Innovating Through Artistry

Leadership Training Contest for Women Only

In Current Events, Interesting Articles on March 31, 2008 at 12:54 am

Come on ladies! It is time to learn how to lead…
Applications are due by April 11th 2008. You can apply online.


Reprinted from The April 2008 issue of Oprah’s O Magazine
Say you could learn the skills you need to become a leader—what would you do? Start a business? An organization? Manage a corporation? Run for political office? Improve your neighborhood? Save the planet?

For the first time ever, The White House Project, a national nonprofit group dedicated to getting women into positions of power, has created a three-day course especially for O readers who show leadership potential and have a vision for what to do with it. The training will be held in June for one weekend—check out the application by visiting

What to expect: Women Rule! will “take your passion and turn it into real purpose in the world,” says Marie Wilson, founder of The White House Project, which has successfully trained more than 5,000 women in the past 10 years. The course will include lectures by outstanding women in business, philanthropy, and politics; coaching and workshops; and lots of good ol’ girl networking. Each student will walk away with a plan for her original idea in hand. Part of what holds women back from leading, Wilson says, “is that mystery of How do you start something? When we show them what’s involved and that they can do it, they realize they already have a lot of the skills, or that they can develop them.”

Minnesota state senator Patricia Torres Ray can attest to that. After more than 17 years at state and county agencies helping low-income families on issues like education and healthcare, she grew frustrated that elected officials weren’t doing more. “I realized I needed to make a difference from a different place,” she says. She decided to run for office, but, she says, “I didn’t know how to frame my message, how to respond to questions, how to speak about myself. I had tremendous doubts that people would receive me well.” With the help of The White House Project training, she won handily in 2006 and plans to run for reelection in 2009. “It’s not until we take that initial step that we realize we have what it takes,” Ray says. “So my advice is, even when you think you’re not going to make it, try. You may be surprised at what you’re able to accomplish.”

To check out the application, visit by April 11, 2008. We’re banking on you to make a difference (we’ll follow up in future issues of O). The truth is, women still represent the minority in leadership roles—from politics (16 percent of Congress) to business (3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs). Says Marie Wilson, “I hope this leadership training is the best virus we ever contaminate people with.”

  1. I did and I was selected!!

    Congrats to you! Tell us about your experience and your project! Lisa

  2. Thanks for the reply!

    I have been working with a team of folks for about a year to start a non-profit organization called the New Prosperity Initiative. We are dedicated to collecting and publicizing stories of leadership and social innovation occurring at the local level in communities all across the United States. NPI conducts interviews with individuals and organizations that build prosperity for people in need of improved resources and support. These stories take the shape of print/web interviews, videos, and podcasts and will be distributed in print and online. NPI aims to tell stories that have the power to change people’s thinking, and in so doing, change lives. NPI believes it is easier to connect personally with a face and a name, one human being’s story than it is to connect to a cause, therefore our works will typically feature individual voices from the community along with high-quality photography showing readers/viewers/listeners who these people really are. To collect interviews, we will conduct web research, follow leads given to us by leaders we know making a difference and host local conversations in the community, beginning in Boston, MA.

    NPI aims to draw connections of ideas and people across neighborhood, state, and city lines, allowing leaders doing similar or complimentary work to learn from each other, communicate, and collaborate more easily. By gathering all of these stories in one place online and in various formats, NPI also intends to kick start a national conversation about the severe problem of poverty in the U.S. and how we can bring the best models, strategies, and leadership qualities to the places that need them most. We will speak with community leaders as well as people living in poverty who have tremendous knowledge to share about what works and what doesn’t in terms of programming and community development work. Through its print materials and online media content, NPI will share these lessons with a new generation of leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs who are eager and ready to learn.

    The experience at WomenRule! was amazing. More than 3000 women applied and I was one of the 80 invited to New York City for three days of leadership training with coaching by some of the top women trailblazers in the country. The days were sectioned into different sessions on a variety of topics such as formulating an effective pitch, business planning, fundraising, and networking to make a few. Each session was a great way to learn about many aspects of starting and growing your organization. The women selected were outstanding and we were able to share and learn in a way unlike any other I have experienced. Each of the women in attendance had already taken the initiative to start something new, for this reason we didn’t have to get into ‘why’ we were starting an organization, we could focus our conversations on the ‘how’ which enhanced our ideas 80-fold. It was a great experience to be surrounded by so many successful and motivated women all who were looking to change the world!! I was able to build some lasting relationships which was also another great benefit. It truly was a remarkable experience.

    Hope that wasn’t too lengthy, and thanks for the opportunity to talk about my project and experience.

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