Women in Leadership (WIL)


WIL supports women working across practice, industry and public sector who are aiming for 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 Women in Leadership?

Building on the ICAEW’s credentials in gender diversity and leadership development, this eight 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.


Due to the popularity of WIL, we are running two programmes in 2014. Participants can choose to start from two dates:

  • 29 April 2014
  • 23 October 2014


The cost of this 8 month programme is:

  • £7500 per person (4 mentoring sessions).
  • £8750 per person (6 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 eight months, building upon and connecting each of the activities, culminating in an action planning workshop.


Strengths development workshops

Workshops 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 two-day 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