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Cambridge Rising Women Leaders Programme – Live Online

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This Cambridge Live Online programme replicates the same high-quality learning experience you would expect from a face-to-face programme in Cambridge and benefits from multiple contributors and panelists, all of whom are distinguished leaders and experts in their fields. 

The programme take a strengths-based perspective, looking at the positives of female power and encouraging authentic leadership styles that serve you and your organisation. We foster an atmosphere of trust, to challenge one another whilst giving and receiving meaningful feedback, and allowing you to explore your leadership style in a safe and supportive space. 

Research shows that diversity in senior leadership encourages innovation, improves decision-making, reduces corporate misconduct and improves financial returns. Despite this fact, gender diversity is still a worldwide challenge at both an organisational and an individual level.

We believe that supporting and nurturing a growing pool of talented female professionals is a crucial step in achieving greater diversity and this drives the work of the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre (WLC) here at Cambridge Judge.

Our Live Online programmes offer the same quality and academic rigour associated with all Cambridge education:

  • Delivered by Cambridge Judge Business School’s world-class faculty – Cambridge Judge is a strong research-oriented business school with 19 research centres. All programmes are designed and led by an Academic Programme Director who is a member of Cambridge Judge faculty.
  • Drawing upon the strengths and resources of the wider University of Cambridge and the Cambridge ecosystem, including accessing global alumni and specialists as guest speakers
  • Small class sizes (maximum 30) and high levels of interaction with world-class faculty.
  • Emphasis on quality outcomes – we seek to monitor our delivery against the individual needs of participants. It is no accident that a little over half of our open programme participants come back to Cambridge Judge at least once, often multiple times.

Participants of the programme become lifelong members of the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre (WLC), which aims to foster the next generation of women leaders and expand the pool of women with the requisite leadership skills.

The Centre conducts cutting-edge research to generate insights on creating the cultures, institutions and organisations that will enable more women to become successful leaders. By bringing students, corporations and policy makers more closely together, the WLC disseminates the findings and creates forums to translate ideas into practical solutions.

  • Invitation to yearly networking events and skill-building workshops such as the Wo+Men’s Leadership Conference
  • Regular updates and sharing of cutting-edge research articles by CJBS faculty
  • Platforms and forums for knowledge and job sharing with the women’s leadership participant community
I have never been on an only-female executive programme before with women leaders so this was a different and exhilarating experience.
Victoria Ajayi, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, TVC communication
It’s helped me reframe how I will approach my mindset, certain situations and my growth as a leader. It was a great group of ladies; I feel I’ve learnt a lot not only from the course material but also from my peers in the programme and the speakers and faculty. Overall an amazing programme.
Alexandra Masierowska, Strategic Sales Account Manager, Salesforce

All that funny business

‘Do men and women use humour differently in the workplace?’ asked Vanessa Marcié, in her Individual Project, as part of her EMBA (2016).

Watch the video


  • Strengths-based approach
  • Female leadership advantage
  • Finding meaning in work
  • Resilience and conflict management
  • Negotiation strategies
  • The power of communication
  • Effective team building and performance
  • Networks.
The four pillars of leadership: self awareness, strength building, shared experiences, continued learning.

Four core themes – or ‘pillars’ – form the basis of the programme:

This is the foundation of the programme, where you focus on your own personality and leadership style and develop a clear plan to progress.

Working through negotiation skills and techniques for improving communication you will explore topics such as:

  • Female leadership
  • Confidence-building
  • Executive-centred skill building
  • How to build and grow high-performing teams.

The group will have the opportunity to listen to, debate and exchange views with some of today’s most successful leaders, in an intimate, confidential setting.

Upon completion of the programme, participants will automatically become members of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre.

This serves as a platform to enable women’s empowerment and leadership in the business world globally. You will be connected to other members in this wider group, and invited to events. Your leadership journey will continue far beyond the three-day programme.

Learn more about the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre

Programme information subject to change.

