About Leadership Development for Early Career Women

Early career is the best time for potential women leaders to identify and develop the skills needed to map potential pathways and advance to the top – filling gaps in the diverse leadership pipeline. This certificate program is geared towards organizations who want to boost their talent channel by addressing that need at both the individual and organizational level. The Rutgers Center for Women and Work provides a blended learning model that is designed to be interactive and reflective, and consists of 3 major components outlined below:

The Level Up! Leadership Development for Early Career Women program may be offered to any client organization staff, regardless of sex, gender or gender identity.


All of our modules are research-based and customized to target the specific issues facing women in your industry. Our faculty consists of professors and other professionals from Rutgers and surrounding academic communities. Modules will cover a myriad of topics such as barriers to advancement for women leaders, personal branding and networking, addressing work-life concepts, and diversity and inclusion, to name a few.


The overall goal of this program is not only to help future leaders gain valuable skills and knowledge in key areas, but to also set the stage for each individual’s professional advancement. To that end, in addition to the content-based modules program participants will also develop their own Personal Leadership Plans. These plans are a crucial component of the program and will help the cohort members outline their guiding principles, vision statement, and specific goals and objectives in a facilitated environment. The development of their plans begins during our first meeting and culminates with each woman presenting her plan to the group on the last day.


Too often, women leaders find themselves too busy to reflect on their leadership and career development practices. And to add to that, they are often isolated from one another. The peer coaching groups provides a regular safe space in which to reflect, as well as gain feedback from their peers in the program. It also affords them the opportunity to practice an approach which is both critical and supportive, addressing their own Personal Leadership Plans as well as some of the issues discussed throughout the modules about the unique challenges for women in leadership positions.

Program Content

Module One: Exploring Women, Work, and Leadership

The first module introduces general concepts of leadership development, particularly as they relate to particular challenges women face in their careers. Participants will engage in an intensive training that defines Career Branding and identify essential components to implementing branding strategies into a professional’s career. Participants will gain skills, strategies and techniques that can help lead to personal and career success, including securing mentors, sponsors and advocates. Participants will begin mapping their own leadership paths with the introduction of personalized leadership development plans, and will be assigned to facilitated peer coaching groups.

Module Two: Work and Life in an Innovation Economy

Module two is an in-depth look at work-life issues in our hyper-competitive economy through the lens of women leaders. Participants will explore the concepts of work-life “balance”, “conflict” and “integration”, as well as how to address these concepts from a leadership perspective. Participants will also discuss strategies for fighting “imposter syndrome” and navigating the behavioral double-bind for women leaders. Peer coaching groups will work with facilitators on integrating work and life into their personalized leadership development plans.

Module Three: Understanding Your Workplace Culture

The third module explores workplace culture and its impact on women’s leadership and advancement. The training introduces diversity and inclusion concepts, including assessing organizational and individual cultural competency. Participants will learn to identify and respond to unconscious bias and microaggressions in their workplace interactions. Peer coaching group discussions will focus on personal reflection and experience.

Module Four: Social Networks, Personalized Plans, and Capstone Leadership Panel

On the final day of programming, participants will explore the intricacies of social networks dynamics and their impact on leadership development. Participants will also present their personalized leadership plans in their peer coaching groups, and share experiences with the whole cohort. The day culminates in a keynote and panel session featuring women leaders who will share their stories, lessons learned, and recommendations for early career women. Participants will be joined by their sponsors for the keynote and panel, as well as presentation of their certificates.