THE IWF LEADERSHIP FOUNDATION IS THE EDUCATIONAL COMPONENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S FORUM (IWF).
Founded in 1990, it is a registered charity in the USA. The IWF, with 64 affiliates in 24 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Pacific Basin, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, is the world's preeminent association of top women leaders across all fields.
The Leadership Foundation utilizes IWF workplace learnings and research studies to assist women transition to senior leadership roles. In 2007, the Club of Madrid and the European Union invited IWF to advise the African Women Leaders Project and provide women political leaders in Africa with new resources, skills, and contacts invited the Leadership Foundation. "It's great to find synergies between organizations of leaders and IWF is the gold standard of women's leadership," says the Rt. Hon. Kim Campbell, who as former Prime Minister of Canada, is a member of the Club of Madrid and a former IWF international president.
Working in conjunction with the United Nation's UNIFEM and the Council of Women World Leaders, the IWF Foundation connects its African Fellows with the African Women Leaders Project initiatives and activists.
Now in its 25th year, the Fellows Program was launched in 1994 with seed-funding from the U.S. Labor Department as a direct result of the Glass Ceiling Commission. The program annually convenes approximately 35 Fellows from around the world for a total of 20 days, offering customized leadership training for female executives on their path to the C-suite. The approach is holistic and focused on the participant’s personal and professional development, career path, and trajectory, while embracing the value of an outside perspective.IWF’s response to the U.S. Government's 1991 Glass Ceiling Report. The report identified a stalling and dropout point for mid-career women leaders, who were approaching executive management ranks. The Leadership Fellows Program selects high-potential leaders from a competitive pool of applicants for a year-long, intensive training program.
THE GOALS OF THE LEADERSHIP FELLOWS PROGRAM ARE TO:
- promote opportunities for women in leadership
- recognize and encourage women of achievement
- help the next generation of women leaders from diverse backgrounds to reach new levels of achievement
NOT SURPRISINGLY, IWF FOUNDATION'S LEADERSHIP FELLOWS PROGRAM HAS INSPIRED LOCAL PROGRAMS SPONSORED BY AFFILIATE FORUMS AROUND THE WORLD:
- Canada: Some of the local Chapters have begun their own mentoring programs. The Waterloo Region Chapter launched a 10-month mentorship program in 2011 matching 12 dynamic business women in the area who are also IWF Canada members with 12 high potential business women. The purpose of the program is to share the wisdom and experience members have accumulated in their rich, varied and successful careers with their young protégées. Montreal Chapter has a well-established mentorship program and a strategy to promote women's leadership in the local community.
- Jordan: A locally based program provides women in the banking and business sectors training and workshops on issues such as communications and conflict resolution, public speaking, and crisis management.
- South Africa: A local Fellows program is aimed at young women in senior management positions. This year-long training program held at the Gordon Institute of Business Science focuses on topics such as strategic management and leadership and aims to groom South African women to become in-house agents of change.
- Russia: A recent partnership with UNICEF and the Merck Corporation organizing an international conference devoted to women's and children's health – an issue that is crucial to the country's future.
- China: In partnership with the All-China Women's Federation, the IWF Leadership Foundation conducted a joint leadership seminar in Beijing to discuss the future for women leaders in China. At the leadership session, the Foundation invited over 15 young Chinese women to meet with their elders, the current class of Fellows, and other international counterparts for a candid and fruitful exchange about the role of women in China and in particular, the role of mentoring.