I enjoyed the theory behind the networking section, this was new to me and also gives me a lot to focus on in future. Networking externally was my main objective and I have met some amazing people.
Jaun Benton, GB Technical and Programmes Director, Britvic


  • Develop a positive, strength-based approach to building on leadership skills
  • Gain a clear action plan for career advancement in rising to senior leadership roles
  • Address real challenges in your current role and advice on advancing your career using reflective learning
  • Benefit from close and informal conversations with senior executives about their journey to the top
  • Gain a strong, supportive network of peers
  • Join the peer-to-peer “pay it forward” mentoring initiative
  • Gain membership to Cambridge Judge Business School’s Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre.
Icon: Executive Education Certificates of Achievement.

This programme counts towards the Cambridge Judge Business School General Management Certificate of Achievement. On completing the GMCA you will be eligible to become an associate member of Cambridge Judge Business School’s global network of graduates and business-focused University of Cambridge alumni, faculty and staff.

All of the sessions were enjoyable, engaging and relevant. The programme allows for self reflection and growth as well as giving many tools to help us along our leadership journey. More than that, it inspires us to be our best selves as well as connecting us with many inspirational women.
Laura Chare, Solicitor, Governance Lead and Deputy Company Secretary, EDF Renewables UK
Rising women leaders.

Who should attend

This programme is designed for women who are intent on growing their professional capabilities and also their personal capabilities beyond corporate life.

Participants are usually in the early to middle phases of their careers in management roles, with around three to 10 years’ experience in an entry to middle-management role.

This is a programme every woman leader should consider. It is packed full of important insights, thought-provoking case studies, challenging debates and, very importantly, a lot of fun. It’s an invaluable programme for women, so don’t miss the opportunity to book.
Gillian Beasley, Chief Executive at Peterborough and Cambridgeshire County Council, Speaker on the Cambridge Rising Women Leaders Programme

Faculty & speakers

Academic Programme Director

Patrizia Vecchi

University Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour, Cambridge Judge Business School

Before joining Cambridge Judge Business School, Patrizia pursued a PhD in Organisational Behaviour at the Olin Business School of Washington University in St Louis, which complements her background in economics and business administration.

The primary focus of her research is interpersonal relationships in organisations: how people can establish meaningful and productive relationships with their colleagues and the psychology of social relations in the workplace. She examines the role of biases and perceptions in the way people interact with one another at work. Her research integrates theory from social psychology, evolutionary psychology, social networks, and decision making to understand the nuances of how our perceptions affect our behaviour, interactions, work relationships and, ultimately, work outcomes.

Patrizia has taught professionals and executives around the world in topics such as negotiation, power and politics, social networks, and leading change. At Cambridge Judge Business School, Patrizia has taken over the academic directorship of the highly successful Cambridge Rising Women Leaders Programme, established by Professor Sucheta Nadkarni, which is centred around the unique challenges that women face as they rise as leaders in organisations and the factors that enhance their credibility and effectiveness as leaders. Besides teaching on the Cambridge Rising Women Leaders Programme, Patrizia teaches Negotiation in the Executive MBA Programme, Power and Politics in the Cambridge Senior Management Programme, and various sessions designed to help leaders to have an impact in their organisations in other flagship Executive Education programmes.


Smaranda Gosa-Mensing

Global Head of People ClienTech, McKinsey

For more than 15 years, she has been advising and coaching senior professionals with a combination of deep psychological expertise as well as business and consulting experience. Before joining McKinsey, Smaranda worked in consumer/retail and as a specialised consultant for change management and coaching, advising senior executives on leadership issues.

She is a caring and passionate driver of initiatives and programs to help advance women leaders, e.g. as a Finalist Coach for the Cartier’s Women’s Initiative. Smaranda is a Fellow of Cambridge Judge Business School, where she is helping to drive the Women’s Leadership Initiative. She is a psychologist and holds an Exec.MA in Coaching and Consulting for Change (CCC) from INSEAD.

