Don’t just lean in: lean back and pull up, Oxford tells women executives

Share Article

Saïd Business School’s Women Transforming Leadership programme aims to build strong global networks of women helping other women. The programme runs from 18-23 May 2014

“Leaning in is not enough. It may work for the individual but not for the organisation, and not for the global community of women,” said Gayle Peterson, co-Director of the Women Transforming Leadership programme, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. “If we are to harness the distinctive strengths of women leaders to drive economic growth, nurture organisations, and tackle the world’s most pressing and complex problems, then we need more women leaders who are able to lean back and pull up other women. This is what we are aiming to do through the Women Transforming Leadership programme.”

Designed exclusively for women, the Women Transforming Leadership programme has been specifically designed with a focus on articulating challenges and exploring solutions for women in leadership positions.

“Research is beginning to show that organisations with diverse leadership teams perform better. To achieve this, women leaders need to feel confident to lead in styles which suit the context, making the most of their strengths at as well as the clear understanding of the challenges they face,” said Kathryn Bishop, who co-directs the programme. “Organisations need female leaders who are confident, credible, and visionary with a high level of emotional intelligence and strategic vision. After the programme, participants return to the workplace as energised and confident leaders, with a clearer sense of their skills and a sharper understanding of the context in which they work and the challenges they can overcome.”

A webinar on 12 June 2014 at 14:00 UK BST will show the effects of women leaders “leaning back and pulling up” as Peterson facilitates a discussion with three women who are doing just that by building strong teams; using their supply chains to change lives; empowering women entrepreneurs through impact investing, philanthropy and corporate social responsibility; and building powerful cross-disciplinary partnerships to improve the lives of women and girls globally.

“These women leaders are transforming the global leadership model through mentorship, networks, and power. This is exactly what we need to educate more women leaders to using the power of money, investments, and cross-sector partnerships to create lasting change,” said Peterson.

Bishop explains: “Women Transforming Leadership builds sequentially from a focus on the individual and her unique leadership traits to talking about organisational effectiveness and building strong teams. Finally, it moves to consider participants’ roles as leaders and how to use their individual and organisational skills to create a powerful vision to lead an organisation. It uses live cases, draws on psychometric profiling, and offers coaching and peer tutoring as well as networking. It is built around a variety of different types of learning experience – for example, using metaphor to generate and explore layers of meaning. As well as identifying their personal styles, participants reflect on leadership challenges at individual, organisational, and societal levels. And they use strategy frameworks and insights to develop a blueprint for action in their lives at work and outside.”

Register for the webinar at

To speak with Kathryn Bishop or Gayle Peterson, please contact the Press Office:

Clare Fisher, Head of Public Relations, Saïd Business School
Mobile: +44 (0)7912 771090; Tel: +44 (0) 1865 288968

Josie Powell, Press Officer
Mobile +44 (0)7711 387215; Tel: +44 (0) 1865 288403
Email: or

Notes to editors

About Women Transforming Leadership programme

About Saïd Business School
Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford blends the best of new and old. We are a vibrant and innovative business school, but yet deeply embedded in an 800 year old world-class university. We create programmes and ideas that have global impact. We educate people for successful business careers, and as a community seek to tackle world-scale problems. We deliver cutting-edge programmes and ground-breaking research that transform individuals, organisations, business practice, and society. We seek to be a world-class business school community, embedded in a world-class University, tackling world-scale problems.

In the Financial Times European Business School ranking (Dec 2013) Saïd is ranked 12th. It is ranked 13th worldwide in the FT’s combined ranking of Executive Education programmes (May 2013) and 23rd in the world in the FT ranking of MBA programmes (Jan 2014). The MBA is ranked 5th in Businessweek’s full time MBA ranking outside the USA (Nov 2012) and is ranked 5th among the top non-US Business Schools by Forbes magazine (Sep 2013). The Executive MBA is ranked 23rd worldwide in the FT’s ranking of EMBAs (Oct 2013). The Oxford MSc in Financial Economics is ranked 6th in the world in the FT ranking of Masters in Finance programmes (Jun 2013). In the UK university league tables it is ranked first of all UK universities for undergraduate business and management in The Guardian (Jun 2013) and has ranked first in nine of the last ten years in The Times (Sept 2013). For more information, see [


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Josie Powell
University of Oxford
+44 1865288403
Email >

Clare Fisher
University of Oxford
+44 (0)1865 288968
Email >