‘portfolio career’ in January 2010. Her client experience includes serving on some of the firm’s largest and most prestigious clients in financial services, technology, energy, media, transportation, government, retail and other sectors. Jan is board member of Royal Mail and winner of Lifetime Achievement Award by Women in Business & Finance.

  • Moira Siddons Moira Siddons NED and Audit Chair of MGM Insurance

    Moira spent 30 years with PwC, including 13 years as a partner. She spent eight years as a non-executive director and chairman of audit committee of a mutual life assurance company and sits as an independent member on an OFGEM regulated panel. She is a co-founder of Consulting Women bringing strengths based leadership development to women, and is a coach to directors and senior managers.

  • Caroline Hudson Caroline Hudson UK/ROI Finance Director at Specsavers

    Caroline is an FCA with over 20 years’ experience, predominantly in the Retail sector. She joined the Specsavers Group in April 2013, where she is currently the Retail Finance Director and a member of the UK Board. After qualifying with Price Waterhouse and a short spell in the public sector, she held a variety of senior commercial finance and strategy roles at Boots plc/ Alliance Boots where she honed her business partnering and leadership skills as well as growing her experience of developing teams and colleagues. Caroline was also a Trustee of the Boots Charitable Trust, which focuses on community development in Nottinghamshire.

  •  Carol Bagnald Regional Director, HSBC

    Appointed to the role 1 May 2009, Carol has overall responsibility for the commercial business across London. Carol is a Director for South London Business and Chair for Celsius, the exclusive top 100 Corporate Club for CEOs/MDs as well as Vice Chair for West London Business. She recently joined the board of the British Fashion Council. Latterly becoming a member of Cosmetic Executive Women, CEW (UK), the leading organisation for women executives working within the cosmetics industry.

  •  Christine Champion Strategic Leadership specialist

    Christine works with clients ranging from Chief Executives to Senior Leaders and identified Talent, supporting both individual and organisational development. Her specialism is within the area of Strategic Leadership and Transformation applying coaching and facilitation skills to transform the performance of organisations, teams and individuals. She is hailed as a role model for female leaders and supports a range of organisations to design and deliver their women’s leadership programmes.

  •  Gill Avery Change consultant, coach, and mentor

    Following her success as a senior manager in a leading telecom provider and building on her MBA from the London Business School, Gill has been a change consultant, coach, and mentor for the past 18 years. She has co-founded two consultancies which support leader’s growth, through learning from the business challenges they face. Gill has worked with women within the professional services, accountancy and insurance environments; from organisations such as the BBC, BT, PwC, Tawas, and Unipart, as well as many individuals at transition points in their careers.

  •  Jo Bond Coach and mentor

    Jo has coached many individuals and teams across different sectors, functions and organisational levels with wide variety of coaching objectives. She has also helped several organisations to create coaching cultures, training and developing internal coaching teams. Jo’s leadership and management training experience includes working with organisations and their people to achieve high performing teams. Jo joined Savile Group plc in 2008 and held the roles of both Group Chief Operating Officer and Head of Coaching for Cedar Talent Management.

  •  Joan O’Connor Coach and mentor

    Joan is an experienced facilitator, executive and team coach and consultant. She is well experienced in working within global environments, different national and organisational cultures and the challenges these can bring. Working internationally with executive teams has given Joan a strong insight into the dynamics that influence the culture and politics of organisations. As a specific area of interest, and as part of her Masters’ degree Joan researched the implications of cross-cultural differences on employee engagement. She has worked extensively with executive and senior teams in restructuring businesses following merger or strategic change initiatives.

  •  Ruth Morris Coach and mentor

    Ruth has an academic background with a Masters Degree in Management Development, but is academically rigorous without being academic. She brings a practical common sense approach coupled with a breadth of business experience. Ruth is enthusiastic about learning. She has pioneered work with universities and business schools, and is commissioned to write articles and review books for management journals. Her passion is to help people reach their full potential and make the most of their gifts and talents, whatever they are. She works with many senior executives in many different countries and market sectors.

  •  Mike Bishop Regional Chair of the EMEA region for Nexia International

    Mike has over thirty years’ experience of working in the accounting profession both in London and across the UK, including twenty years at partner level in Ernst & Young and Smith & Williamson. In his current role his responsibilities include setting strategic direction, building international relationships and policy execution in a region with over $1bn revenue. He has operated widely at Board level, including a five year role as non-executive director to a major independent manufacturing business.

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