As much as she cares about women leadership, she is also a passionate mother of three small children and enjoys spending her free time with her son and twin daughters.

Cath Bishop

Chair of Cambridge University’s Women’s Boat Club

As Chair of Cambridge University’s Women’s Boat Club, Cath enthuses students to wave their training oars defiantly in the face of a challenge. Fluent in five languages, few people are as well-equipped to inspire others all over the world and influence them to pursue higher goals.

Cath has a BA in modern languages from Pembroke College, Cambridge, a masters in international politics from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and a PhD in contemporary German literature from the University of Reading. Cath won medals at the World Championships twice, a silver in 1998 in the women’s pair with Dot Blackie, and gold in 2003, again in the pair, with Katherine Grainger. She won silver in the 2004 Olympic Games in the women’s pair with Grainger. In 1999 she was the World Indoor Rowing Champion. From 2001 through 2014 Bishop forged a career with the Foreign Office, for whom she worked in London; Sarajevo, Bosnia; and Basra Iraq. Her roles included: Politica, Projects and Press Officer at British Embassy, Sarajevo, from 2004; Political Adviser to the High Representative to Bosnia & Herzegovina from 2006; Head of the Political Section at the British Consulate in Basra from 2007; and Deputy Director of the Stabilisation Unit in London from 2009-2011.

Cath Bishop is a versatile speaker with key lessons for companies floundering in the rocky waters of business. Sharing practical strategies to help teams make a splash with exceptional results, Cath relays the need for clarity and honesty to achieve success. Delivering outstanding performance under extreme circumstances is Cath’s lifeblood – both from her gruelling Olympic training regime and through her struggle for survival as she sheltered from shelling on her diplomatic mission to Basra.

Cath returned from two Olympic games without a medal and decided that, after rigorous physical and psychological training, she had to unlock the secret to her non-success. In her search for new tactics, she ultimately adopted the well-documented ‘marginal gains’ attitude that saw her sail smoothly onto the podium. No stranger to tough situations, the decade Cath spent as a British diplomat in Bosnia and Iraq has equipped her with the highest level of strategy-building, resilience, and a determination to do her job in the face of danger and adversity. Both rowing and international diplomacy are effective analogies for interdependency and collaboration in business. In a unique amalgamation of her diverse experiences, Cath deftly relates genuine insights into setbacks and how to respond to them.

Leandra Ashton

Founder, Flying Cloud Theatre

Leandra is an actress, writer, director and communication workshop facilitator. She founded Flying Cloud Theatre in 2009, bringing the communication and storytelling skills refined in theatre to business, government and education.

Flying Cloud has produced and toured two new plays, run extensive outreach work and delivered innovative training experiences for businesses and organisations across the UK, Europe, USA and Middle East.

Clients include: Ahli United Bank, Champagne Bollinger, Essence Digital, Lindum Group, The Samaritans, Taylor’s Port and University of York. She has worked with diplomats, entrepreneurs, board directors, MBA students and school children, helping them all to express themselves with authenticity and confidence.

As an actress Leandra has taken various lead roles for the BBC, ITV and major theatres across the UK and abroad. She read Modern and Medieval Languages (Spanish and Italian) at Newnham College, Cambridge before earning a scholarship to train on the three year acting degree at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), graduating in 2004. At the heart of everything she does is her belief in the power of creativity and communication to transform lives.

Dame Sandra Dawson

KPMG Professor Emeritus, Cambridge Judge Business School

Professor Dame Sandra Dawson was Director of the School from 1995 to 2006, Master of Sidney Sussex College from 1999 to 2009 and one of the Deputy Vice Chancellors of the University from 2008 to 2012. She writes and consults on organisational behaviour, leadership and innovation.

