Goli Sadri, professor of management and director of the Women's Leadership Program, stands behind several female students seated at a table. Now in its fourth year, the CSUF Mihaylo College Women’s Leadership Program equips the college’s high-achieving students for their futures with mentoring from successful businesswomen, networking and leadership development. Through Sept. 21, the program is currently accepting applications for 2018-2019. Apply today!

As Mihaylo College female students develop themselves for rewarding and impactful careers, the college’s Women’s Leadership Program seeks to address the challenges and opportunities facing today’s businesswomen through leadership training, speaker events, career-focused roundtables and individualized meetings with female career coaches.

Since its launch in 2015, the program has equipped dozens of Mihaylo College students with skills, connections and support. Alumnae of the program are entering careers in a number of business-related fields in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, a trend that is expected to accelerate as more students go through the program. Graduates of the program currently serve companies and organizations such as Experian and RSM LLP.

The program is limited to 25 high-achieving female students of sophomore standing or higher, chosen on the basis of academic achievement, involvement in extracurricular or community activities, previous leadership roles and a desire to prioritize leadership in their future. There are plans to expand the program’s size and impact.

Goli Sadri, program director and professor of management, expects the program to grow into a broader platform for the college’s more than 4,000 female students to develop skills to empower them, complementing their coursework, extracurricular activities and internship opportunities.

The Leadership Model to Empower Today’s Businesswomen

When Sadri co-founded the Women’s Leadership Program with consultant and former insurance executive Joanna Moore, they focused on the leadership model developed by Charles Callahan and Neil Grunberg of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in designing the program.

Focused on four pillars that together encompass transformational leadership – character, competence, context and communication – the program examines such topics as resilience in the face of adversity or disappointment, the competencies required of effective leaders, and the negotiation and advocacy skills needed to thrive in high-pressure environments.

At the heart of the eight-month program, which extends throughout the academic year, are six monthly sessions, held on Fridays, featuring guest speakers, career symposia or personal development workshops.Aspiring businesswomen laugh in a class taught at the Women's Leadership Program at CSUF Mihaylo College.

A Student Perspective

Economics undergrad Catarina Meneses ’19 was part of the 2017-2018 Women’s Leadership Program, and she sees participation as essential in developing her academic and professional goals.

“When I entered the program, I knew I wanted to go to grad school, but wasn’t sure about what field to choose. I have now decided to pursue a Ph.D. in economics,” she says. “Even though I am still debating what career path to follow ‒ research, education or politics ‒ I know I will be prepared for a leadership position because of Mihaylo’s program. Through the program, I learned to trust in others and believe in myself.”

For Meneses, the most enduring moment of the program was a talk by Lois Carson, CEO of Lois Carson Coaching and Consulting, on extraordinary leadership.

“Dr. Carson talked about mindsets: how to manage our mindsets; how to manage our relationships; and how to manage our communication, which was the most impactful in my professional life,” says Meneses, who is a crew member at Trader Joe’s in Yorba Linda. “Even though I was efficient at my job, I knew I could do better. After this session, a new supervisor was assigned to my section at work. Instead of working by myself as I had previously, I instigated his assistance. I learned to listen to others’ ideas and apply them in my job without losing sight of my own goals. Together, we have increased sales and made our section shine.”

Another highlight for Meneses was the mantra that Kate Peters ’79, founder and managing partner of public speaking education training firm Vocal Impact Inc., asked students to write: “I intend to be a caring, positive and determined leader who is focused on getting her education and change the world. I inspire, motivate and encourage others to bring into reality my vision of equal rights for all.” Meneses says she still chants this regularly.

Meneses encourages her fellow students to apply for the Women’s Leadership Program. “It is an excellent source to learn more about yourself, your aspirations, your strengths, and your weaknesses. At the events, you will network with other aspiring leaders, and you will develop and help others improve their leadership style. You will leave with a toolbox of knowledge for the future.”

For More Information

In addition to seeking student participants, the Women’s Leadership Program is also actively seeking business professionals to act as speakers and mentors through the program, as well as donor support. For more on the program, visit their official webpage or email mcbewomen@fullerton.edu.