In 2004 Dame Sandra was invested as a Dame Commander of the British Empire as part of the UK national honours system in recognition of her contribution to higher education and management research. In 2006 she was inducted into the International Women’s Forum’s International Hall of Fame in recognition of her achievements in business education and leadership development including being an outstanding role model for women who aspire to lead in the commercial, educational and not-for-profit sectors.

Dame Sandra has wide experience in the commercial, public and charitable sectors, both in leading executive development and through serving on Boards. She is a Non-Executive Director of DRS (Data Research Services), TSB bank and Winton Capital Management and a Trustee and Non-Executive Director of the Institute of Government, the Social Science Research Council in the USA and the American University of Sharjah. She is a member of the UK India Round Table and has previously been a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Science and Technology, an ICAEW Regulatory Governance review and an Advisory Board for the Aga Khan University on building a business School to meet the needs of emerging economies. Previously she has been Chairman of Riverside Mental Health NHS Trust; Vice Chair of Oxfam and served as a Non-Executive Director of Barclays plc, JPMorgan Claverhouse Investment Trust, the Financial Services Authority, the Public Health Laboratory Service and Cambridge Econometrics and a member of the UK’s Senior Salaries Review Body and the DTI Task Force ‘Accounting for People’.

Watch an interview with Dame Sandra on the importance of celebrating women across the world.

Distinguished guest speakers

Announced nearer the time, the guest speakers are made up of senior and experienced women from a range of backgrounds.

Dates & fees



Fees *

17-19 and 24-26 November 2021

6 half-day sessions (mornings, UK time)

£2,475 + VAT

16-18 and 23-25 November 2022

6 half-day sessions (mornings, UK time)

£2,475 + VAT

For information regarding payment terms, cancellation rights, transfer policies and fees, please see our terms & conditions documents:

Terms & Conditions for Self-funded Applicants (pdf, 277KB) (updated 25 August 2021)
Terms & Conditions for Organisation-funded Applicants (pdf, 295KB) (updated 25 August 2021)

Registration closes at midday two working days before the programme start date.

Participants are expected to attend the full programme.

Please ensure that you have read our Frequently Asked Questions, which provide important additional information about our face-to-face and Live Online programmes, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 30% Club was established in the UK in 2010, with a goal of achieving 30% women on FTSE 100 boards by the end of 2015 in order to create a more balanced and diverse workforce. When the initiative was first launched the figure stood at just 12.5%. This goal was achieved and extended to FTSE 350 boards which was also achieved in 2019. These significant results have been achieved by encouraging chairmen to appoint more women to boards, and by supporting businesses in implementing schemes to improve diversity at all levels within their organisation. But there is still work to be done in senior management roles.

Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) is collaborating with the 30% Club to address the imbalance and to provide opportunities for talented women to access the benefits of a world-class business education.

Cambridge Judge Business School Executive Education offers one full scholarship (worth up to £2,475 each), for each running of the Cambridge Rising Women Leaders Programme.

This unique open enrolment programme has been designed specifically for high potential women in junior and mid-level managerial positions aspiring to reach the top, or senior positions, within their organisations. The programme is unique because it:

  • Integrates insights from cutting-edge evidence-based research and rich practical lessons
  • Provides participants the opportunity to hear personal stories and have open dialogue with successful industry leaders
  • Creates a life-long supportive partnership with fellow participants and the CJBS community.

For the next Live Online programme 17-19 & 24-26 November 2021 (six half-day sessions over a two-week period), the application round is now closed.

For any further questions, please get in touch with the programme advisor, Claire Wright at [email protected] or call +44 (0)1223 330741.

If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about this programme and how it could benefit you or your organisation, please get in touch with the programme advisor:

Claire Wright

Business Development Director
Open Programmes
Tel: +44 (0)1223 330741
Mob: +44 (0)7548 708067

Schedule a call with Claire

[email protected]

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Claire Wright

Version 3.5 (6 October 2021)




6 half-day sessions
(mornings, UK time)


17-19 and 24-26 November 2021
16-18 and 23-25 November 2022

Book a place

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